Back at Young to Young this morning, we had an absolutely stunning line up. Brunello di Montalcino, Barolo and Amarone. All well-known, prestigious regions, but from new producers who are yet to hit the big time.
My most surprising discovery, which I would like to share with you first, is the VIGNETI DI ETTORE, based in Valipolicella, Veneto.
The Vigneti di Ettore is a curious partnership between Gabriele Righetti, our Young to Young speaker today, alongside his 80-year-old grandfather, Ettore.
Ettore, worked for many years for the Cantina di Negrar, the local cooperative. Gabriele studied oenology at Verona
They make approximately 40,000 bottles per year, from their 7 hectares of vines.
The organic vineyards are planted with the classic Valipolicella varieties: essentially, Corvina, Corvinone and Rondinella but with a few others thrown in too.
Gabriele explains why he chose a career as a winemaker:
“Vines are not an essential form of agriculture. We don’t need them to survive… but growing grapes and then making wine gives pleasure. It adds pleasure to my day knowing that the people who drink the finished product will enjoy it.”
The wine we try is an Amarone della Valipolicella Classico 2012.
Amarone is often a very heavy style of wine; and to be honest, I was a little apprehensive about finishing my glass at only 11 in the morning. However, I needn’t have worried. This is one of the very best Amarones I’ve tried.
With a deep purple colour, the nose is wonderfully expressive: an explosion of red fruit and black berries, some spice – it’s quite beguiling!
It follows through with a fantastic structure as you sip and slurp; full bodied but the different components of acidity, tannins and fruit are so perfectly integrated and distinguished. It’s 16 deg ABV, but you really don’t taste it.
Retail price in Italy: around 30 euros.
Most imporant export markets: Scandinavian countries
Not currently imported into the UK… but if you are out there and reading this, I would recommend you snap it up ASAP
I don’t know many people in the wine industry who would turn their nose up at a Barolo.
Nicola Oberto is one of three associates to have a handful of hectares in the sandy La Morra area of Piedmont. They have 8 hectares of organically farmed vines of Nebbiolo, Barbera and a very small patch of Sauvignon Blanc. The resulting wines are commercialised under the label of Azienda Agricola Tre di Berri.
Nicola had his epiphanic moment back in 2001 when he was trying Jean-Pierre Robinot’s Anjou wines in the Loire. It was the point-of-no-return moment when he saw the potential for natural winemaking.
The wines are made with no sulfites during fermentation, therefore relying solely on native yeasts. Let me just say how rare that is for this area! The vineyards are certified organic and have been since the very beginning in 2010. The cellar is comprised mainly of botte grande and several barriques.
The wine we try is his Barolo 2012 – from the young vines ageing between 10 and 20 years old. Despite that, there are already some promising tertiary flavours – chocolate, balsamic – as well as the initial floral and mineral nose. Once the wine envelopes your tastebuds, you realise the huge ageing potential of this nectar. It has such promise – soft, beautiful tannins, clearly very ripe, healthy grapes and a nice acidity at the end.
When we learnt that the wine only costs 27 euros (retail), there was a gasp of disbelief that went round the room.
Speaking to Nicola later, he maintains that he has no desire to put a hefty price tag on his wines, just because he happens to be located in a very respected region. The wines are honest and the price point should be too.
Imported into the UK by Berry Bros & Rudd. No official importer in France.
We also tried a very elegant wine from Fattoria del Pino in Brunello di Montalcino. Jessica took the reins of this property in 2000 and started planting vines from 2002 until 2007.
More precisely, the vineyards are situated in the area of Montosoli, just on the slope of the Montalcino hill. The soil is a combination of clay, limestone and galet stones.
Jessica shudders at the prospect of working all day in front of a computer. She belongs in the vines, apparently. However, it’s not all daisies and buttercups; the manual work aspect (especially doing maintenance on the tractor and working in the cellar) she finds particularly challenging as a woman. It’s her desire to leave something tangible behind for her son that keeps her motivated.
We taste her Brunello di Montalcino 2011. Beautiful garnet colour, floral and fruit notes (especially prunes) on the nose. There’s no denying the very fine tannins, the continuity of dried fruit notes and the freshness on the end of the palate. It’s a very distinguished wine and Jessica is clearly someone to watch as her vines gain maturity.