Az. Agr. Varaldo
2006 Langhe Nebbiolo DOC
Nebbiolo •Langhe DOC
What We Say
RARE WINE ALERT:
Today’s selection from Azienda Agricola Varaldo is an exlusive and unique wine that showcases Italy’s Piedmont’s best loved grape. Our allocation is extremely limited, so be sure to place your order early.
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Mission Codename: The Fall Fog of the Piedmont
Operative: Agent White & Agent Free Run
Objective: Revisit Az. Agr. Varaldo and taste their delicious Nebbiolo
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Az. Agr. Varaldo
Wine Subject: 2005 Langhe DOC Nebbiolo
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 a 100% Nebbiolo, the region’s most prolific and admired grape, is grown on the family’s 17 acre low-yield vineyard, carefully harvested by hand and is aged for 24 months in French oak.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Deep garnet in color with a clear deep core that flashes ruby highlights when held to the light. The color holds its density just to the edge where it becomes a lighter shade of garnet then ruby/pink. Fast legs of medium thickness cascade down the side of the glass when swirled.
Smell – Bold and redolent red Italian cherry and other red and black fruit, including ripe plum and Nebbiolo’s distinctive tar component define this wine’s youthful nose. Behind those aromas are complex notes of licorice, chocolate, toasted oak and floral violet.
Feel – This dry and full-bodied wine has finely etched tannins, just enough spiciness and a bold and tangy acidity that carries the complex flavors through to the finish.
Taste – This wines abundant flavors crash over the palate revealing ripe red and black fruit, tar and earth on the first pass. As you explore this wine’s still youthful flavors you’ll discover hints of exotic spice, toasted oak and vanilla, dark chocolate and licorice.
Finish – Long and lingering with lasting fruit flavors, zesty Italian tar, dark chocolate and toasted oak that are well supported by this wines bold structure.
Conclusion – If you are a fan of Italy’s great wines of the Piedmont then the 2006 Varaldo Langhe DOC is sure to please. Bold and rich aromas and flavors, distinctly Italian in character, and a solid backbone structure. While this wine is just starting to become fully integrated, we recommend decanting this wine for full enjoyment now. This wine will also cellar well and is sure to evolve and improve for at least a decade to come.
The last time Agent Free Run and I had a wine from Azienda Agricola Varaldo it was as part of a joke played upon us by our fellow agents. We were so taken by the uniqueness of the wine, however, we wanted to further explore the farm and their exceptional juice. Which brings us to today’s selection of their 2006 Langhe DOC Nebbiolo.
While less common here is the U.S., Nebbiolo is among the most prolific and greatest of indigenous grapes in Italy and accounts for some of their most exceptional wines. Specifically, Nebbiolo finds is most expressive nature in the wines of Barolo and Barbaresco. Nebbiolo is named for the fog (Nebbia – see photo at left) that is common in the region at harvest time.
Today’s selection is unique in that its formal designation is that of Langhe DOC and the Varaldo farm lies within the boundaries of Barbaresco. The Langhe DOC overlaps a larger region and was established to give the local wine producers added flexibility in making blended wines similar to the much loved Super Tuscans.
This is why this wine is so unique, it is a purely varietal, 100% Nebbiolo from the family’s exceptional single low-yield/high density vineyard and yet is retains its looser Langhe designation. Thus, the challenge (and arguably many flaws) in Italy’s confusing Goria’s Law That being said, if you enjoy Barolo or Barbaresco made in the more modern riper form, then this wine is for you.
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of the the Varaldo farm can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
About This Wine:
Very important Nebbiolo, with a big nose of berry, vanilla and licorice. Full body and a very long clean finish. Suitable with pasta, pork, salamis and red meat, medium aged cheeses 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.
Type: Langhe D.O.C.
Town: Barbaresco, Cuneo
Varietals: 100% Nebbiolo
Production Area: Barbaresco
Vines per hectare: 4,000
Vine Training: Guyot
Vintage Notes: Hand picking when the grape is perfectly mature
Improving: 24 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%