2016 Antichi Vigneti di Cantalupo, Nebbiolo, Agamium, Colline Noravesi DOC, Alto Piedmonte, Italy.
The smooth and structured Agamium from Alberto Arlunno at Antichi Vigneti di Cantalupo is all from the Ghemme zone, but labeled Colline Novaresi DOC, which is known as Alto Piedmonte, a once remote and rustic area that is now one of Italy’s major hot spots for Nebbiolo with well draining rocky soils and old vines. The terroir here was formed in ancient times as the great Monte Rosa glacier receded leaving morainic rock, alluvial deposits with the vineyards being rich in easily fragmented pebbles providing the vines with a quantity of minerals. The vineyards are planted mostly to Spanna, local name for Nebbiolo, 80% in fact, but with also Vespalina and Uva Rara, which makes up a minority of the blends and adds aromatics, color and a light fruity note to the very structured and complex Nebbiolo.
Arlunno uses stainless tanks to ferment and he ages mostly in large Slovenian oak casks and a small amount of French barrels, usually reserved for the top Ghemme offerings, and not in this fresher style wine. The 2016 Agamium by Antichi Vigneti di Cantalupo is delicately perfumed, lightly spicy and with exceptional purity of form with layers of classic Nebbiolo flavors including cherry, damson plum, strawberry and tangy currant along with faint tar, cedar, mineral tones and black licorice as well as the rose petal essences you find on the nose. There is good bright acidity, silken tannins, which highlights a vintage that should not be missed in the whole Piedmonte region for Nebbiolo in particular, and subtle earthy/savory elements that come trough on the background of this very pretty Colline Novaresi wine. This is absolutely a producer to check out and follow, and this wine is a beauty and top value, it can be enjoyed now and has enough stuffing to go 5 more years with ease.
($19 Est.) 91 Points, grapelive