'Alessandria`s straight Barolo remains one of the most fairly priced wines in all of Piedmont' - Antonio Galloni, vinous.com
I have to say that of all the wine regions I have studied, the most enlightening initial visit has been last month's Barolo excursion. You can look at maps until you're blue in the face, including my favourite raised relief ones, but nothing reveals this tiny gem of an area like driving round it and seeing how the valleys work. Plus the compressed winter days and the lying snow show clearly which vineyards get the most sun, how they are oriented and exposed to wind and so on. A bit geeky? Yes, but all helpful in understanding what makes these wines so expressive. In Verduno this is thrown more sharply into relief because of both the heavier, more clay soil and the influence of the Tanaro river flowing just to the north of the Monvigliero Cru.
Tasting and talking with winegrowers is also extremely useful - few more so than Vittore Alessandria. He's young compared to me but a fully mature and thinking winegrower. Traditional or modern? For Vittore traditionalists are led by terroir, modernists by the market and he considers himself a traditional grower. All the barrels are old and large and are only changed every 25 years or so. Maceration periods for the Barolo are between 3-4 weeks. Their vineyards are between 300-400 metres high and chemicals are not used. They sell off the press wine in bulk and everything he does is to express the character of Verduno, which is just about the smallest of the Barolo communes at around 5% of production and only 10 producers.
The wines have been favourites here for ages. Traditional they may be but they have great tannin management and are very drinkable surprisingly young. Prinsiot, the Langhe Nebbiolo, is all Verduno fruit but not made just to be a baby Barolo. It stands on its own quality with a shorter maceration and much shorter time in cask and in 2015 is ripe and bonny. From the wonderful 2013 vintage the Barolo is classic Verduno, perfumed and floral with preserved mandarine and cherry flavours and fine tannins. San Lorenzo shows how terroir changes in a short distance and gives a bigger-structured and longer-lasting style with darker fruit. Monvigliero will need time in 2013. Finally from Monforte, the Gramolere is very impressive and bold and although with excellent tannins will reward more time in the cellar. I strongly recommend adding Fratelli Alessandria to your cellar. /CW
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