Owned by husband and wife Franco Bianco and Gabriella Burlotto, the lush Castello di Verduno estate (which includes a hotel, restaurant and agriturismo) produces an impressive range of some of Piedmont’s best-known wines. Famed for their Barolo and Barbaresco, the family possesses some of the region’s best growing sites, with holdings in some of its top crus.
More accessible than Barolo or Barbaresco, the fresh and fragrant Barbera d’Alba and Dolcetto d’Alba represent two of the most consumed wines in Piedmont. Gifted enologist Mario Andrion produces clean, expressive wines with a definite nod toward the traditional.
Lesser-known to American consumers is the rare Pelaverga, a variety indigenous to the area around Verduno near Alba. This year, in addition to the popular spicy red Basadone, Vino has added Bellis Perennis to its selection, made from 100% Pelaverga vinified white!
Pelaverga Bellis Perennis NV
was $25, now $20
Lovers of Castello di Verduno’s seductive Pelaverga Basadone may be curious to try Bellis Perennis: made from 100% Pelaverga Piccolo the wine is vinified white yet no less romantic. A delicate fermentation process results in a delightfully fresh wine, ideally enjoyed as a summer aperitivo. “Bellis Perennis” is the botanical name for the daisy depicted on the wine’s label.
Verduno Pelaverga Basadone 2007
was $25, now $20
The tiny Verduno or Verduno Pelaverga appellation is perhaps Italy’s smallest: the wine is made from the rare Pelaverga grape exclusively in the hamlet of Verduno. Spicy and aromatic, locals believe that this excellent food-pairing wine possesses aphrodisiacal properties, hence the name Basadone or baciadonne in Italian, the “lady kisser.”
Dolcetto d’Alba Campot 2008
was $24, now $19.20
Named after the Dolcetto vineyard in Barbaresco, Campot is a dialectal term referring to the site’s beneficial position high on the hilltop, where sunlight and excellent drainage allow for a richly colorful and velvety wine.
Barbera d’Alba 2007
was $28, now $22.40
Aged in oak for just three months, Castello di Verduno’s Barbera d’Alba is young and fruity yet still carries all the hallmarks of this famous piemontese variety. A mild winter in 2007 led to early bud break and faster ripening, which meant the grapes were picked a week earlier than usual, resulting in a more fragrant, elegant wine.
was $52, now $41.60
Castello di Verduno’s classic Barbaresco is blended from two of the zone’s most famous and coveted vineyards, Rabaja and Faset, both known for their longevity and their distinct earthiness. Low-yields and minimalist intervention in the cellar create a traditional-style Barbaresco with impressive aging potential and classic tar and rose petal flavors.
Barbaresco Rabaja 2003
was $65, now $52
Rabaja is one of the classic crus of the commune of Barbaresco. The Bianco family have owned land there for generations and made elegantly-structured and aromatic wines alongside such luminaries as Alfredo Currado, Aldo Vacca and Bruno Rocca. When Franco Bianco married Gabriella Burlotto and folded his family’s holdings into the Castello di Verduno estate he added two magnificent vineyards, Rabaja and Faset, to a collection that held the two important Barolo vineyards, Massara and Monvigliero.
Barolo Massara 2003
was $75, now $60
Castello di Verduno’s Barolo Massara is sourced from one of the great “crus” or vineyards of Barolo, Massara. Locals call the site “a sorì d’la matin”, meaning an ideal site that benefits from sunlight in the morning. As a result of the eastern exposure, the grapes sourced from this historic vineyard cool off during the afternoon and can ripen properly even in overly hot summers.
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