Barolo and Barbaresco are two of Italy’s best grape varieties and are grown on the hills around the town of Alba. A number of extraordinary vintners has helped this wine-growing region to acquire a worldwide reputation. However, this has its price: Barolo and Barbaresco wines cost a small fortune. One example are the crus produced by Giacomo Conterno from Monteforte, who sometimes matures his grapes for up to eight years in large wooden barrels. But there’s a good reason for this. The wines produced from the Nebbiolo grape need time until the sometimes bitter tannins and clear acidity have been integrated. Another first-class producer takes a different approach. Much to the disapproval of many traditionalists, Elio Altare replaced wooden barrels with barriques in order to produce smoother and softer wines. And his success proves him right. The Barbaresco crus were long overshadowed by the Barolos until Angelo Gaja appeared on the scene. This vintner and entrepreneur also uses small wooden barrels, produces single-vineyard wines and also successfully cultivates global varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay in addition to Nebbiolo. He is probably the person most responsible in Piedmont for this region now producing among the best grapes in Italy.
Piedmont is still a male-dominated region. There are only a few female vintners. One of the most interesting representatives from the region is Giulia Negri from La Morra, who is just 30 years old. This talented newcomer produces great wines according to traditional methods and is guided by the philosophy from Burgundy. Her motto: strength and elegance instead of fullness and breadth, And the grapes should reveal their origin. This likeable vintner does not intervene a lot in the cellar because she believes that vinification is a simple process. Giulia Negri, who has a special relationship with each tank or barrel, produces her wines according to her instinct – spontaneous fermentation with wild yeast, a lengthy maceration in wooden fermentation stands, ageing in large barrels made of Slavonian oak. The three as yet still affordable single-vineyard Barolos are a revelation. But her first wine, Langhe Nebbiolo, is worth every sip. She selected a special barrel for the Peter Keller edition. This wine is available exclusively at Mondovino.