2017 Vietti, Barolo DOCG, Castiglione, Piedmonte, Italy.
While all the talk is about the top cru 2016s, the 2017 Vietti Castiglione Barolo has quietly snuck on the scene and it is a lovely and expressive wine that can be enjoyed in its youth with a smooth tannic structure and ripe and lush fruit. The vintage was very warm and the yields were down, so there is a silky form here, but this is still a classically proportioned Barolo with a serious backbone underneath the luxurious fruit. The palate is full and dense with pure Nebbiolo charm showing macerated cherry, briery raspberry, plum and earthy mulberry fruits along with a touch of tar, black licorice, cedar, rose petal florals, crushed chalk rock, minty herbs and a lingering sweetness of the red fruits. There is plenty of value here in this 2017 and it performs exceptionally when food is involved, I was impressed with this vintage more than I initially thought, it opened up fabulously well and went superb with grilled steak and also a mix of hard cheeses, it is a very composed effort by the talented team at Vietti, led by Luca Currado. The grapes for the Barolo DOCG Castiglione are sourced from some serious lieu-dit vineyards in the Barolo region with a selection of vines between 10 and 43 years old and set on the famous clay and limestone soils. The Vietti parcels are farmed for quality with an average density of 4,500 vines per hectare that reduces the yields to maximize concentration. For this bottling, all the different single vineyard blocks are vinified and aged separately with slightly different processes, as the winery says, to highlight the typical characteristics of each “terroir”. The Vietti Barolo was aged for about 30 months in a mix of large oak casks and smaller barriques before all of the selections are finally chosen to be blended together.

The Vietti winery, as noted recently, is located in Castiglione Falletto of famous Barolo area of the Cuneo province, and it was founded in the late 1800’s by Carlo Vietti. The estate has gradually grown over the years to include some of the most highly-prized terroirs in Piedmonte. While influential in the local area and have been making wine for four generations, this label only came of age in the 1960’s when Luciana Vietti married winemaker and art connoisseur Alfredo Currado, who was one of the first to bottle a Rocche di Castiglione cru Barolo back in 1961, as well as to produce a single-varietal Arneis in 1967, along with the introduction of an Artist Label in the early 1970s. These wines and packaging made him a legend and his efforts were of some of the most significant innovations of the era. His legacy lives on here, and Luca Currado, who has contributed even more to the success of Vietti in recent years making it an iconic label of quality, his set of Barolo wines are some of the most collectable and desirable wines in the world, especially his Lazzarito and Rocche di Castiglione Barolo(s), but you find quality throughout his collection, with this also being a standout. In 2016 the historic winery was acquired by Krause Holdings, which has given Luca and his Elena a free hand to run Vietti brand, and to add a number of prized crus to the estate’s holdings, so the future here is secure and allows them the resources to reach new levels of greatness. This 2017 highlights the craftsmanship and care Luca Currado puts into these wines, it delivers clarity, complexity and elegance in the glass, it is an impeccable Nebbiolo that is already drinking well and it has the potential to maybe give a bit more with another couple of years in bottle, even though it offers immediate pleasure that is pretty much guilt free for the quality on offer, it is a nice alternative to Burgundies in the price range.
($60 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive

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