Andrea Oberto Barolo Brunate 2011
The Andrea Oberto winery has humble origins. Everything began in 1959 when the Oberto family bought a farmhouse in La Morra. At that time, the farmers couldn’t survive with just one crop, therefore, they earned a living growing peaches and grapes and raising cows. Everybody had to contribute to the upkeep of the family so the children took part in the family business from when they were teenagers. However, when the farmer’s children became adults, they often had to leave home in order to look for a job elsewhere because there wasn’t enough work for everyone in the family business. This is the reason why Andrea, a second generation family member, at a certain point in his life, decided to leave La Morra to start working for a big company as a truck driver. In 1978 Andrea’s father died unexpectedly. He inherited the family land and began managing the farm. He decided to leave his job in the big company and dedicate the rest of his life to the vineyards he had worked in for so many years. Over the years, the demand for high quality wine increased and this encouraged many farmers like Andrea to focus solely on growing grapes. By devoting all of his time and energy in order to realize his dream, Andrea transformed a small farm into a wine company with sixteen hectares as well as a wine production of 100,000 bottles of prestigious wine which is currently sold all over the world.
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.