From Our Cellar

Anselma Giacomo Barolo Riserva Felice 2012

Anselma Giacomo

Our tasting impressions

It’s not everyday you celebrate your centennial and with this wine, Anselma did it in the grandest style. The depth and richness is unbelievable. Without distracting with details, this wine has a spiritual presence and a vital force. The epitome of traditional Barolo. One of our Italian wine expert friends said he would gladly pay twice our price to drink this now and in 30 years.


About this wine

A special production wine to commemorate the estate’s 100th anniversary. Half of the Nebbiolo is from their vines in Collaretto and the other half from the venerated Vigna Rionda. 


Fermentation is in cement tanks at temperatures of 20-28°C for 18-22 days. Pump-overs of the floating cap are frequent. The wine ages for 5 years in traditional large Slovenian oak botti, the required durataion to be called Riserva.


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

2012 was a challenging vintage. Cool and wet weather meant the wines tend to be lean, light-weight, bright and fruity. But artisan winemakers, like those in the VDLT portfolio, fared much better than their less conscientious neighbors. The best wines are excellent.


On your table

Got any white truffle? By all means then, but for the rest of us mere mortals, we suggest roast leg of lamb maybe with a side of mushroom risotto. Decant and keep it at cool cellar temperature while you savor it.


Suggested Glassware: Grassl Cru

Anselma Giacomo

Azienda Anselma Giacomo has been in operation for more than 100 years. In the early 20th century, Giacomo ran an osteria near the castle in Serralunga. His son, Felice, began producing wine from sourced grapes for the restaurant. Eventually, he bought vineyards - great vineyards like those in vaunted Vigna Rionda. He bottled his first vintage in 1930. By then, the family was running one of the area’s first hotel/restaurants, which they still have.


Giacomo’s great grandson, Franco, and his wife Maria head the business now. The vineyards, in calcerous clay soil, are managed “Biotipico” with only natural fertilizing and without severe chemicals. Franco tries to avoid doing anything that would prevent the inevitable evolution of his wines and his methods are very traditional. Production is just 20,000 bottles per year.


This is a lovely family, producing intensely terroir-driven wines that evoke not just a sensory response but an emotional one as well. Their cantina is almost museum-like, transporting you back to a simpler, and probably, more serene era.


VDLT is the only North American source for current vintages of these wines.