Silvio and Marina Giamello make fewer than a thousand cases of wine each year, and the care that goes into them is obvious upon opening this bottle. A beautiful, old-world garnet color is pleasure for the eyes, and the soul, character, and complexity of this textured Nebbiolo fills the mouth with flavors as delicate as rose petals. Marina calls the 2017 “very young,” with a tannin and acidity that pair seamlessly with their typically Piemontese Sunday dessert, bonet. “It is not particularly sweet,” she says of the pudding made with cocoa and amaretti cookies. “And in our family we add two little spoonfuls of rum.”
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 twelve 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.
Trust the great winemakers, trust the great vineyards. Your wine merchant might even be trustworthy. In the long run, that vintage strip may be the least important guide to quality on your bottle of wine.—Kermit Lynch
Drinking distilled spirits, beer, coolers, wine and other alcoholic beverages may increase cancer risk, and, during pregnancy, can cause birth defects. For more information go to www.P65Warnings.ca.gov/alcohol
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