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Flat front label of wine

Virna Sarmassa Barolo 2012

Nebbiolo from Barolo, Piedmont, Italy
  • JS96
0% ABV
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4.2 6 Ratings
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4.2 6 Ratings
0% ABV

Winemaker Notes

Very deep ruby-red; still rather fresh nose, with hints of red berries steeped in delicate vanilla; dry, full taste, packed with body and structure combined with polyphenolic compounds that cater for lengthy ageing.

Critical Acclaim

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JS 96
James Suckling
Plenty of red fruits and walnuts here. Full body, chewy tannins and a long and flavorful finish. Chewy aftertaste. Wonderful 2012. Drink in 2019.
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Virna
Virna, Barolo, Piedmont, Italy
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The Virna estate stretches out over an area of around 30 acres, producing wines from grapes grown on its own vineyards located in historic crus in the Barolo wine-making area such as Cannubi Boschis, Preda, Sarmassa, I Merli, San Giovanni, and Costa delle Rose. in addition to the Barolo itself, the company also produces Dolcetto d’Alba, Barbera d’Alba, Nebbiolo d’Alba, and a blend known simply as Langhe.

The winery tries to respect the land and the vineyards and work carefully, minimizing the mechanical and chemical treatments, with the goal of healthy grapes for high quality wines. They are are moving towards the elimination of weed control in vineyards and practice between-row planting and controlled fertilization with only organic ingredients and only when necessary.

Their philosophy is to produce wines with their own character, well-rooted in the terroir, with respect for the whole vineyard. They try to interpret the potential of the Barolo terroir to produce wines that express elegance and a style that represents the region. Though the wines are from different crus, each one represents the heritage and tradition of the Barolo region.

Home to the world’s most powerful wines made from the Nebbiolo grape, the Barolo village of Piedmont has long been known as “the wine of kings, the king of wines.” There are two predominant soil types here, which distinguish Barolo from neighboring Barbaresco as well as from the lesser surrounding areas. Compact and fertile Tortonian sandy marls define the vineyards to the west, typically resulting in fresher, fruitier, and softer wines that are approachable relatively early on in their evolution. This is sometimes referred to as the “feminine” side of Barolo and is closer in style to Barbaresco with its elegant perfume. On the eastern side of the region, Helvetian sandstone clay soils are chalkier and less fertile, producing age-worthy wines with full body and structured tannins—the more “masculine” style. The best Barolo wines need 10-15 years before they are ready to drink, and can further age for several decades.

Barolo is one of the world’s most distinctive red wines, and experienced tasters typically have no trouble picking it out of a lineup. In addition to Nebbiolo’s signature “tar and roses” aroma, one can expect to find complex notes of strawberries, cherries, leather, white truffles, anise, fresh and dried herbs, tobacco, violets, plum, and much more. Despite its deceptively light garnet color, Barolo has a full presence on the palate and plenty of tannin and acidity. The traditional style of Barolo relies on the use of neutral large wooden vats for aging, which do not impart flavor to the wine and preserve the natural character of the Nebbiolo grape. Meanwhile, a more modern, “international” style of Barolo utilizes small French oak barrels to add spicy, woody flavors and a softer texture resulting in earlier drinkability.

Nebbiolo

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Responsible for some of the most elegant and age-worthy wines in the world, Nebbiolo is the star variety of northern Italy’s Piedmont region. Grown throughout the area as well as in neighboring Valle d’Aosta and Valtellina, it is at its best in the Piedmontese villages of Barolo and Barbaresco. Nebbiolo is a finicky grape, and needs a very particular soil type in order to thrive. Outside of Italy, it often fails to show the captivating aromas for which it is so beloved, but some success has been achieved in parts of California.

In the Glass

Nebbiolo is an elegant variety with mouthwatering acidity and a compelling perfume of rose petals, violets, fresh tar, licorice, clay, and dried cherries. Light in color and body, Nebbiolo is a more powerful wine than one might expect, and its firm tannins typically need time to mellow. With age, it develops a velvety texture and a stunningly complex bouquet.

Perfect Pairings

Nebbiolo’s love affair with food starts in Piedmont, which is home to the Slow Food movement and some of Italy’s best produce. The region is famous for its white truffles and wild boar ragu, both of which make for excellent pairings with Nebbiolo.

Sommelier Secret

If you can’t afford to drink Barolo and Barbaresco every night, try the more wallet-friendly, earlier-drinking Langhe Nebbiolo or Nebbiolo d'Alba. Also search out the fine offerings of the nearby Roero region. North of the Langhe and Roero, find earthy and rustic versions of the variety (known here as “Spanna”) in Ghemme and Gattinara.

IAI166090_2012 Item# 166090