A First Taste of 2019 Nebbiolo from Barbaresco
Most of our stories from Piedmont over the past year have focused on the 2016 vintage. For good reason, it is a fantastic one! But sadly most of those wines are now starting to disappear. 2017 and 2018 were much more challenging, with early frost, hail and long, hot and dry summers. Certainly some great wine was made, but there will be less of it.
The good news? 2019 is looking like a return to the new classic, warm and sunny for sure, but much more balanced. It’s shaping up to be another fantastic year. Exhibit A is our wine today, the 2019 Langhe Nebbiolo from Silvio Giamello. It’s one of the first tastes of “Barbaresco”, and it portends a great vintage for the village.
If you aren’t familiar with Giamello you are not alone. This tiny estate has generally flown under the radar, despite working with famed importer Kermit Lynch for some years now. Mostly this is due to size. They farm under 5 hectares of grapes, making on average just 850 cases each year. And though the family farm goes back over a century, they have only been producing wine commercially for a few decades.
But the quality of their wine is excellent, especially given the humble roots. All farming here is completely natural, without the use of pesticides, herbicides or chemicals of any kind. And they take a similar approach in the cellar. Only native yeast fermentations and the aging is done in tanks and large, neutral barrels.
The Langhe Nebbiolo “Villa Gentiana” comes entirely from the same small Barbaresco vineyard as their DOCG bottling. The vines are 40-50 years old in this 2 hectare plot, and Silvio selects the fruit each harvest for the two cuvées. The only difference is that the Langhe has a shorter maceration and also is aged for just 10 months in botti. This leads to a softer, earlier drinking Nebbiolo that doesn’t require aging.