Silvio Giamello’s minuscule production numbers and reserved demeanor ensure that his wines stay under the radar. He is a vignaiolo in the truest sense of the term, a farmer whose work in the cellar relies solely on patience, tasting, and the wisdom passed down from previous generations. This entails natural fermentations, aging the wines in botti grandi (oak casks), and bottling them unfiltered. The sunny 2015 vintage gave notably rich wines with aromas of ripe fruit, but some aeration quickly reveals the delicacy and floral notes we love in great Barbaresco—trademarks from this humble master.
Like most families in the Langhe, the Giamellos started out with a polyculture estate that included various small parcels. The bulk of the grape harvest was sold off, but the family made enough wine for their own consumption. This system continued until the 1950s, when farm life became less profitable and many left to find work in the cities. When the economy improved in the '70s, Luigi Giamello was able to return to the domaine, focusing more on wine production and eventually passing the reins to his son and daughter-in-law, Silvio and Marina Camia. This fourth generation continues to make wine the only way they can imagine: all vineyard work is natural and chemical-free, and the vinification techniques are purely traditional.
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.
Every three or four months I would send my clients a cheaply made list of my inventory, but it began to dawn on me that business did not pick up afterwards. It occurred to me that my clientele might not know what Château Grillet is, either. One month in 1974 I had an especially esoteric collection of wines arriving, so I decided to put a short explanation about each wine into my price list, to try and let my clients know what to expect when they uncorked a bottle. The day after I mailed that brochure, people showed up at the shop, and that is how these little propaganda pieces for fine wine were born.—Kermit Lynch
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