This smallish family firm produces six wines, all red, with a total production from six hectares of 40,000 bottles a year. As Danilo explained, there are just three of them in the firm, so the upside is that you get to do a bit of everything. He had worked previously as a sommelier in the Gordon Ramsey restaurant in Claridges. The downside of the family firm is that at some times of the year, no one can have a day off.
There are three entry-level wines (Dolcetto, Barbera and Nebbiolo of course) and three top wines, two Barbaresco cru and one blend, called Seifile, 80% old vine Barbera and 20% Nebbiolo.
The Dolcetto 2008 is all that you expect of a young wine, aged for a short period in stainless steel vats, and then released to charm the drinker with its fresh red fruit and lovely cherry nose.
By contrast, the two Barbaresco come from named vineyards and are aged in different ways. Barbaresco Manzola 2006 comes from a sandier area and is the more traditional of the two, being aged for two years in large oak botti. It has a very perfumed, refined nose of mint and red fruit. It’s still a young wine with some rough edges but has many years ahead of it.
For this visit, I had made the classic mistake of not having recharged the camera batteries which died suddenly on me. So these pictures were taken on an iPhone – which seems particularly good at capturing the colours of red wine. Here we have youngish Barbaresco, with its pale ruby red and a hint of orange at the edges.
The second cru is Barbaresco Rombone 2006, the vineyard which surrounds the winery and which is more limestone and clay than sand. Along with ageing for one year in large botti and a further year in barriques, this produces a more austere wine, though still highly accessible with good fruit. It has a more powerful nose than its compatriot and perhaps a yet longer life – if you can avoid drinking it, of course. It is one of the features of Barbaresco, in comparison to Barolo, that the wines are drinkable earlier.
It is always a particular pleasure to visit the smaller, family wineries and many thanks to Danilo. The wines are attractively priced at the winery and available in the UK from the Real Wine Company, Stoke Poges.
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