***We thought our second stock of this beauty was sold out, but we found one lonely orphan in its individual wood box that evaded our prior inventory check. First come, first served.***
Our tasting impressions
The regular bottles were sold out so we couldn’t taste this at the estate. But that night we had a terrific dinner at L’Osteria del Vignailo in Santa Maria and ordered a 750ml from their list (which features all of the VDLT Piedmont winemakers). I called Osvaldo the next morning and told him we had to have the magnums. It’s young and even more so in large format, but the primary fruit is gorgeous and the tannins are really smooth so it’s enjoyable now. This is SO Barolo and SO Cannubi!
About this wine
100% Nebbiolo grapes purchased from a vineyard in the heart of the Cannubi - probably the most famous vineyard name in Barolo. Today, many wines from more remote areas are allowed to bear the name Cannubi but the superior wines (like this one) come from Original Cru and from the higher altitudes. The vines are about 30 years old.
The grapes are de-stemmed and no yeast is added for the 3-week temperature controlled fermentation in steel tanks. After racking, the wine remains in the tanks for 2-3 months to allow the sediment to collect at the bottom of the tank. In the spring, the wine is siphoned into oak botti, where it ages for 36 months. Bottle aging is another 24 months (Barolo Riserva must age for 5 years).
This is likely to be the only opportunity Osvaldo will have to purchase these grapes and craft this incredible wine. Each bottle is numbered.
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
A long growing season that enjoyed ideal conditions at all of the critical times. Barolo enjoyed many fine vintages between 1996 and 2010 but the latter gives all indications of being the very best. Ripe and rich fruit, depth, plenty of structure and ample acidity are hallmarks of this vintage. 2010 wines also tend to be very terroir transparent.
On your table
On this occasion, the Cannubi paired beautifully with oven roasted leg of lamb. Serve at cellar temperature.
Osvaldo Viberti located in La Morra produces Barolo, Barbera, Dolcetto, Langhe Nebbiolo and a little known but wonderful white called Langhe Nascetta. The 10-hectare Azienda produces about 40,000 bottles per year with input from a winemaking consultant.
Osvaldo remembers fondly helping his grandfather farm grapes to sell from their vineyards. His father began making wine but not bottling. In 1993, Osvaldo took control and began bottling and marketing his wine. Today, he is joined in this endeavor by his wife Carla and children Paolo and Anna.
Viberti farms naturally and organically without certification. He has not used pesticides in 3 years. All the bunches are destemmed and almost all of the fermentation is naturally occurring. He does manual pump-overs and pushes down the caps.
There is something uncommonly nice about Osvaldo. Ten minutes after meeting him, we felt a bond as if we had known him forever. He is humble, sincere and genuinely kind and you can taste these attributes in his excellent wines.