2017 Agricole Brandini la Morra, Barolo DOCG, R56, Piedmonte, Italy.
The 2017 R56 Barolo from Brandini is a classically styled and impeccably made Nebbiolo with fine tannins, pure red fruits, mineral and a delicate earthy charm, this is a wine for traditional enthusiasts that really shows a sense of place in the glass. This lovely wine, as the winery says, is born from the Cru that surrounds their cellar, and it is the result of a unique microclimate formed by altitude, ventilation, as well as the clayey and sandy soils here. This R56 saw a cool maceration and native yeast fermentation in tank and then was raised exclusively in old large cask. When Giovanna showed me this R56, from the La Morra zone, I spellbound by the gorgeous floral aromatics and seamless layers of red fruits with dusty raspberry, black cherry, damson plum and red currant fruits, a touch of cedar, minty herbs, anise, sweet tobacco leaf, dried violets and rose petals. This medium bodied Barolo looks to fill out over time and be its best in 3 to 5 years, its youthful taut features here hide the depth and complexity at this point, but the potential is clearly all here. The estate-owned vineyards that Agricole Brandini la Morra farm are all in the Barolo DOCG area and cover an area of just about 20 hectares now, in mainly in the municipality of La Morra, as well as newer plots in Serralunga and Monforte d’Alba, all prime spots, with this wine coming from their own Brandini Cru (R56) that has great southern exposure and high elevation influence, giving their wines a prestigious terroir backbone. This R56 saw a maceration on the skins for a full month and got frequent hand pump-overs to maximize a gentle extraction, but still allowing for the distinct lighter garnet/orangey hue and structural grip. The aging is done, as noted, in large oak barrels, lasting for 30 months, which is followed by close to eight months in bottle before release.

The Agricola Brandini La Morra Estate, as noted in my prior review, is owned by Piero Bagnasco and run by his daughters, Giovanna and Serena, it is a new producer for me and in fact they are a pretty recent venture, just starting back in 2007, they have a tiny collection of prime Barolo vines and I found the wines to be beautifully made and very exciting. It was nice to meet Giovanna at the Slow Wine tasting event in San Francisco and learn about her wines, especially her cru Annunziata Barolo and the R56 Barolo, which made my top ten Nebbiolo(s) list of the Slow Wine tour in the City (SF) and of which I really admired for it’s elegance and exceptional length. Agricola Brandini La Morra uses the phrase “Organic Human Barolo” to describe its wines, as all of their vineyards are certified organic, hand tended and their wines are traditionally hand crafted, with their Barolo being aged in large, used oak casks with minimal intervention and only minimal amounts of added sulfur at bottling. The grapes come from high elevation parcels, 450 meters up in some sites, which is amongst the highest-altitude vines in the Barolo zone all set on the classic clay and limestone marl soils, which all contribute to the wines quality and character. The color of the wines, as noted above, in particular their Annunziata, which I reviewed earlier and this R56 Barolo, were as Nebbiolo as it gets with those slightly orangey/bricky edges with a bright ruby core. Bradini does a number of other wines from Barbera, Arneis and Moscato, including a series of Champagne style Alta Langhe sparkling wines that I look forward to trying in the future. I was deeply impressed with Brandini’s 2017s, at this point, the aromas were inviting and very enchanting indeed, as was, the long finish, making for seriously seductive Barolo, this is a winery to follow and this signature R56 bottling, the single vineyard Brandini, in La Morra, should be one to search out.
($125 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive

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