Our tasting impressions
The first indication that Bosco is a gifted producer is how surprisingly dark this wine is and the power it displays on the palate. Clean and well delineated with intense minerality that is in balance with the fruit and considerable tannins. An outstanding, vintage-defying wine that will reward cellaring.
About this wine
100% Nebbiolo from the distinguished La Serra vineyard in the commune of La Morra. La Serra has an elevation of 400m, has a southeastern exposure and is planted in a mixed soil of tuffaceous (limestone with volcanic ash) and calcareous (chalky clay). Andrea’s vines were planted in 1999. The soil and breezes from the high altitude engender the wines with freshness and finesse.
Fermentation is in steel tanks for 20-22 days with skins and pumping over at a controlled temperature of 28-30°C. After a racking, the malolactic fermentation is enabled by holding the wine at 20°C. The wine is transferred to barriques and tonneaux for 6-7 months before transfer to botti to age for about 2 years. Bottling was in August but the 1,500 bottles were not released for another 7 months.
About the grape
Nebbiolo, the name believed to be derived from nebbia, Italian for fog is a grape with one of the most protracted maturation cycles. It buds in early spring and ripens late fall (when the winter nebbia from the Alps reaches the vineyards).
Nebbiolo vines tend to grow upwardly with abandon, so management is essential to limit grape production and channel energy to them. They also are very particular about where they will thrive, which is why Nebbiolo is seldom found outside of Piedmont. Even there, it only is successful when planted on south facing slopes (much sun is needed for ripening), at elevations between 250 and 450 meters (lower there is too much frost exposure, higher the grapes won’t ripen).
Wines from Nebbiolo usually are pale-colored, high in acidity and very tannic. Common flavor descriptors are rose and tar. They tend to be highly aromatic.
About the vintage
2014 offered no shortage of challenges to winemakers in Barolo. Several bouts of hail, seemingly constant rainfall and a chilly, sun-starved summer resulted in many light and diluted wines. Many estates didn’t produce Barolo but the diligent and gifted wine makers willing to reduce yields, like those who partner with VDLT, were able to craft beautiful and accessible wines. Despite doomsday reports, the best wines of 2014 are fresh and excellent - not just for a tough vintage, but without qualification.
On your table
A zesty casserole of de-boned lamb shank, white beans and bitter greens. Barolo pairs well with rich stews and the greens will make the wine seem sweeter. Decant while still young and serve at cellar temp.
Suggested Glassware: Grassl Cru
L’Azienda Agricola Bosco Agostino in La Morra is a third generation business started by Pietro Bosco who sold his grapes to wine makers. His son, Agostino, was the first to bottle his own wine, albeit minimally. The 5.5 hectare farm has been in the hands of his son, Andrea since 2000.
Bosco sustainably grows Nebbiolo, Barbera and Dolcetto with minimal use of chemicals and no herbicides. He manually harvests and destems. Annual production is less than 30,000 bottles.
Andrea is contemplative, yet warm and amiable. His dedication to his work is evident. His overriding aim is to produce wines that are the purest expression of his land and its grapes. Somehow, you can taste his sincerity in his wines.