Abbona Terlo Ravera Barolo 2009
The vineyards of Marziano Abbona, a vintner and farmer of great sensitivity and dedication to environmental protection, are set in the Langhe area, in one of Italy’s regions best suited to winegrowing. The winery was founded by Celso, Marziano’s father, who had the foresight to recognize the area’s potential for the production of top-quality wines. About sixty years ago, he planted the Doriolo vineyard in an area whose soil composition, exposure to sunlight and surrounding environment made it the ideal choice for the production of Dogliani Dolcetto wine. Marziano took up his father’s challenge and passion and, with the greatest care, patience and insight, he was able to produce wines of the highest quality, in which aromas and colors blend to give nectars reflecting the spirit of one of the Langhe area’s most highly regarded vintners. The same can be said about the non-autochthonous grape-based wines, in particular Cinerino, made from Viogner grapes, which is an extremely enjoyable, charming and aromatic wine. The great red wines, from the above-mentioned Dolcetto to Barberas and Nebbiolo in all its versions, represent the perfect blend of quality, balance, charm and structure.
The center of the production of the world’s most exclusive and age-worthy red wines made from Nebbiolo, the Barolo region includes five core townships: La Morra, Monforte d’Alba, Serralunga d’Alba, Castiglione Falletto and the Barolo village itself, as well as a few outlying villages. The landscape of Barolo, characterized by prominent and castle-topped hills, is full of history and romance centered on the Nebbiolo grape. Its wines, with the signature “tar and roses” aromas, have a deceptively light garnet color but full presence on the palate and plenty of tannins and acidity. In a well-made Barolo, one can expect to find complexity and good evolution with notes of, for example, strawberry, cherry, plum, leather, truffle, anise, fresh and dried herbs, tobacco and violets.
There are two predominant soil types here, which distinguish Barolo from the lesser surrounding areas. Compact and fertile Tortonian sandy marls define the vineyards farthest west and at higher elevations. Typically the Barolo wines coming from this side, from La Morra and Barolo, can be approachable relatively early on in their evolution and represent the “feminine” side of Barolo, often closer in style to Barbaresco with elegant perfume and fresh fruit.
On the eastern side of the region, Helvetian soils of compressed sandstone and chalks are less fertile, producing wines with intense body, power and structured tannins. This more “masculine” style comes from Monforte d’Alba and Serralunga d’Alba. The township of Castiglione Falletto covers a spine with both soils types.
The best Barolo wines need 10-15 years before they are ready to drink, and can further age for several decades.
Responsible for some of the most elegant and age-worthy wines in the world, Nebbiolo, named for the ubiquitous autumnal fog (called nebbia in Italian), is the star variety of northern Italy’s Piedmont region. Grown throughout the area, as well as in the neighboring Valle d’Aosta and Valtellina, it reaches its highest potential in the Piedmontese villages of Barolo, Barbaresco and Roero. Outside of Italy, growers are still very much in the experimentation stage but some success has been achieved in parts of California. Somm Secret—If you’re new to Nebbiolo, start with a charming, wallet-friendly, early-drinking Langhe Nebbiolo or Nebbiolo d'Alba.