Burlotto Barolo Vigneto Monvigliero 2006
Like his ancestors, Fabio approaches Monvigliero in a way that is both classical and idiosyncratic— to extract the vineyard's essential greatness. At the core of this technique is a gentle crushing of all the grapes by foot, an incredible 60-day maceration on the skins and, of course, long aging in large wood botti. It's an approach virtually unheard of today, yet its brilliance is revealed in every glass of this unique Barolo. In fact, Monvigliero's magic must have as much to do with the technique as it does the vineyard's relatively high altitude or the 45-year-old vines in limestone- rich soil.
The foot treading avoids the problem of mechanical extraction: breaking the seeds and tannins, which causes bitterness. It also explains how Monvigliero's fruit can withstand sixty days of skin contact—a practice that once flourished in the Langhe's greatest cellars but vanished
by the 1980s. The combination of foot treading, long maceration and traditional botte aging produces a wine of powerful structure, but with an ethereally delicate mouthfeel.
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
This historic G.B Burlotto estate, located in the commune of Verduno in the Barolo DOCG, was established by Giovan Battista Burlotto, il Commendatore, in the mid-18th century, during whic time it earned the distinguished titles of “Supplier to the Savoy Royal Household” and “The Only Supplier to the Duke of Abruzzi’s Artic Expedition to the North Pole.” Burlotto distinguished himself by introducing the practice of selling bottled wine bearing his estate’s name (in the manner of French châteaux) at a time when it was customary practice to sell wine in cask. It is speculated that the Savoy court’s regard for the wines of Verduno enabled such formidable innovation, though Burlotto’s wines were lauded on the international scene as well.
The estate is comprised of 30 acres, 24 of which are situated in the commune of Verduno, the site of the famous Monvigliero cru, which is noted for its wholly southfacing position and soil of white marl. Burlotto’s Monvigliero bottling is the estate’s signature wine; in fact, Burlotto sourced his Nebbiolo almost exclusively from this cru. Of the remaining six acres, 3 1/2 are located in Barolo’s famed Cannubi Vineyard (with the other 2 1/2 belonging to the Roddi commune). The Cannubi Vineyard enjoyed prestige prior to the production of Barolo and its positioning, in the manner of a Burgundy grand cru, has never been diminished. In fact, it is widely regarded as Barolo’s premier vineyard, yielding fruit that realizes outstanding qualitative consistency. Of particular interest is the fact that the Langhe’s oldest bottling is labeled ‘Cannubi 1752.’ The estate’s other Barolos, Annata, Acclivi, and Neirane, represent multisource bottling.
The estate remains family-owned and is currently under the direction of Burlotto’s great-niece, Mariana Burlotto, and her husband, Giuseppe Alessandria. While their son, Fabio, has introduced modern techniques, they have served to enhance the qualitative achievement of this estate’s traditionally oriented wines. In addition to the aforementioned Barolos, the winery produces Dolcetto, Barbera, and several wines under the Langhe DOC appellation.
The center of the production of the world’s most exclusive and age-worthy red wines made from Nebbiolo, the Barolo wine 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 wine, 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 Barolo wine 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 soil 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.