Expected Spring 2024
Our tasting impressions
Viberti's 2013 epitomizes Barolo Riserva with its intensity, depth and complexity. It's drinking surprisingly well for such a relatively young wine. It also has enormous upside potential if we can keep our hands off them and let them develop over the years. The 2016 vintage has been much ballyhooed (rightfully so) but that don't miss out on this one from arguably as great a vintage...and one that is perhaps more classically styled. Epic!
About this wine
100% Nebbiolo culled from Osvaldo's two Cru vineyards - Meriame and Serra dei Turchi. The former were planted almost 50 years ago on a south-facing slope in Serralunga at an elevation of 300-350m in calcareous clay and sandy soil. Serra dei Turchi are also old vines facing south in Frazione Santa Maria in La Morra at 250-300m. The soil is calcareous clay. Osvaldo uses the Guyot vine management system and keeps yields to about 45 hl/ha.
Osvaldo selects only the best grapes for his Riserva. The grapes are de-stemmed and then spontaneously fermented for 8-10 days in temperature-controlled steel tanks with manual push-downs and pump-overs.
When it is time to bottle the Barolo Crus and Classico, he chooses the best barrels from which to reserve about 1,500 liters, that continues to refine for a another year in 500-liter tonneaux before being bottled. Total aging for the Riserva is 6 years.
Bottles are numbered. Less than 300 were produced.
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
2013 is an outstanding Barolo vintage. Lots of springtime rain extreme care to prevent mildew. A warm, but not hot, summer allowed the grapes to ripen over a natural course - punctuated by welcome day/night temperature variations at the end of the growing season. A late harvest gave the tannins ample time to develop as well. A vintage of exceptional finesse.
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 the help of his friend, and renowned oenologist, Sergio Molino.
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 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. He is humble, sincere and genuinely kind and you can taste these attributes in his excellent wines.