Silvio Giamello Barbaresco "Vicenziana" 2019

Barolo and Barbaresco are often referred to as the King and Queen, respectively, of Italian wine with the subtle inference that Barbaresco is somehow a less powerful or even important wine than Barolo. While that's hardly the case, the very idea is enough to keep prices down unless, of course, you're buying Giacosa or Gaja, the two absolute giants of Langhe viticulture who are based here. I'd be more inclined to compare Barolo and Barbaresco with Burgundy's neighboring Côte de Nuits and Côte de Beaune which share a similar geological relationship with subtleties in geology, altitude and exposition being the key differences. The most expensive wines in Burgundy, (the world for that matter) may come from the Côte de Nuits but regardless of price, I'll take a great Pommard Rugiens or Volnay Clos de Chênes (read M. Gaunoux and Michel Lafarge) at $150-250 over any $1k+ Vosne-Romanée. I'd say the same about any number of high quality Barbaresco over comparable, much more expensive Barolo.  Produttori del Barbaresco is an obvious example but there are a handful of producers, fairly to very obscure, in Barbaresco making wine at an incredibly high level at great prices. Silvio Giamello is one of them.

Silvio Giamello is one of these old school Langhe vignaioli who is impossible to find with no phone number or address listed and no sign on the door and likes it that way. When you make this little wine and don't have a single bottle to sell at the cellar door it's probably just easier. He's  the 4th generation of Giamellos to grow grapes here and he and his wife Marina farm 2 hectares of Nebbiolo vines in the famed cru Ovello just north of the tiny village off Barbaresco itself. The Vicenziana vineyard is actually the northern tip of Ovello but has always been a famous sub-zone in its own right and that's what Silvio has decided to leave on the label.

His vines are close to 50 years old and both these wines are made from the same small parcel with the Langhe Nebbiolo made from vines planted towards the bottom of the slope where it's a bit cooler. It qualifies as Barbaresco DOCG but Silvio wants to bottle to separately to focus what he considers the highest quality fruit on his flagship Barbaresco. It's notable that Produttori does much the same thing here in Ovello which is their largest source of fruit for their Barbaresco. In fact, the basic Produttori Barbaresco DOCG is essentially based on this vineyard thought they do bottle an Ovello. Farming is natural, yields are very low and winemaking is traditional. There's just very little wine to go around and only tiny amounts making their way to the US. Considering how good and rare these wines are, the prices are remarkable.

The Vicenziana is a very serious Barbaresco. No mistaking it for anything else, this is the real thing. Tar, roses, black truffle and menthol on the big nose. Powerful attack and and expansive mid palate with ripe red and black fruit, firm but generous tannins and striking mineral purity. Another great value and a steal at this price. Silvio likes to open older bottles at the end of a tasting and it's pretty obvious that these age remarkably well. Very little available.

Type: Italy

Vendor: Eno Fine Wine

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