We have a $12 Languedoc red on page 2 for you this month, and here is its Italian counterpart. I am bowled over by the eucalyptus and mint aromatics, black cherry fruit, and dusting of tannins. If you have a tasting group, grab a few Nebbiolos of varying pedigree and toss this bottle into the mix—it might just be the wine of the night (and that will be before revealing the retail price).
You’re not alone if you don’t recognize the Bramaterra name. Calling its location “off the beaten path” is an understatement—it’s more than seventy miles north of Alba, in the foothills of the Alps. The Alps assert a prominent influence on this corner of Piedmont, providing cooling mountain winds, but what most sets Bramaterra apart from Barolo or Barbaresco is that, traditionally, small amounts of Croatina and Vespolina are blended to soften the tannic tendencies of the predominant Nebbiolo. Matteo Baldin’s goal is to make that traditional style, which to him means crafting a wine with elegance. That’s what we have in his 2014 vintage. It offers a tight-knit focus, good acidity, and enough tannin, with rose-petal aromas. Decant for an hour or two, keep the wine slightly cool, and you’ll have a transcendent pairing with any hearty meat you throw on the grill.
It seems the Fantino brothers can do no wrong—they’ve created another masterpiece with this Riserva. Aged for five years in large botti, the 2013 is simply gorgeous. It strikes that perfect balance of tasting great now but still having the structure to age. I recommend that you pick up six to twelve bottles, treat yourself to a few now, and enjoy the others as they develop over the next ten years.
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