2015 Brangero, Barolo DOCG, Monvigliero Cru, Piemonte, Italy.
The ripe and richly flavored Monvigliero Barolo by Marco Brangero is a lush and concentrated example of pure Nebbiolo, but as fruit forward as this vintage is there is a solid underpinning of tannin and nice acidity which makes this expressive Barolo easy to love in its youth and gives it a finely balanced form in the glass, though you’d be best rewarded to have this with meaty and robust cuisine to unleash the very best here. The Monvigliero cru is set on chalky soils, which are known as Marne tufacee bianche in Italian, with Brangero focusing on sustainable farming and getting perfectly ripe Nebbiolo grapes back to the cellars that showcase the terroir and complexity of the individual vintage, as this 2015 does. The full bodied palate of Brangero’s dark ruby/garnet and orange tinted Monvigliero reveals traditional layers of brandied cherry, plum, strawberry and currant fruits along with minty herbs, crushed flowers, earthy licorice, grilled orange rind and aged cedar notes. The vintage has a warm feel and the impression of lushness or baby fat still, which is starting to give way to a more mature form and should continue to tone down over the next few years, though it should remain very drinkable and eager to please, unlike more serious vintages like 2010 or 2016 (that are long term agers) and more like 2017, this is definitely a wine to please a crowd and maybe not one to bury in the cellar. This 2015 Monvigliero will be an excellent wine to pair with Fall and Winter cuisine, it certainly has what it takes to be the centerpiece of any hearty meal, especially lamb and other meaty dishes and or with woodsy wild mushrooms.
The family-run Brangero farm, which was a new winery for me, this year, is located in Diano d’Alba, on the highest part of the hill in front of the town, an area that enjoys picturesque views of the Langhe hills, the beautiful town of Alba, and the beautiful vines that surround this property. Brangero also has property in Liguria, where they do some excellent Pigato, under their La Ginestraia label, which I reviewed here at Grapelive.com in recent months. It should be mentioned, somewhat surprisingly, their single vineyard Sori Cascina Rabina Soprano Dolcetto just might be their biggest star in their collection and the 2016 is a fabulous example of why that is. The Brangeros also make a full range of classic wines here in Piedmonte, including very good Barbera d’Alba, Nebbiolo d’Alba, Langhe Rosso, Langhe Chardonnay and Langhe Arneis, as well as two flagship Barolo bottlings, including this from the exceptional Monvigliero cru, one of Barolo’s top sites. For their signature Barolo the Nebbiolo grapes were carefully sorted in the vineyard and in the winery before being 100% de-stemmed, it saw a long fully extracted maceration and fermentation in stainless, with a 40 day submerged cap and pump-over regime, after which the selected Monvigliero wine was pressed and racked to once filled used French oak casks where it rested 30 months in the wood. Brangero then does the final blend in tank and bottles the seperate Barolo offerings, then they are held in the cellar another 6 months to a year, this Monvigliero is usually released no sooner than 4 years after its harvest. I have really enjoyed these Brangero and La Ginestraia offerings, with their Dolcetto, as mentioned above, being my favorite so far!
($48 Est.) 91 Points, grapelive