The last one and a half centuries of the Abbona family is the typical life of the Langhe’s farmers. There were, first of all, sharecroppers, then they became small owners until the expansion occurred in the second half of the last century when they evolved and specialised in viticulture and wine production.
Since the 1990s the winery has been managed by Anna Maria Abbona who has contributed to its modernisation and technological development. Anna Maria, nevertheless, maintains the character and identity of the wines, respecting the tradition, the grapes and terroir.
The winery is located in Dogliani and is known for its high quality Dolcetto wine. Furthermore, the Abbona family also invested in vineyards in other Municipalities of Langhe, such as those acquired a few years ago in Bricco San Pietro in the Municipality of Monforte d’Alba, where Nebbiolo for Barolo is grown.
Bricco San Pietro is a windy and very sunny hill, located in the western area of Monforte d’Alba. The vineyard is classified as a Barolo Cru and extends for 170 hectares, representing the second largest in the Municipality, only preceded by Bussia. It is located at altitude between 250 and 520 metres above sea level.
The Anna Maria Abbona property covers an area of just under two hectares and is in the highest part of the vineyard with south-southeast exposure. The soil is mainly composed of Diano sandstones, tuff and limestone marl. Harvesting is manual and ventilated boxes are used. The vinification takes place in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks, where the must macerates with a submerged cap for about 30 days. After racking, the wine ages in large Slavonian barrels of 25 hectoliters.
At “Nebbiolo nel cuore” we tasted four vintages of Barolo Bricco San Pietro and below you will find the story.
Barolo Bricco San Pietro 2018
The winter lasted until early March, with below-average temperatures. Since the end of May, several rainfalls occurred, even if the floweringand the fruit set took place under optimal climatic conditions. The summer recorded high temperatures and stable weather, with the grapes ripening at the usual times and the Nebbiolo harvesting took place in mid-October.
The wine is of ruby red colour with garnet reflections and on the nose is rich and with a wide olfactory spectrum. We immediately detect hints of red fruit, blueberry, cherry, followed by notes of tobacco, oak and sweet spices finish. In the mouth the wine shows all its youthness. It is full-bodied, warm with high tannins, fresh and mineral. The wine has a long finish with licorice aftertaste.
Barolo Bricco San Pietro 2017
The 2017 vintage had a warm weather pattern and low rainfall. The mild winter was followed by a spring characterised by little rain and above-average temperatures, with early vegetative development. From May a long period of good weather lasted until the end of August, when the long-awaited rains allowed to partial rebalance of the vine water supply.
The wine is of a bright garnet colour with ruby reflections and on the nose has a triumph of aromas: notes of violet, ripe cherry, followed by more evolved hints of vanilla, cloves, licorice and mint. In the mouth it is full-bodied and balanced, warm with smooth tannins and a long balsamic tones finish. This wine is more ready compared to the previous sample.
Barolo Bricco San Pietro 2016
The 2016 vintage had a very long vegetative cycle. The mild temperatures of early winter were followed by heavy rainfall; this has favoured important water reserve for the vines. The late cold temperatures caused a vegetative and phenological delay that lasted until the end of the summer. The harvest took place in mid-October with an excellent quality grape. Yields were restrained and concentrated from the technological and phenolic point of view.
The wine has an intense garnet colour with ruby flashes. On the nose we immediately perceive floral hints of rose and violet that gradually leave room for blueberriy and black cherry. The wine then opens on tones of sweet spices, followed by forest fooor and licorice. In the mouth it is fresh, more austere than soft, with high silky tannin. This is a very young but elegant wine with a long lasting finish and an evident balsamic aftertaste.
Barolo Bricco San Pietro 2015
The winter snowfalls allowed an excellent water supply in the soils and the mild spring that followed resulted in a vegetative cycle characterised by a poor fruit set. Thanks to the water reserve stored. the above-average summer heat did not cause water stress for the plants. The 2015 vintage that can be defined as average with an excellent healthy grape production.
The wine has a shiny garnet colour, with ruby reflections, very similar to the previous sample. On the nose it shows a wide olfactory range with cherry and plum in evidence, then mineral notes, mushroom, forest floor and herbal tones in the finish. It is a full-bodied wine, and on the palate shows a beautiful freshness, smooth tannins despite not being fully balanced yet. Its long finish shows herbal tones.
I was surprised by the high average quality of these different vintages of Barolo, coming from a Cru that I had not tasted before. These wines combine the great terroir’s matrix with the Anna Maria Abbona’s excellent craft winemaking skills.