Assuming full direction of a Barolo estate at the tender age of twenty-four is an incredibly daunting prospect, but for Giulia Negri, the latest in a 150-year line of grape growers in the Langhe commune of La Morra, the challenge proved irresistible. Upon completing her studies and taking an inspiring trip to Burgundy that sparked her passion for fine wine, Giulia returned to the family estate motivated to learn all the secrets of the craft in her native Piemonte. She started small, releasing micro-cuvées under her own label, before taking over the totality of vineyard management and production in 2014. In the heart of the Serradenari cru of La Morra—the highest point in the Barolo zone, with vineyards culminating at 536 meters above sea level—Giulia passionately pursues her goal of crafting Barolo with a Burgundian sensibility. She even inherited small parcels of Chardonnay and Pinot Nero that her father planted on the estate’s cooler, north-facing sites, allowing her to pay tribute to the great wines of the Côte d’Or through the lens of Piemontese soil. After her inaugural trip to Burgundy, Giulia returned no fewer than seven times over the ensuing year! Her in-depth study of the region gave her the tools to pay homage to its wines with a Pinot Nero of her own. Bright and chiseled, it offers lovely wild berry fruit and the fresh, earthy, signature common to Piemontese reds.
In the heart of the Serradenari cru of La Morra—the highest point in the Barolo zone, with vineyards culminating at 536 meters above sea level—Giulia passionately pursues her goal of crafting Barolo with a Burgundian sensibility. In fact, she even inherited small parcels of Chardonnay and Pinot Nero that her father planted on the estate’s cooler, north-facing sites, allowing her to pay tribute to the great wines of the Côte d’Or through the lens of Piemontese soil. But Nebbiolo reigns in these parts, and Serradenari yields a Barolo of regal pedigree. The elevation, coupled with a complex mosaic of soils unique to this part of the Langhe, sets the stage for Giulia to create Barolos marrying delicate floral aromas and elegant fruit with a deep mineral foundation. With fine-grained, tightly knit tannins, her seductive wines charm in their youth but have the structure for serious bottle aging.
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.
I want you to realize once and for all: Even the winemaker does not know what aging is going to do to a new vintage; Robert Parker does not know; I do not know. We all make educated (hopefully) guesses about what the future will bring, but guesses they are. And one of the pleasures of a wine cellar is the opportunity it provides for you to witness the evolution of your various selections. Living wines have ups and downs just as people do, periods of glory and dog days, too. If wine did not remind me of real life, I would not care about it so much.
Inspiring Thirst, page 171
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