2015 Giacomo Borgogno & Figli, Langhe Nebbiolo “No Name” Piedmonte, Italy.
Another one of the stars of the recent Slow Wine Tasting in San Francisco was the Borgogno No Name (Nebbiolo), which really is a de-classified Barolo that saw the same winemaking and treatment as their Cru offerings, and in fact this No Name 2015 was an equal to their presigous Cannubi bottling on the day and is really a gorgeous wine with incredible depth, power and purity. The historic Borgogno & Figli label and winery has been restored to the highest level of respect and quality under the ownership of Andrea Farinetti, who has a string of intriguing wineries and projects throughout Italy and who is dedicated to native varietals and traditions within the regions. He has in recent years added the rare Piedmonte white grape Timorasso to Borgogno’s vineyards in the Colli Tortonesi zone, and the 2018 Derthona Timorasso is a beauty with lovely texture and mineral notes, certainly worth searching out for an alternative Italian white, but of course Borgogno is mostly known for their classic Nebbiolo in Barolo form and this No Name bottling is exceptional. The No Name, I believe, comes from a time when Borgogno were tardy getting in some registration forms to label one of their Barolo Riservas and were not allowed to label it as such, so in playful ironic payback they just called it No Name, and since then have made a Barolo bottling with that label, since it became an instant legend, though current versions are not renamed Risevas, but more a special barrel selection, from what info I could pry out of the winery. This No Name is packed with intensity and layered with black raspberry, macerated strawberry, cherry and damson plum fruits with balsamic accents, earth, anise, a touch of dried rose petals, mineral, grilled orange and pretty cedary notes, this is impressive and full bodied Nebbiolo with a gripping structure, while feeling rich and satiny on the palate with everything that make Nebbiolo regal showing up here.
The No Name Langhe Nebbiolo comes from vineyards located in the Langhe area in the villages around Barolo set on the classic Marl limestone and clay soils with all the estates vines being certified organic and is crafted with the idea of being a more early drinking example of Nebbiolo, but with real Barolo presence in the glass, which this 2015 delivers, in a rich and warm vintage, making for a killer value and an exciting wine that you’d be able to pop the cork on anytime the mood grabbed you without the guilt of opening a true Barolo that would be better with another decade in the cellar, that said, this one can and should age exceptionally well too! Borgogno, which is one of Piedmonte’s oldest and most revered Barolo properties, founded back in 1761 uses traditional winemaking in their No Name, with a fermentation and long maceration of about 2 weeks in temperature controlled tanks and with what the winery says was a submerged cap maceration with a variable duration between 10 and 20 days, to allow the gentle extraction of structure and depth of flavors, allowing for a generous exploration of the grape and place. As mentioned, the No Name gets the full Barolo treatment and was aged in Slavonia oak barrels for at least three years and aging in bottle for at least two years before release, which is just about to happen in the US market. Borgogno has some incredible plots in some of Barolo’s most admired Crus including Liste, Fossati and the mentioned Cannubi, one of the world’s best vineyards, and this wine is a great way to discover and explore the winery’s quality, it’s terroir and house style. The No Name Langhe Nebbiolo, especially in this ripe year, offers remarkable value and a vinous noble drinking experience, while still having less pretense and it will be fabulous with rustic cuisine and with friends, definitely a wine worth every penny.
($45 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive