The SOMM Journal

May 2014

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42 { THE SOMM JOURNAL } JUNE/JULY 2014 { wine course } IN THE LIST OF FAMOUS CRU VINEYARDS, Cannubi in the Barolo DOCG, southwest of the town of Alba, commands a special place, mentioned with gravitas and a knowing nod. Buyers around the world know that Nebbiolo planted on the hillsides of Cannubi, and the subsequent wines from these grapes, command both respect and a high price. But why? Characteristics of microclimate and geology here interact to reach a sort of perfection. Consider that this hill is a boundary border of the two dominant soil types that define styles in Barolo: Tortonian (in the Central Valley to the west of the region) and Helvetian soils (in the Serralunga Valley to the east.) Both macro soils of the Barolo appellation are a combination of limestone and clay called "marl." Each possesses its own variations of additional trace elements (magnesium, etc.), the nuances that make the differences. Tortonian soils are the less compact, sandier and younger soils. Wines produced from these limestone-rich, more fertile Tortonian soils will have (relatively) lighter tannins, be more fragrant, softer and elegant. Tortonian wines will be ruby-colored. Helvetian soils are older, more compact and far higher in clay content. As these chalky less fertile soils become more dense and harder for the vines' roots to penetrate, the struggle alone increases the skin thickness of the berries and provides us with fruit consequently higher in tannin and color, producing overall bolder, more structured and longer-aging wines, which lean toward brick-colored hues. Cannubi vineyards are at average elevations of between 250 to 300 meters (750 to 900 feet)—ideal for Nebbiolo. The prevalent exposition is east-southeast, with low wind. The nebbia (fog) for which the variety is named, comes in mid-to-late fall. When the fog begins to shroud the many hills of the Langhe, harvest time is near. The Cannubi cru, in the village of Barolo, sits on an ancient fault line and benefits from the presence of famous soils. The softness of Tortonian soils, with the hardness of Helvetian ones, and climate that favors the late-ripening Nebbiolo create the "secret" of the unmistakable bal- ance, elegance and totality that Cannubi cru Barolo wines possess. REGION DRILLDOWN REGION: Langhe, Piemonte, Italy SIZE: 7 miles long, 5 miles wide PRODUCTION: 500,000 cases per annum COMMUNES: 11 total, 5 produce 87% of Barolo DOCG (Barolo, La Morra – Tortonian; Serralunga dAlba, Castiglione Falleto, Monforte dAlba – Helvetian) CRUS: several, no official designation ALTITUDE: 250 meters (roughly 750 feet) above sea level ASPECT/EXPOSITION: east-southeast REGUTIONS: 100% Nebbiolo. 36 months aging (18 months in oak minimum). Riserva wines must age 60 months. 13% abv YIELDS: 8 tons/hectare in general, 7.2 tons/hectare for cru vineyards COLOR/AROMA/PATE: Garnet/garnet rims when aged, dried roses/tar/sour cherry, high acid/bold tannins softening to balanced when older From the North American Sommelier Association's Italian Wine Specialist® course. ANCIENT SOILS, FOG AND ASPECT = NEBBIOLO PERFECTION PHOTO COURTESY OF CANTINE DAMILANO PHOTO COURTESY OF CANTINE DAMILANO Barolo's Cannubi cru com- mands a special place, both geographically and in reputation. Barolo's Iconic Cannubi Vineyard Somm Journal June/July.indd 42 5/9/14 12:08 PM

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