For a guy who runs with the likes of Keith Richards and Mick Jagger, Luca Carrado is about as down-to-earth and friendly as one can get. Luca was in the neighborhood last week to promote his family’s Vietti wines, and I enjoyed his last visit so much, I made a note on my calendar as soon as I heard of his impending return. This time around, the boys at Cloverleaf Fine Wine and Liquor hosted a tasting with Carrado on hand to talk about all things Vietti, so Kim and I hopped in the car and drove over to Royal Oak to partake in the festivities. A goodly sized crowd turned out and Luca held court for about four hours. We hung out for about an hour and a half, talking with him, noshing on an excellent spread of food that was provided by pure food 2 U, and of course, tasting the wine.
2008 Vietti Roero Arneis, 13.5% alc., $22.00: Clean medium color, river stones, rainwater and yellow apple in both flavor and aroma; the nose is accented with a very subtle floral note. Medium bodied and then some, being very smooth in texture, with good acids and length. Always a nice glass of dry white, this.
Sourced from vineyards located in the middle of the Roero area, in Santo Stefano Roero. The vineyards are planted with 4,000-4,500 plants per hectare. Beginning in mid-September, grapes from 25-year-old vines in Santo Stefano Roero are harvested, pressed and clarified. The grapes are crushed, pressed and clarified. Alcoholic fermentation occurs in stainless steel autoclave at lower temperature (12-14°C) to preserve some natural CO2 from the fermentation. There is no malolactic fermentation, which preserves acidity and freshness. The wine is held in stainless steel tanks until bottling. Find this wine
2006 Vietti Perbacco Nebbiolo, 13.5% alc., $25.00: Clean, dark color, with a fragrant perfume of earth, mineral and rich blackberry and dried cherry; the flavors echo beautifully, with great balance between the earthiness and the ample fruit. Full bodied and smoothly textured, yet with the tannins and acids to age well for at least 3 to 5 years, but already a pleasure to drink.
Sourced from Scarrone, Bricco Boschis, Valletta in Castiglione Falletto, Fossa in Barolo and Ravera of Novello village. The average age of the vines is 35 years, and the plants are 4,500 per hectare. All vineyards are vinified and aged separately. 18-21 days of alcoholic fermentation between 28°-35°, followed by malolactic in stainless steel tank and barrels. The first part of the ageing is done in barriques for 10 months (only some cru vineyards) and then in Slovenian oak casks for another 16 months. Find this wine
2007 Vietti Barbera d’Asti Tre Vigne, 14.58% alc., $18.00: Clean, dark color, and even more perfumed than the Perbacco, with pretty black plum, blackberry and dried cherry shaded with earth and smoke in the background. Full bodied and well structured, with nice length; very harmonious and a steal at the 1-day only price of $14, so we took 3 home with us.
Sourced from young vineyards, approximately 10 years old, in Agliano d’Asti that are planted 4,800 plants per hectare with a yield of 39 hl/ha. The must is kept for 12 days in stainless steel tanks at 30-32°C. At the end of the malolactic fermentation, the wine is moved into French oak barrels or Slavonian oak casks for 12 months, then into steel tanks 2 months before bottling. The wine is bottled unfiltered to retain complexity. Find this wine
2007 Vietti Barbera d’Alba Tre Vigne, 14% alc., $25.00: Showing clean, dark color, and perhaps a wee bit less expressive on the nose than the Barbera d’Asti, though it’s more floral; really comes alive in the mouth, offering rich and lovely blackberry, black cherry and dried cherry accented with earth and floral shades. Full bodied, smooth and harmonious, yet structured for several years of aging. Almost feminine in character.
Sourced from the top three vineyard sites located in Monforte, Castiglione Falletto, and Castiglione Tinella with 5,000 vines per hectare. The vineyards are almost 30/35 years old. After pressing, the must is kept in stainless steel tanks for 10 days at 26°C-32° (78-89° F) for the alcoholic fermentation. The wine is then transferred to casks, where it undergoes malolactic fermentation and aging. Total aging of 10 months in Slovenian oak casks, French barriques and steel tanks. Bottled unfiltered. Find this wine
2005 Vietti Barolo Castiglione, 14.02% alc., $48.00: Deep, dark color, with earth, mineral and rich black cherry aromas; flavors echo of earthy black cherry, dried cherry and a subtle kiss of roses, all with great balance and elegance. Full bodied, but sleek, and deceptively well structured for several years in the cellar, yet a joy to drink already.
Sourced from vineyards located in Castiglione Falletto, Monforte, Barolo and Novello where the vines are planed an average of 4.800 vines per hectare. The vines are 7 to 35 years old with yields of 38 hl/ha, grown using the Guyot system. After harvesting, the grapes are gently pressed. Fermentation in stainless steel occurs over 15 days, with daily cap submersion for extraction of flavor and color. The wine is then aged for 24 months in casks. The wine was blended in stainless steel tanks 8 months before bottling. Unfiltered. Find this wine
2005 Vietti Barolo Lazzarito, 14.38% alc., $130.00: Clean, dark color, and perhaps slightly less effusive and more earthy on the nose than Castiglione, with forest floor, dried cherry, leather and rose petal, all of which follows through beautifully on the palate. Sleek, medium-full to full bodied, with excellent balance and structure, this can age for many years, and yet it too is already so fine. Just lovely. (Luca told of how town records dating back to the 1600s tell that, not only was Lazzarito considered to be a great vineyard then, but had been so going back to Roman times.)
Sourced from the single vineyard Lazzarito in Serralunga, which has 4,500 plants by hectare that are 39 years old and low yields of 20 hl/ha (1.1 ton/acre). The grapes are harvested and gently pressed, their juice ferments for 18 days in stainless steel tanks at 28-34° C (82-93 F). Lazzarito vineyard is one of the most famous “crus” of Serralunga, and is considered Vietti’s most modern interpretation of Barolo The wine is aged for 12 months in French oak barrels, followed by an additional 14 months in Slovenian oak casks. Unfiltered. Find this wine
There were probably a few more wines opened after we left, as I’m pretty sure I saw some of Vietti’s delicious Moscato d’Asti chilling down in the refrigerator, and Barolos Roche, Brunate and Villero were included on the price list. (OK, I doubt that the Villero was poured; even at the 1-day sale price of $295.00, down from $450.00, it’s a pretty “rarefied atmosphere” kind o’ wine.) But, we were quite happy with what we tasted, and as stated, went home with three of the Barbera d’Asti Tre Vigne, which was humorously noted to have been selected by no less than the Wall Street Journal as the ideal pizza wine to enjoy while watching the Super Bowl. We had one of ours with burgers while watching the big game, which was much better than the commercials for a change.
Reporting from Day-twah,