2018 Gian Luca Colombo, Nebbiolo d’Alba DOC, Piedmonte, Italy.
Not to be confused with Jean-Luc Colombo of Cornas (Rhone) fame, Gian Luca Colombo is an excellent youthful viticoltore in Piedmonte who specializes on Nebbiolo and Pinot Nero, with some knock out wines under his belt, like this beautiful baby Barolo from the exceptional 2018 vintage. Colombo, new name for me, is a consultant for several producers in the Langhe and winner of the Gambelli Award for Best Young Italian Oenologist in 2014. Impressive, more so after I tasted his 2018 Nebbiolo d’Alba, which could easily be mistaken for a wine costing twice the price, as it delivers a very structured and serious medium to full bodied palate of classic Nebbiolo character. There’s a lot to admire here with layers of black cherry, damson plum, strawberry and mulberry fruits flowing precisely in the mouth with a dusting of spices, herbs and floral details adding nice accents along the way, touches of earth, licorice, lavender, cedar and mineral become more visible with air. This wine, 100% Nebbiolo, coming from classic marls (limestone and clay) and chalky soils saw fermentation in stainless steel tank, with a long cool maceration lasting between with a year of aging intriguingly in a combination of used Austrian oak casks and ancient style amphora. This pretty ruby hued and well crafted Nebbiolo d’Alba is seductive stuff, it is drinking great now, but easily can go a decade more in bottle.
Gian Luca Colombo, who is being touted as, A rising star in Piedmont, and already an award winning oenologist, who from a young age had a passion and skill in winemaking grew up in the Langhe and spent 11 years studying wine and completed his Masters in Viticulture and Oenology. After which is he travelled throughout Italy consulting before coming home in 2011 to a set up his own winery, that is located in Roddi, Segni di Langa with just 4 hectares of vines. I have learned, Gian Luca, who cultivates using only sustainable practices and has been working towards full organic and biodynamic certification, started just making his Pinot Nero (Pinot Noir), and That impressively he received a prize for Top Italian Pinot Noir in his very first vintage! That seems like a wine I’d also like to try, considering how good this wine is! Interesting too, is that he then started his efforts with Nebbiolo, in addition to his Pinot Noir, and in 2014 he received the mentioned, Gambelli award for the Young Winemaker of the Year. Gian Luca takes a minimal intervention approach to his winemaking, looking for purity and transparency, all of his wines are bottled without filtration or clarification. This Nebbiolo vineyard is located in Barolo, in the Langhe hills, not far away from the renowned cru site Monvigliero, that helps give this wine its class, terroir and substance, I highly recommend this 2018 and look forward to trying more from this talented producer.
($40 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive