Thursday, September 13, 2012

Garantito IGP: The Mossio Brothers and the Great Dolcetti if Rodello

This time Roberto Giuliani takes the stand:

After dedicating many Guaranteed notes to more or less renowned restaurants, I feel the need to return to the world of wine. Primarily because I'm interested in two brothers, though it would be more correct to say in the entire Mossio dynasty, which has given the Dolcetto of the Langhe shine for generations, producing superb wines from a varietal that few really understand yet. I met Valerio seven years ago at Dolcetto & Dolcetto, but hadn't seen him since, nor had I had occasion to taste other vintages of either Dolcetto D'Alba Bricco Caramelli or Dolcetto D'Alba Passo delli Perdoni (they also make a Barbera d'Alba and an impressive Langhe Nebbiolo). I wanted to rectify this oversight and finally managed to go visit them in Rodello, where I had the unexpected pleasure of a vertical of Dolcetto D'Alba Bricco Caramelli, from 2010 to 2005, six vintages to understand the quality and potential of this historic Piemontese varietal.

The first thing one notes upon arriving at the winery is Bricco Caramelli, which is the highest land in the area, almost 500 meters, always well ventilated, and offers a breathtaking view all the way to Alba. The rows are evenly laid out, with wooden support steaks, while the vines are trained to the guyot system, and grow on a soil consisting of silt, sand, and clay; I visited in the second week of May and the shoots were working their way up to the support wires. There's nice ground cover, which requires the Mossio brothers to manage the vineyard in an eco-compatible way, and the area they have under vine is 10 hectares (28 giornate piemontesi), which yield 50,000 bottles per year.

One need only chat for a while while walking among the rows to realize that they are driven by passion and a degree of recklessness, given that Valerio, despite his youth, has suffered a severe heart attack and continues to perform backbreaking labor in vineyard and cellar. For the more curious, Caramelli is the family name of the Marchesi di Clavesana, who were willed land in Rodello by Contessa Clemenza in 1676, including this farm, which has now been restored.

As I said, the visit also offered me the opportunity to evaluate the aging capacity of Bricco Caramelli thanks overtones a nice vertical from 2010 to 2005 (which could have gone further, but they had finished the older vintages). My general impression is that it is a wine easily capable of embarking on a long path, and though there are variations attributable to the vintages, it is an excellent Cru, one of the finest Dolcetti of all, and a wine that sets the standard. Nor should one underestimate Piano delle Perdoni, which, depending upon the vintage, can pluck a rabbit from the hat, displaying quality that easily matches Caramelli. Looking in detail...

Dolcetto D'Alba Bricco Caramelli 2010 
This ferments for 10 days in steel, macerating on the skins, and there's no wood, nor filtration, nor stabilization to take away from the Dolcetto aromas that emerge from the glass. The most recent, this vintage is impenetrable violet ruby and has an extremely fresh bouquet with intense violets, prunes, black cherries, blackberries, balsamic accents, and developing spice. The palate gives the same freshness, a rich, flavorful wine one could call chewable, and one can foresee a happy marriage of structure and elegance.

Dolcetto D'Alba Bricco Caramelli 2009
Dusky, almost impenetrable ruby; the nos is already more complex; there are violets, and a fruity surge of currants, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, and again balsamic notes with a hint of tobacco. Though the opening of the nose is less immediate than that of the 2010 the palate churns with energy and finesse, power and elegance, savory notes, and perfect symmetry with the nose, and remarkable persistence.

Dolcetto D'Alba Bricco Caramelli 2008
A slightly different vintage; the color is still perfect concentrated ruby, while the nose opens with vegetal accents that yield to violets, iris, cherries, blueberries, blackberries, interesting gingery accents, cinnamon, and pleasant menthol. The palate is more than convincing; there is a slight tannic bite, excellent fruit, and a delicately bitter almond laced finish.

Dolcetto D'Alba Bricco Caramelli 2007
A hot vintage, but at this altitude, and with vines that are decades old this is not a problem: the nose opens with impressive sweetness and intensity, also because the alcohol has blended perfectly with the fruit, which once again moves towards prunes, cherries, and hints of raspberries, while there are also resiny balsamic notes, hints of pepper, and dried flowers. The palate is harmonious, once again balsamic, and still fresh and savory, and long.

Dolcetto D'Alba Bricco Caramelli 2006
In this vintage one is really struck by the violet visible in the rich dark ruby of the wine; 6 years have passed since the harvest and it hasn't faded at all. The fruit is impressively fresh, with echoes of peach that then give way to the more classic cherries, prunes, and ripe raspberries, while there are also balsamic accents, with mature aromas of graphite and dark tobacco. The palate reveals full structure and perfect balance, with tannins that are silky and clearly show that the wine is far from reaching the end of its aging. Terrific persistence.
Dolcetto D'Alba Bricco Caramelli 2005
Perhaps the most symbolic year, in a positive sense, one that reveals the greatness of the vineyard; despite seven years of age there are terrific floral accents blaanced by properly sweet ripe fruit that's not the least bit jammy. The vintage emerges on the palate too, with a more nervous, lighter texture that I don't dislike at all: I've already enjoyed it in many Baroli and Barbareschi from this vintage.

Published Simultaneously by IGP, I Giovani Promettenti.

We Are:
Carlo Macchi
Kyle Phillips
Luciano Pignataro
Roberto Giuliani
Stefano Tesi

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