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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
NO STAR goes to wines that are correctly made but nothing to get excited about.
ONE STAR goes to wines that are good. TWO STARS go to wines that are very good to excellent. THREE STARS and a POINT SCORE (90-100) go to wines that are superb to extraordinary. And I will give pairing suggestions, which I consider much more important than the scores.