Nebbiolo is one of the few and great grapes in the world capable of giving us, with age, an aromatic spectrum of extraordinary finesse and complexity. Age enriches it enormously and sets it apart from those immediately accessible aromas of young wines. This process is commonly known as tertiarization and is one of the characteristics of great wines. Every Langhe wine producer aspires to measure himself against Nebbiolo. Actually, nebbiolo is a wine that is easier to manage in the cellar compared to many others, but it has such a strong inherent expressive capacity that it really takes great discretion on the part of the winemaker. For us, accustomed to the difficulties of Dolcetto, working with Nebbiolo is almost a game: it does everything by itself.
An absolutely traditional idea of Nebbiolo. Knowing the potential and sensitivity of this grape variety in its innate elegance and its capacity to express terroir, we seek great simplicity in vinification and great respect for its expressive potential. A Barolo style vinification that seeks not for a fresh and fruity style nebbiolo, but for a more austere wine. To me, as a wine producer, this grape offers the priceless opportunity to understand the territory and tannic austerity of Dogliani even better.
The land is located in the commune of Dogliani, identified in the vineyard of Austri, in the sub zone of Valdiberti. The vines are on a wind-sheltered slope, exposed to the Southwest at 400 meters above sea level. The soil is medium texture, prevalently limestone and the area is Valdiberti. The vines are cultivated using a simple Guyot, with a plant density of 4000 vines per hectare. The plots are cultivated according to the principles of biodynamic agriculture, which foresees a different approach to the soil fertility and the use of copper and sulphur in very small quantities. The yield of wine per hectare varies according to the year from 35 to 45 hectoliters.
Hand-picked in the second half of October and brought to the cellar in fifty pound boxes, the grapes are de-stemmed, crushed and fermented in wooden vats without selected yeasts or additives that could in any way alter the expression of the vintage and terroir. The temperature is left free and uncontrolled, especially in years with cooler summers such as 2005, where it would be unlikely for fermentation to arrest due to excessive alcohol. The grapes were vinified as the traditional Barolo style, with a post-fermentative maceration of ten days, leaving the wine on their skins after the alcoholic fermentation, which lasted for twelve day.
After the drawing the wine off the skins, it continues its refining in large Slavonian oak vats. The nebbiolo then remains on its fine lees, which are kept in suspension thanks to batonnage for the first 8 months. Malolactic fermentation is not encouraged in any way and it begins spontaneously the following spring. The nebbiolo, which is limpid thanks only to racking, is bottled without either clarification or filtration. Il Provinciale 2005 was bottled in summer 2007 and than refined in bottle for two years.
The year 2005 was characterized by slightly inferior thermal summations as compared to the preceding years. A cooler summer, although not necessarily rainy, led to higher acidity and less overbearing alcohol. Thanks to slower ripening of the fruit we have an aromatic framework of great finesse.
The presence of the extreme tannins of a nebbiolo from the Dogliani territory is balanced by the sweet austerity of the grapes from Serralunga, giving the wine a delicate character and a strong connection with tradition. Immediately we note delicate floral aromas, opening up to plum, raspberry and red currants, liquorice and herbal notes. On the palate it's important, warm, tannic and powerful, concluding on a mineral note.
IL PROVINCIALE 2004
Wild cherry, cinnamon, cloves and cherries in liqueur grace this nebbiolo with elegan- ce and finesse. A tannic structure that is delicately vertical and lively in which the freshness and acidity escort the wine to an ending both sapid and persuasive. 2004 was another classic vintage, where the word classic exemplifies the quintessen- tial sober and straightforward Piedmontese character. In some respects comparable to 2001, but with more regular trends in fruit maturation and without excess. Harvested in the first decade of October, with higher alcohol thanks to days of strong sun at the end of the summer, which favored some drying on parts of the bunches. This was the first vintage in which the wine was aged on the fine lees. Since we had not yet asked for the denomination Langhe nebbiolo doc for the Austri vineyards, the 2004 Il provinciale is still labelled under the denomination Langhe rosso doc.