• The Main Event: Vietti Cru Baroli

    The Main Event: Vietti Cru Baroli

    Vietti's Luca Currado works tirelessly to continually improve the quality of his wines and Barolo's reputation as a whole, and the 2018 vintage proved no different. Antonio Galloni wrote in his 2018 Barolo report how this was "the most erratic, frustratingly inconsistent Barolo vintage" that he has encountered in his career. Still, Vietti's Baroli were standouts from the region, and the 2018 Castiglione, Lazzarito, and Ravera earned glowing reviews, as you'll see below.

    Aside from being a banner year in Piedmont, 2013 cemented a shift in Currado's philosophy—now, the Baroli lineup is nearly exclusively aged in large format botti as opposed to small French barrique. (The Ravera was the first bottling to undergo this change in 2010, and the powerful Villero was the last in the range to do so in 2013).

    Many consider Vietti to have one foot in the traditional camp and one foot in the modern camp. In addition to aging in botti, the Baroli see long skin macerations (a requisite for the traditional category). If one aspect leans modern, it's their vineyard work, which is about keeping yields low and doing everything in their power by natural means to push ripeness higher.

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    Posted by Max Kogod
  • California's Calling: 2020 Domaine de la Côte

    California's Calling: 2020 Domaine de la Côte

    "Sashi Moorman and Rajat Parr turned out a memorable set of Pinots at Domaine de la Côte... They show all of the concentration of the 2020 vintage and yet are so expressive of site." — Antonio Galloni, Vinous

    Burgundy is the backbone of our selection, and when I turn our supporters toward California, this is the first destination for top-grade, terroir-driven Pinot Noir. It's here where Pacific Ocean-influenced conditions lead us to what might be the most marginal, Burgundian conditions in our state.

    I'm inclined to compare this extreme hill to the Côte de Nuits over the Côte de Beaune traits typically found in Santa Barbara's inland terrain. Like Gevrey Chambertin and Morey-Saint-Denis, Sta. Rita Hills has darker fruit expression, deeper structure, and fascinating depth and complexity. The juxtaposition between sweet and savory spices is simply unique to this setting.

    Sashi Moorman and Raj Parr walk the walk when it comes to viticulture. These are wines with intense concentration due to dense planting (4,000 to 7,000 vines per acre) and small yields. The diatomaceous soils from a 25 million-year-old seabed define this wind-battered slope seven miles off the Pacific.

    From day one, Sashi and Raj have intended to produce wines they want to drink. A large percentage of whole clusters are used here for fermentation, and extraction levels are moderate, only to give regal framing and backbone to the wines still characterized by purity and transparency of site.

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    Posted by Max Kogod