Minimum purchase 6 bottles (or equivalent of 4500mL) mix and match with other Direct wines from this producer. Purchases must be in multiples of 6. Ships directly from winery to you in a few weeks - $4/bottle for 12 (+$2 if order less than $400) or more & $6/bottle for 6 (+$2 if order less than $200)per producer.
Our tasting impressions
I had a long, anxious wait to taste Ugo's Riserva. The 2011 was sold out upon my visit. The '15 was the next vintage but it was ready during the pandemic. So, I had to wait until shipping resumed to get my taste and...oh boy was it worth it! Denser color at the core yet surprisingly, more aromatically clear and dramatic on the nose. The mouthfeel is sheer delight but then the aggressive tannins take hold. There is great length and terrific balance - although the ripeness of the vintage is apparent. It is poised for greatness. I can clearly sense that there is at least one more gear waiting to be discovered. Bravo!
About this wine
100% Nebbiolo from purchased grapes in the commune of Neive. The vineyard of Gallina is considered one of the finest for Barbaresco and the plots around Cascina Nuova producing these grapes are some of Gallina’s very best. They have ideal southern exposure and elevation of 170-250 meters, The vines were planted between 1953 and 1971. Only the best grapes are selected for the Riserva.
Ugo ferments his Barbaresco in stainless steel for 15-18 days. Like the Normale, the Riserva ages in Slovenian oak for 20 months but then spends another 15 months in 5-7hl French oak, before 6 months in bottle 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) and at proper elevation (too low there is too much frost exposure, too high 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
2015 must have seemed like a walk in the park compared to the non-stop travails of 2014. The early part of the year was wet. A warm spring followed by a very hot summer put everything on a fast-track with the vines needing every bit of there winter precipitation reserves. So, overall fine but with very ripe fruit.
Suggested Glassware: Grassl Cru
Ugo Lequio started his boutique winery in 1981 despite not owning any vines. He lived in view of Gallina, one of the great vineyards in Neive producing Barbaresco. He had to persuade a vineyard owner to sell grapes to him. The Marcarinos had much of the most cherished plots around Cascina Nuova. He was able to purchase Barbera from them initially and after many years he succeeded in acquiring their prized Nebbiolo, which had previously gone to Bruno Giacosa, one of the legends of Langhe wines in Piedmont. The vineyard has optimal exposure, altitude and soil composition.
Ugo does almost everything himself including oversight of vineyard management. His grape selection is painstaking and his winemaking very traditional. He ages his wines longer than the regulations stipulate and does nothing to alter the natural alcohol levels.
He is a true artisan, crafting incredible wines. We tasted an Arneis that had barely begun fermentation (it looked like a cloudy unfiltered beer) yet it had unbelievable delineation and balance. Ugo is his own man, a rightfully proud man who is so deeply devoted to making extraordinary wine.