Az. Agr. Varaldo

2005 Langhe DOC Fantasia 4.20

Red Blend •Langhe DOC

Italy: Piedmont

Offer Expired:Apr 12, 2009 at 11:59 pm
Avg. Price

What We Say


Today’s selection from Azienda Agricola Varaldo is an exlusive and unique wine that showcases Italy’s Piedmont’s best grapes. Our allocation is extremely limited, so be sure to place your orders early.


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Mission Codename: Tripping The Light Fantasia

Operative: Agent White & Agent Free Run

Objective: Uncover the mystery of the Fastasia 4.20

Mission Status: Accomplished!

Current Winery: Az. Agr. Varaldo

Wine Subject: 2005 Langhe DOC Fantasia 4.20

Winemaker: Michele Varaldo


Langhe DOC in Italy’s Piedmont overlaps the same regions as Barolo, Barbaresco and Barbera d’Alba. The red wines from Langhe DOC can blend specifically approved (including Dolcetto, Barbera, Freisa, along with some non-domestic grapes such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot) with the base varietal Nebbiolo. Given the more flexible rules, the wines from Langhe are the Piedmont’s version of the popular Super Tuscan. This DOC was established in 1994, the DOC occupies mush of the province of Cuneo.

Today’s selection is named Fantasia 4.20 for the four varietals (Nebbiolo, Babera, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot) that are blended in equal parts and aged for 20 months in French oak.

Wine Spies Tasting Profile:

Look – Dark and deep burgundy in color with purple and garnet hues. Deep garnet and ruby reddish along the edges and when swirled the initially thin legs slow and widen on the side of the glass.

Smell – Bold and extremely complex with layer upon layer of spice, ripe and tart red berries and cherry, floral violets and hints of licorice. Further exploration reveals sweet-woods, a touch of tar, tobacco and citrus zest.

Feel – Full-bodied, dry and initially spicy with firm and angular but fine tannins and balanced acidity. The fine grained tannins and this wine’s minerality and spices reach all the corners of the palate and lingers through to the finish.

Taste – Rich and complex with each varietal of this unique blend adding to the unique taste of this wine. Red fruit including Italian red cherry and wild raspberry flavors are framed by notes of exotic spice, a touch of vanilla, smokey tobacco and tar, and a hint of licorice.

Finish – A clean finish that initially drops off but then softly lingering flavors of spice, fruit, vanilla and spice continue for an extremely long time.

Conclusion – The 2005 Varaldo Langhe DOC Fantasia 4.20 is one of the most unique Italian wines we have featured. Both contemporary in its fruit but with solid old-world character, this wine expertly showcases its four varietals strengths and qualities in a balanced and well integrated manner. While this is a uniquely Piedmontese wine in its aromas, texture and flavors, it will instantly appeal to those who enjoy Super Tuscans as well as other old-world (as well as new-world) blends.

Mission Report:

A few weeks back Agent Free Run and myself were working away over the weekend at the ops center. We wanted to identify some exceptional Italian and French wines to feature for our operatives. This work involves tasting a few wines, planning visits to some of the farms, interviewing winemakers, and sometimes just the gut feelings that have lead us to some many great wines.

After a few hours we were both tired. At the same time we both looked up and noticed that the server room was full of smoke and an odd smell was eminating from through the door. We were both puzzled. I went into the room and each of the W.I.N.E. (Wine Internet Nexus Engine) computer monitors the numbers 4.20 were flashing with a strange multicolored blurry fractal background. I was initially concerned that the server was overloaded but the smoke was not the smell of burning electronics.

I went to the terminal and tried to get the system to respond to no avail. The keyboard and mouse were non-responsive. I almost had a heart-attack when all of a sudden the the song In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida by Iron Butterfly started playing at top volume through the W.I.N.E. sound system. No matter what we did, the system would not respond. We tried in vane to override the current program but nothing worked. We had both reached a level of stress not seen in months.

After about 17 minutes (that’s how long the song is) of doing everything except actually powering down the server I looked up and through the window into the ops center I saw Agent Red, Agent Sparkle and Agent Blush laughing histerically at the two of us. We both were immediately red-faced.

They jestured for us to come out of the server room and as we did Agent Red handed each of us a glass of the 2005 Varaldo Langhe DOC Fantasia 4.20. They had really gotten the best of both of us. They couldn’t stop laughing.

Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise, you now know know what 4.20 means. And after one sip, you’ll agree that its a fantastic trip.

Wine Spies Vineyard Check:

The location of the the Varaldo farm can be seen in this satellite photo.

What the Winery Says

Special Operative Notice:

We have secured a very special allocation of this wine. This wine is due in from the importer later this week and will be shipped on Monday, July 13th. If you have any questions please contact us at Cheers!

About This Wine:

Lots of berries, cherry, vanilla and tobacco. Full body, very clean with velvet tannins and a strong light finish. To drink with appetizers of meat, pasta, red meat and medium and long seasoned cheeses, and it works very well by itself. Longevity: more than 20 years

About The Winery:

The View of Varaldo’s Vineyards

Azienda Agricola Varaldo Rino is a young, family-run cellar with its roots firmly set in tradition. Today it is the turn of the third generation to carry forward the production of wines with a care and passion for the vine that has been handed down from father to son since the business was founded 50 years ago by Michele Varaldo.

The wines are currently grown on around 7 hectares (17 acres) of vineyards, tended under the guidance of Pier Mario Varaldo and his sons, Rino and winemaker Michele, who is always attentive to the latest innovations in wine-making technology.

Our production of 55-60,000 bottles a year for the red wines typically grown in the Langhe area, including Dolcetto d’Alba, Barbera d’Alba, Langhe Nebbiolo, Langhe Rosso “Fantasia 4.20”, Barbaresco and Barolo, as well as a grappa made from the Nebbiolo grapes which produce Barbaresco wine. The vines are trained using the Guyot system, with thinning of the bunches during the summer producing an optimal yield to obtain the highest quality each vintage has to offer.

All the substances contributing to a wine’s structure and richness are extracted in a very short time (4-5 days on the skins) using horizontal rotofermenters, which also provides an ever-appealing softness and roundness. The malolactic fermentation then takes place in tanks or oak casks or barrels, where the wines will stay for a period of ageing which varies – depending on the development of each single wine – from a minimum of 18 to a maximum of 30 months.

Technical Analysis:

Type: Langhe Rosso D.O.C.

Town: Barbaresco, Cuneo

Varietals: Merlot, Nebbiolo, Barbera y Cabernet Sauvignon in equal parts

Production Area: Barbaresco

Vines per hectare: 4,000

Vine Training: Guyot

Year: 2005

Vintage Notes: Hand picking when the grape is perfectly mature

Improving: 20 months in French oak barriques, 30% new and 70% used

Aging: more than 20 years

Services Temperature: 18°-20° C / 64°-68° F

Winemaking: 5-6 days in rotofermenters with temperature controlled

Alcoholic Strength: 13.5%

Courtesy of Wikipedia

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