Saturday, February 4, 2017

The Land and Soul of Ceretto

It’s an exciting month for our Italian Food, Wine & Travel group as we explore nebbiolo throughout all regions of Italy.  The name nebbiolo is derived from the Piemontese word for nebbia, meaning fog.  It derives from the fog that comes down from the mountains and roles over the Po Valley helping with the ripening of these grapes.  

Where to find Nebbiolo?
Many are familiar with this fantastic grape via the wines of Barolo and Barberesco, but you can find it outside southern Piedmont including Lombardia where it's known as chiavennasca in the valtellina area and the Valle d’Aosta region in northwestern Italy.  It’s also found in northern Piedmont in the areas of Gattinara and Ghemme where it’s known as spanna.  Of course it takes own its own character depending upon where it is produced and this is what our group will share with you today.

Barbaresco with Ceretto
Today I chose to stay within southern Piedmont in Barbaresco since I haven’t written about this region in some time and I recently had a 2012 Ceretto Barbaresco I wanted to share.  I’ve written about nebbiolo and it’s different forms previously when I wrote about the differences between nebbiolo from northern and southern Piedmont and I’ve shared tidbits throughout time over nebbiolo from other regions that you'll find on my site.

The Ceretto brand was established back in the 1930's when Riccardo Ceretto began producing wine in Alba.  His sons, Marcello and Bruno, took over the business in the 60's and really began to take it up a notch.  They were purchasing grapes for about 15 years from local owners of parcels of land that they wanted to get their hands on.  Land opportunities becoming available for purchase is like finding gold in Italy, especially this area.  Their father, Riccardo, didn't believe in purchasing land as he didn't feel anyone gets rich off the soil and he was so used to purchasing grapes himself.  The sons waited and waited until the opportunity was available to purchase some cru land in the Roero and Langhe.  This was a turning point for the Ceretto family being able to own and have complete control over tending to the vineyards.  Today, the winery's vision is carried on by the 3rd generation of the Ceretto family that took over in 1999.
Ceretto winery in Piedmont
3rd generation of the Ceretto family
This area that Ceretto is located in, known as the Langhe in southern Italy, is warmer with lots of sunlight and clay soil that aids in producing wines that are big and bold with ripe fruit and higher alcohol.  In 2015 the areas of the Langhe, Roero and Monferrato were recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  Also in 2015 the Ceretto estate became organically certified and their barolo and barbaresco wines became produced biodynamically.  The goal is to eventually make all 160 hectacres of estate owned vineyard both organic and biodynamically produced.
Tenuta Monsordo Bernardina
The Tenuta Monsordo Bernardina. What a view!
2012 Ceretto Barbaresco
The 2012 Ceretto Barbaresco wine I tasted I actually preferred over their barolo.  This wine was originally their top wine also know as Barbaresco Asij until the sons purchased the single-vineyard cru sites. Today their single vineyard wines are Barbaresco Asili and Barbaresco Bernadot.  I don't have the experience trying these yet, but would love to.  Who wouldn't?!  The Ceretto Barbaresco is produced from their estate in Monsordo Bernardina in Alba.  Part of the grapes are sourced from the Asili and Treiso areas of the Ceretto estates.  Ruby red in color this wine was full of dried cherries on the nose followed by ripe fruit on the palate with integrated tannins along with some vanilla and spice and a lengthy finish. It's aged 24 months in barriques and 6 months in the bottle.  SRP $49.99
Monsordo Bernardina wine cellar
Monsordo Bernardina wine cellar

If you’re curious about nebbiolo produced in Barolo and Barbaresco I have written about the differences between Barolo and Barbaresco previously as well.

Don't just stop there. If you're a nebbiolo lover you're in for a treat.  Here are my fellow wine bloggers sharing their love for nebbiolo.  If you catch this in time you can join us live on Twitter Saturday February 4th 11am EST at #ItalianFWT to chat live with us.
  • Jill from L’occasion shares The Test in Life is Unity: G. D. Vajra Langhe Nebbiolo
  • Susannah from Avvinare shares Discover Off the Beaten Path Nebbiolos from the Caluso, Carema and Canavese
  • Lauren from The Swirling Dervish shares 2015 Cantalupo “Il Mimo” Rosato Nebbiolo
  • Camilla from Culinary Adventures with Camilla shares Zuppa di Cipolla al Vino Rosso + Bava’s “Gionson” Nebbiolo
  • Mike from Undiscovered Italy shares Let’s Go Grumello
  • Gwen from Wine Predator shares Silver and Gold: Nebbiolo from Santa Barbara and Italy
  • Jeff from FoodWineClick! shares Nebbiolo Grows On My Desert Island

*All pictures copyright of Ceretto.

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