Our tasting impressions
Such a clean and precise Langhe Nebbiolo that has no ambitions for being a "piccolo Barolo". This is simply a lovely expression of this fine grape that is a pleasure to drink. We are most certainly not damning this with faint praise. It is just very good wine.
About this wine
100% Nebbiolo from vines trained in the Guyot counter-espalier system. Harvested in mid-October. The grapes undergo a traditional fermentation in steel tanks for 10 days at a controlled 25º with floating cap. Pumping-over is performed three times per day.
All of the wine undergoes malolactic fermentation in oak barrels then 40% is moved to barrique for 6 months. It is all re-blended, bottled and aged further before release.
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
2019 was a challenging vintage but ultimately an excellent one. Yields were done about 15% on average. Growers had to deal with heavy spring rain and some hail. The summer was very hot and rot was a very real threat.
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.