Our tasting impressions
This is everything you would expect from a young Serralunga - big-boned (for Nebbiolo), complex and tannic. It has impressive depth and width and sometimes it is hard to keep up with the spectrum of flavors and textures. Try a few young for this fun ride but this also will amply reward long-term cellaring.
About this wine
100% Nebbiolo from 48 year old south-facing vines in Meriame in the commune of Serralunga d’Alba at an altitude of 300-350m. Serralunga is regarded for producing some of the most complex and longest-lived Barolos. The soil is calcareous clay and sand. Osvaldo uses the Guyot vine management system and keeps yields to 45 hl/ha.
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. The wine is moved into 1,500 liter botti for up to 2 years. 3,500 bottles are 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
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
Grilled hanger steak or a rich, hearty stew is indicated. Try to keep it at cellar temperature while drinking it. The cool temperature helps smooth out the tannins and highlight the fruit over the tannins.
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. By the way, he also makes amazing roasted hazelnuts.