Cavallotto Barbera d'Alba Vigna del Cuculo 2016

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About This Wine

Cavallotto's Vigna Cuculo is a major league Barbera and comes from a parcel of 50+-year-old vines on the western side of Bricco Boschis. This parcel of vines is named after the Cuckoo bird or Cuculo. We're not sure why and neither is Alfio Cavallotto. The unique stature of this wine can, again, be attributed to the mature vines, low yields and powerful terroir of the Bricco Boschis. The western aspect and the preponderance of limestone in the soil here, tempers Barbera's natural acidity, although the '15 remains super bright. The ageing of the wine, too, is distinctive, with the fermenting must having spent 15 days on skins (a long time for Barbera) - this maceration bringing out fine structure and length. The wine is aged for 24 months in the same, aged Slavonian botti as the Nebbiolo wines, so it has none of the toasty new oak that blights many a Barbera. 2016 was a wonderful vintage for Barbera and Dolcetto and, as the note below makes clear, this is a vibrant but layered example, packed full of blueberry and plum, roasted almond aromas and flavours and a punchy, savoury close.

Type Red Wine
Varietal(s) Barbera
Country Italy
Region Piedmont
Appellation Barbera d'Alba
Brand Cavallotto
Vintage 2016

Wines of Piedmont

In the North-Western corner of Italy, with a backdrop of the visually stunning Alps, Piedmont is a great place to visit for wine tourism. It is also home to some of the most sought-after wines in the country.

Nebbiolo is the region’s most prestigious grape variety, a red variety not seen much in Australia. Wines made from this grape are powerful with remarkably high levels of tannins but a balancing acidity. The Piedmont region offers the grapes with a reliable autumn fog that provides a cooling effect which is particularly beneficial to the growth of Nebbiolo. This pre-harvest fog (“nebbia” in Italian) is actually where the grape’s name comes from. The fog is vital in that it prolongs the time spent on the vine and allows the grapes to achieve full ripeness.

The most famous examples of Nebbiolo come from the appellations (subregions) of Barolo and Barbaresco, known for their ability to age well, firm tannins and distinct smell of tar and roses. Barolo is a big tannic expression of Nebbiolo, while Barbaresco only about 15km away makes a more elegant style. Barolo wines are generally the more expensive of the two and are known to cellar for decades.

By volume however, Barbera is the most planted red grape in Piedmont. This grape makes a juicy, low tannin but high acidity easy-going red. Perhaps somewhat like a lighter style Shiraz.

While there are quite a few white varieties planted in the region, the most notable is Moscato d’Asti, made in a sparkling style in the Asti subregion.

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