San Fereolo

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Nicoletta Bocca has been the driving force at San Fereolo since she acquired the property in 1992, during which time she has mastered the terroir of her Valdibà subzone and completed the conversion to certified biodynamic (Demeter). We consider the estate to be among the greatest references for the terroir of Dogliani, which is located immediately south of Barolo in the Langhe. The Dogliani DOCG is home to some of the greatest Dolcetto vineyards in the Piemonte, and this appellation accounts for the majority of the estate’s 12 hectares under vine. The oldest Dolcetto vines were planted in 1936, while the youngest date back to 1978. The finest sources are destined for the flagship “San Fereolo” cuvée, while the balance of the Dolcetto vines comprise the “Valdibà” bottling. In addition to the Dolcetto holdings, San Fereolo has several important parcels of Barbera, which are assembled with a touch of Nebbiolo for a Langhe Rosso cuvée known as “Austri.” Rounding out the holdings are additional small Nebbiolo parcels, as well as an unusual north-facing plot of Riesling and Gewurztraminer immediately adjacent to the hilltop estate.

In the cellar, the white wine, which is a Langhe Bianco known as “Coste di Riavolo” sees a 5-day maceration, followed by spontaneous fermentation and 24 to 30 months in a variety of old barrels that range in size from 5hl to 25hl. An additional year in bottle precedes its release into the market. The “Valdibà” is classified as DOCG Dogliani and vinified completely in steel tank, following a 10-day maceration. It is bottled after roughly 12 months, then spends several more months in bottle before release. The only 100% Nebbiolo cuvee is the “Il Provinciale” Langhe Nebbiolo, which sees a full 30-day maceration in large wood vat before 2-3 years in large barrel. The wine is sourced in equal parts from a prime parcel in the heart of Serralunga d’Alba and a hillside plot in Dogliani.

Both the “San Fereolo” and “Austri” undergo 15-20 day macerations in large wood vats, followed by spontaneous fermentation without temperature control. If a vat approaches higher temperatures (33 degrees), the must is racked into tank to cool it down before being returned to the wood vat. An elevage of 3 years in large barrel precedes 3 to 4 years in bottle prior to release, thus the wines are not released for a full 8 years after harvest.

coste-del-riavolo Coste del Riavolo Langhe Bianco: The lone white of the estate is from a steeply-sloped, north-facing parcel just below the winery, an an elevation of 500 meters. It is 70% Riesling and 30% Gewurztraminer, which is co-fermented in a large wood vat after a 5-day maceration. After 24 to 30 months in a mix of large barrels, it spends a year in bottle. The resulting wine is rich in material and texture, with a freshness and acidity that speaks to both the dominant Riesling character and the mineral soil.
valdiba Valdiba Dogliani: A youthful expression of the Dogliani DOCG, the “Valdibà” is made all in steel cuve, which shows in the fresh brightness of the wine. Nicoletta considers this to be classical Dolcetto, striking all of the notes one would expect from the variety, with a confident tannic backbone.
2016 San Fereolo Dogliani “Vigne Dolci”: The vineyard’s high-altitude position (at 600 meters above sea level, it is Nicoletta’s highest) reveals itself in a lifted, invigoratingly pure nose of bright red fruits and sun-kissed stones. Whereas much Dolcetto is merely fruity and floral, an earth-tinged savory streak gives “Vigne Dolci” an extra aromatic dimension, and Nicoletta’s hands-off approach to the fermentation is evident in just the barest hint of volatility (a signature of her style) which lifts rather than dominates. Rocca Ciglie’s soils are lighter and sandier than the chalky clay of Valdiba, and “Vigne Dolci” has an aptly different textural profile: energetic and racy where Valdiba is brooding and intense; fresh where Valdiba is chewy. There are honest and snappy Dolcetto tannins, to be sure, but the overall impression is one of lift and purity. Nicoletta chose to vinify and age “Vigne Dolci” in stainless steel (albeit without temperature stabilization), thereby allowing the site’s exuberant personality to flourish. The 2016 “Vigne Dolci” is a gorgeous first effort very much in keeping with Nicoletta’s deeply personal style but showing a new face of both the variety and the grower, and it should prove fascinating to track this wine’s development over time
San Fereolo, “1593” Langhe Rosso: 1593 refers to the date of the first written documentation of Dolcetto in the archives of Dogliani.  It’s a fitting title, since Nicoletta Bocca has made it her life’s work to reveal this grape’s profound connection to her special zone and its proud status among the most expressive and age-worthy wines in the Piedmonte.  This limited and special bottling is the ultimate realization of Dogliani’s potential.  Made from her best and oldest parcels only in the best vintages, this wine results from grapes sourced from “Cerri Sottani”, a sub-zone of “Valdiba”. “1593” is a wine that pushes Dolcetto to the outer limits.  Here Bocca utilizes long aging to maximum effect, letting the wine rest for 6 years in 15HL and 10HL barrels before being racked into stainless steel for further aging.    After some time in bottle, this wine is released more than 10 years after the harvest.  Only 1800btls and 240 mags are produced.
Il-provinciale

Il Provinciale Langhe Nebbiolo: While Dolcetto rules the estate, we are offered a glimpse of how the estate’s style would translate to its northern Barolo neighbor through this wine. Half of the fruit comes from a friend’s prime holding in Serralunga d’Alba, while the balance is sourced from an estate parcel in Dogliani. The long 30-day maceration in large vat allows for all of the character of the terroir to present itself, and the result is a wine of power and depth.

austri Austri Langhe Rosso: While much of the Piemonte eagerly pushes the greatest wines to market as soon as they are in bottle, “Austri” is one of two cuvées from San Fereolo that offer a patient alternative. A study in terroir, cépage, and evolution, we were stunned by the beautiful consistency when we first tasted through a vertical of this wine. Generally 95% Barbera and 5% Nebbiolo, this ranks among the greatest expressions of Barbera we have experienced. Nicoletta treats the wine with a high degree of respect, allowing it to evolve through 3 years of elevage in large, neutral oak, followed by another 3 to 4 years in bottle.
san-fereolo-dogliani San Fereolo Dogliani: The most important wine of the estate, the Dolcetto for the top wine is sourced from parcels found in prime positions, as well as the oldest vines of the estate. The 7-year wait from harvest to release reflects the importance of the “San Fereolo” to Nicoletta, who carefully tends the wine through its 3 years in large barrel before a 3-4 year hibernation in the bottle cellar. Our spring 2015 tasting of each vintage from 2001 to 2008 revealed a consistent vein of dense, warm fruit, which spoke of the Langhe source. Fresh mineral notes, mint, licorice and savory elements permeated each expression, while a lively freshness was alive in every wine, including the 14-year old 2001 vintage.

Introducing San Fereolo’s “Vigne Dolci”

A New Face of Dolcetto Dolcetto is regularly treated as a second-class citizen in the high-dollar, high-prestige district of Barolo, with growers relegating it to unfavorably exposed parts of their holdings and producing it in a quick, straightforward fashion. Barolo is Nebbiolo country, plain and simple, and while one can hardly fault its producers for […]

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