From: Piemonte, Italy
Taste: This classic Barolo opens with aromas of woodland berries, new leather, intense balsamic notes, and a refreshing hint of menthol. This captivating bouquet is complemented by heady aromas of blue flower, perfumed berry, balsamic herb, fennel, and sandalwood that waft out of the glass. On the palate, this Barolo effortlessly melds juicy red cherry, herbs, sweet spices, and mineral notes together. The texture is smooth and silky (with about an hour of decanting), with velvety tannins that envelop the palate, while the brisk acidity maintains a well-balanced structure. Nuances of raspberry compote and licorice add a delightful complexity, while subtle salty mineral notes further enhance the flavor depth. The finish is lengthy and elegant, leaving a lingering memory of the wine's refined character.
Pairing: It marries particularly well with rich meat dishes, making it an ideal companion to slow-roasted beef, wild game, or a traditional Italian Osso Buco (see below for recipe). Its balanced acidity and pronounced tannins also make it an excellent match for fatty foods, cutting through the richness of dishes like foie gras or duck confit. In the spirit of its Piedmontese roots, this Barolo would also pair beautifully with truffle-based dishes. The earthy, umami flavors of truffle risotto or truffle-infused pasta would complement the wine's fruit and spice profile and harmonize with its structured complexity.
Osso Buco Alla Milanese
By Florence Fabricant
About. In the heart of Piemonte, Italy, we find a treasure—Burlotto, the flagship producer from Barolo’s Verduno area. This property, founded in 1850 by the commendable Giovan Battista Burlotto, is a testament to historic importance, delicious wines, and exceptional value.
The Burlotto estate commemorates the royal house of Savoy’s appreciation for its wines through its labels, paying homage to the exclusive presence of Burlotto wines on Duke Luigi Amedeo's 1899 North Pole expedition. A testament to the wine's resilience and quality, Duke Amedeo wrote that “[t]he wine has been conserved in perfect condition,” despite his personal hardship of losing two fingers to frostbite. G.B. Burlotto was not just a winemaker but a pioneer, heralding the practice of selling wine in bottle and championing the now-rare, yet delicious grape, Pelaverga Piccolo.
Carrying on this rich legacy, G.B.’s great-great-nephew, Fabio Alessandria, continues to uphold the traditional winemaking practices of the estate, including fermenting the wine in upright wooden vats and using indigenous yeast. There's much to admire about these wines—their historical context, their pure fruit, delicate structure, and signature Verduno floral aromatics and spicy palate.
The Burlotto family's single-vineyard Barolos, especially the Monvigliero, have received wide acclaim and remain favorites among critics and collectors. Yet, their mastery doesn't stop with Nebbiolo; the estate also produces exceptional wines from Piedmont's more humble grapes, such as Dolcetto, Barbera, and of course, Pelaverga. These wines offer a glimpse into the unique charms of these grape varieties, offering terroir transparency and sheer drinkability that's surprisingly affordable for such top-rank wines.
The Classic 2018 Comm. G.B. Burlotto Barolo
"Ornament is a crime," proclaimed Adolf Loos. And in keeping with this maxim, the 2018 Comm. G.B. Burlotto Barolo stands as a classic—sober, rigorous, dynamic, and firmly rooted in its land's aura. As the wine transcends the unnecessary embellishments and aims for harmony and proportion, it persuasively reveals the secret power of Verduno.
Verduno, the northernmost municipality of the Barolo area, boasts soils formed between the Tortonian and Messinian geological eras. These calcareous soils, balanced with clay, sand, and silt, allow for excellent water retention. This Barolo arises from the traditional practice of assembling several vineyards, which imparts a dynamic character to the wine.
The harvest, done by hand to preserve the integrity of the fruit, utilizes small 20 kg boxes to transport the grapes to the cellar. The fermentation process, carried out in open French oak vats, includes careful pumping over and punching down to extract color, flavors, and tannins from the grapes. Large French oak barrels are used for the malolactic fermentation, with a maturation period of 20 to 33 months depending on the vintage.
Made from a blend of top vineyard sites in Verduno, this balanced Barolo offers tantalizing aromas of blue flower, perfumed berry, balsamic herb, and sandalwood, all wrapped in a stunning red hue. The palate presents juicy red cherry, raspberry compote, licorice, and mineral notes that impart depth and flavor. Refined tannins provide the perfect framework while bright acidity imparts incredible energy, making this wine a joy to drink from 2024 to 2033.
With a Wine Enthusiast rating of 97 points and a Wine Advocate score of 94 points, the 2018 Comm. G.B. Burlotto Barolo is both accessible and distinct, making a bolder imprint on the senses compared to past vintages. This Barolo is a testament to the Burlotto family's enduring commitment to the land and the craft of winemaking, creating a true classic that leaves an indelible mark on the world of wine.
At the heart of every sip, one finds the enduring legacy of the Burlotto family and the visionary work of Commendatore Giovan Battista Burlotto. He envisioned a quality that could only be achieved with primary value grapes and transformed this dream into a reality that continues to charm wine enthusiasts worldwide. The 2018 Comm. G.B. Burlotto Barolo is not just a wine—it's an invitation to savor the rich history and undeniable expertise of an iconic Italian winemaker.
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