2013 Seghesio Barolo
|When sharecropping ended in Piedmont in 1965, Papà Riccardo Seghesio (no relation to the California Zin producer) had a chance to buy a small plot of vines right down from the little church in Monforte d’Alba Barolo. For many years he and his sons tended these Nebbiolo vines, selling the fruit off to the local cooperative, as Papà would have done under the old system. When Papà retired, his sons Aldo and Riccardo Jr. started producing their own domaine Barolo.
Papà and Aldo have since passed, and now Riccardo Jr. (although nobody calls him that) is an old man. An old man, but still making the Wine of Kings: Barolo.
He’s the kind of farmer whose hands are as big as lobster claws and who looks at you funny if you ask for a tour, although he’ll give you one – he’ll step out onto the dirt driveway and point to the church and the long slope down from it: “C’è Nebbiolo.” Then he’ll walk you inside to the garage-like cellar and taste you on the new wines: “Barolo.”
He’s not a lonely man – how could you be when surrounded by Barolo? His nephews Marco and Sandro come by to help with the agriculture, and his niece Michela now handles the business side. And instead of a tour, what you really want is to be invited to Sunday dinner, when Michela makes her meat lasagna and Riccardo plays the game of “taste, and guess which vintage.” Now that is a good evening!
Riccardo is also not the kind of farmer who keeps up with the times. His wines are traditional Monforte Barolo – stern, powerful, perfumed, silky, elegant and noble all at the same time. The ’12 vintage is ready to drink now, but will certainly last another decade. And his prices… we’ll, he believes in an honest day’s work, and not in keeping up with his high-flying neighbors.
To sum it up – this is exactly the Barolo you want. The 2012 opens with a glorious expression of Garnet and Bing cherries, black tea, roasted hazelnuts, pomelo oranges and laurel and balm. The palate is classic, traditional Barolo: like a father who loves you deeply, but expresses physically instead of vocally, this Barolo wraps you in a blanket of rich tannins, completely saturating the palate with unsparing warmth and tenderness. It is massive and muscular, with great reserves of power for the years to come.
I realize that mid-summer is probably not the best time to be selling Big Red Wine, yet this is when the wine came, and as any farmer in Piedmont will tell you, making wine is an extremely cash-poor business, no more so in Barolo where so much inventory is tied up in the physical assets – the land and its maturing wine. We get as close as we can to directly importing Riccardo Seghesio’s Barolos, and part of the deal is paying when we get them. So here it is, our midsummer Barolo.
I’ll drink Barolo anytime, and so should you. But if you need to wait, don’t worry, the Barolos will understand (as long as you buy some). Stash some away in your cellar for that first cool fall night, and then make yourself some lasagna to celebrate the passing of the vintage – with a bottle of Barolo.