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.
Kermit’s love affair with the great reds of Piemonte dates back to the early days of his career: the very first container he imported from Italy, in fact, featured legendary 1971 and 1974 Barolos from Vietti and Aldo Conterno. Regular visits since then have seen our portfolio grow to now nine Piemontesi estates, with a strong focus on the rolling hills of the Langhe.
Nebbiolo rules these majestic, vine-covered marl slopes, giving Italy’s most mystifyingly complex, nuanced, and age-worthy reds. When crafted via traditional production methods—long macerations and extensive aging in enormous oak botti—the powerful, yet incredibly refined Barolos and Barbarescos provide haunting aromatics of tar, raspberry, incense, tea, roses, and more. At times austere in their youth but well worth the wait, they pair beautifully with the hearty local cuisine starring veal in many forms, braised beef, pastas like tajarin and agnolotti, and of course, Alba’s famous white truffles.
Surrounded by mountains on three sides, Piemonte’s climate is continental, with baking hot summers and cold winters. Nebbiolo is only part of the story here: juicy, fruity Barberas and Dolcettos represent the bread and butter throughout the region, and other native grapes like Freisa, Croatina, and the white Arneis are also noteworthy. Value abounds in the Monferrato, while Alto Piemonte also has its share of thrills to provide.
Every corner of Piemonte is rich with tradition, especially when wine is concerned. It’s no wonder we have been singing the region’s praises for over forty years.
Great winemakers, great terroirs, there is never any hurry. And I no longer buy into this idea of “peak” maturity. Great winemakers, great terroirs, their wines offer different pleasures at different ages.
Inspiring Thirst, page 312
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