Pelassa Barolo Riserva 2010


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Our tasting impressions

From the extraordinary 2010 vintage, Daniele offers us the last Riserva he will bottle. In the future, he will focus on Cru bottlings rather than this cellar selection Riserva. And, this is most definitely a drop-the-mic performance. The nose has just a whiff of maturity. The balance is impeccable and there is remarkable depth of flavors that will only be enhanced by more cellar time. The texture is velvety until the tannins take charge on the finish. Truly impressive!


About this wine

The final production of Pelassa's Barolo Riserva based on a selection of their best Nebbiolo grapes from the clones Michet, Lampia and Rosè planted at 320m up to 70 years ago and trained in the Guyot system.


Harvested in the last 2 weeks of October, the grapes are de-stemmed and undergo a soft pressing before a traditional fermentation of about 15-20 days at 26°C.  The must is pumped over via racking to improve the extraction of the color and the aromas. After the malolactic fermentation, the wine is moved to Slavonian and French casks and barrels with weekly topping up. Aged for 2 years in oak barrels and 3 years 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

A long growing season that enjoyed ideal conditions at all of the critical times. Barolo enjoyed many fine vintages between 1996 and 2010 but the latter gives all indications of being the very best. Ripe and rich fruit, depth, plenty of structure and ample acidity are hallmarks of this vintage. 2010 wines also tend to be very terroir transparent.


Daniele's suggested musical pairing: Mahler's Symphony No.5


Suggested Glassware: Grassl Cru


Mario Pelassa and Maria Teresa Pelassa established their Montà d'Alba wine estate in 1960. For the remainder of the century, they sold their wine to grateful clients in northern Italy.


When their sons took charge, the scope and ambition grew. Daniele makes the wine and is a tour-de-force in global marketing and sales. Davide prefers to stay close to the land and manages the vineyards. From their 15ha in Roero and Verduno, they now concentrate on three grapes - Nebbiolo, Barbera and Arneis and produce 100,000 bottles per year.


Daniele sub-titled Pelassa Romantic Wines of Piedmont. We are particularly enamored of his inclusion of musical pairings for each of his wines (which we will faithfully convey to our members). It is appropriate because his wines so beautifully inspire intellectually and emotionally.