The Brezza family own 12.5 hectares of vines split between the commune of Barolo (in Cannubi, Castellero and Sarmassa), the two-hectare Santa Rosalia estate just outside the Barolo DOCG zone between Diano d’Alba and the town of Alba itself, and two further plots in Monforte d’Alba and Novello. Throughout the vineyards, the family practices an environmentally friendly approach to viticulture and the estate has been certified organic since the 2015 vintage. In the cellar, winemaker Enzo Brezza follows a traditional approach with minimal intervention. In order to maintain freshness and purity, many of the wines are bottled with glass Vinolok closures.
2017 was a hot vintage with sparse rainfall. Winter was mild and spring saw above average temperatures. The vines developed early, which continued throughout the vintage. At the end of April some localised frost occurred. A long period of fine weather started in May due to a number of anticyclones, and above average temperatures during the summer were tempered by cooler nights. Early September rains refreshed the vines and the grapes were harvested in excellent health.
The grapes come from a 2.1 hectare vineyard that was originally planted in 1942 with further plantings in 1991. Located around the town of Barolo, it has been organically farmed since 2010. Situated at 300 metres’ elevation, the vines are planted at a density of 5,000 vines per hectare and have a south east and westerly orientation. The Barbera vines are grown on rootstocks 420A, SO4 and K5BB. Guyot pruned and espalier trained, the vines are carefully cultivated by hand, with green harvesting and thinning taking place to control yields and increase the concentration of flavour in the grapes. The soil is Sant’agata fossil marl from the Tortonian age with high sandstone content, in which Barbera thrives and produces balanced grapes. Green manure is employed to enhance the vitality of the soil and the cuttings from the grass cover crops are left on the soil, to help increase the nutrient value. In accordance with organic viticulture, copper and sulphur are used when necessary; herbicides and pesticides are not employed. Manually harvested.
Once the grapes arrived at the cellar they were immediately destemmed and crushed. The must fermented for eight to 10 days, followed by maceration for four to six days which was maintained at 18°C for malolactic conversion. The wine was then transferred to one to three year old Slavonian oak barrels, where it matured for one year. The wine was bottled and cellared for one year prior to release. This wine was made organically with minimal sulphur.
A pure and modern reflection of Barbera with dark berried fruits, plum and cherry and a touch of delicate spice. The well-balanced palate shows great suavity, with finegrained tannins and lifted sweet cherry fruit on the long finish.
Barbera d’Alba Superiore
• 16.5 Points, Jancis Robinson, 2021