Our tasting impressions
Deeper and more intense aromatics than the Classico. It's also bigger and richer, and of course, more structured and tannic. But the vintage's bold, forward fruit and lithe tannins make it possible to enjoy this now or cellar for the mid-term. Maurizio's aging regimen adds a welcome lilt. The old vines are vividly revealed and take this Cru to another level.
About this wine
The Nebbiolo vines, planted more than 85 years ago, are in Bricco San Pietro, at 380m with southwest exposure. Training is in the Guyot counter-espalier system. Harvesting is mid-October.
Fermentation is in tino (25hl open-top Slavonian oak vat) for 25 days at a controlled 27-29º with floating cap. Pumping-over and punching down each are performed three times per day. Aging is 28 months in French oak - 60% new tonneaux/40% year-old barrique, then 12 months in bottle.
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
Hot and dry were the prevailing climate conditions during the 2017 growing season in Piedmont. Most harvested in August - about two weeks earlier than is typical. So, while production levels were reduced, as is often the case, skilled producers are able to craft wines of great concentration. Overall, supple, more accessible wines were produced. Acidity was a concern but well-made wines have ample freshness.
Suggested Glassware: Grassl Cru
Young, Maurizio Sanso is a third generation grape farmer but he is the first to make wine. His grandparents began as sharecroppers but eventually purchased the property. His parents, Leonardo and Silvana and his sister Lorena work closely with him on the 17ha sustainably-farmed estate producing about 50,000 bottles per year.
Maurizio is fluent in and respectful of the traditions in the Langhe - but he is not bound by them. The vast array of winemaking and aging vessels in his cellar is an indication that he has an adventurous spirit. He also believes in producing each wine in a way that will best convey what its terroir has to offer. Some of these practices might fit into a description of a modernist producer but it is hard to describe this young talent in such a confining and ultimately inaccurate way.
Already gaining recognition in Europe for his precocious talent, Maurizio seems poised for a wider stage. VDLT is pleased to play in role in bringing the wines of Cascina Sòt to the United States.