In truth I’ve wanted to name Commendatore G.B. Burlotto as winery of the year since I first thought of the idea. If I had we'd be talking about lower prices for sure, but even with the delay Burlotto still produces terrific wines are fabulous prices. Consider the line-up.
Barolo from the famed Cannubi vineyard, and it’s the lowest priced Cannubi on the market.
Barolo Monvigliero, an iconic wine and one of the greatest expressions of terroir and classic winemaking left in the marketplace.
Barolo Aclivi, a precocious Barolo that represents the essense of Verduno.
The full portfolio of Piedmontese varieties, all expertly produced and offered for about $20 a bottle or less.
Of course this is not Value Winery of the Year we’re talking about, it’s plain old Winery of the Year and for that you have to produce wines of quality and distinction. Fabio Alessandria does a brilliant job on that front, using a mix of techniques and resources to produce what he feels are the finest expressions his vineyards are capable of.
What does that mean exactly? In the case of Barolo we have a variety of styles. From the classic foot treading and 60 day maceration practiced with Monvigliero, and Neirane, when it was made, to a more updated 15 day fermentation, always in upright wood fermenters, for the other wines. The choice of wood, larger formats of either 3 to 5 hectoliters or 35 hectoliters that are mostly now in French oak, also shows a willingness to adopt what is best for the wines. There is no dogma here.
What’s best for the wines in the case of Burlotto can be summed up in few words. These are wines that are bright, supple, aromatic and precise. Fabio isn’t reaching, or pushing the wines to do something they would rather not do. More than a winemaker he is a tour guide, showing off his cellar to the product of each vintage. It is naive to suggest that some wines do not show winemaking, they all show winemaking but in the case of Burlotto the signs are relatively subtle.