2018 Vietti, Barbera d’Alba DOC “Vigna Scarrone” Piedmonte, Italy.
This ripe and full bodied Vigna Scarrone Barbera is a serious wine that will convince you, if you not already a Barbera lover to become one with a deep saturated color and surprising depth filled with dark berry fruit, a dusting of fine spices, heady floral notes, hedonistic textural richness and thrilling length. The grapes for Vietti’s gorgeous Scarrone Barbera are grown in asingle steep terraced vineyard in Castiglione Falletto, the Barolo cru. These vines, the winery notes, were planted in 1989 and set on ancient marl soils, which is a combination of clay and limestone. Vietti’s superstar winemaker Luca Currado, who’s latest wines are some of the greatest in the Piedmonte, if not all of Italy, has created a special wine here, it is one of the best expression of Barbera I’ve tried, comparing well with my favorite La Spinetta Gallina bottling. The grapes saw a short period of cold-maceration, then fermented in open stainless-steel tanks for about two weeks at cool temperatures with frequent remontage and délestages, which are punch downs and pumpovers, that Currado explains is to achieve a perfect level extraction of color and tannins. This vintage, a warm one, adds to the instant and heightened pleasure on the palate with blackberry, juicy plum and currant fruits leading the way along with hints of chalk stones, sandalwood, sprigs of wild herbs, tarry anise, kirsch and a peony porporri. To promote purity and suppleness the Scarrone Barbera was raised 18 months in various vessels, including large oak casks, small barriques and steel tanks, making for an impactful wine that highlights the studied approach taken to made it, this is Barbera at its best.

The Vietti winery 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. The Vietti Scarrone Barbera d’Alba is a perfect reflection of its terroir and is well worth the price, with this 2017 being an outstanding effort, inviting in the glass now and one that has potential to age another decade. The winery suggests it will be rewarding with hearty stews, pasta dishes and or poultry with rich sauces, game birds, as well as roasted meats and sharp cheeses, all of which makes me want more of this stuff.
($48 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive

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