Silvio Giamello “Vicenziana” (Barbaresco 2013)
From a tiny plot of 40-50 year old vines on less than five acres Silvio Giamello is crafting a classic, old-school wine with the delicate, nuanced fragrances of flowers, tar and minerals that one expects from high quality Barbaresco. With elegance, complexity, and a lengthy finish, this is showcase “feminine” Piedmont Nebbiolo when compared to some of the bruisers of Barolo. And when mere Langhe Nebbiolo has begun creeping toward $30 bottle, this is a great value to boot.
The Giamello estate lies in the northernmost part of Barbaresco in Ovello, one of the famed Barbaresco crus. The lieu-dit Vicenziana started out as the Giamello family farm that included small parcels of vines, grain, forest, and pastures where their animals grazed. These clay soils with lime-rich marl produced such quality wine that eventually much of the estate was wisely replanted to vines. Yet even with this prime terroir the family still sold most of the fruit to Langhe négociants. It wasn’t until the 1990s that fourth generation winemaker Silvio decided to bottle the estate’s wines for more than just the family’s consumption.
Today Silvio Giamello and his wife Marina Camia run the estate very traditionally. All work in the vineyard is natural and chemical-free and the wines are vinified using natural yeast. Vicenziana Barbaresco is fermented in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks and then aged in 2,000-3,000 liter, Slavonian oak botti for two to three years. While this wine drinks well now, it does have the potential to develop in a proper cellar for another five to ten years.
If you’ve never heard of Silvio Giamello it’s most likely because he has no interest in self promotion and makes very little wine – 5,000 bottles of Barbaresco in a highly productive year. We were fortunate to have access to a handful of cases but at this price the wine likely won’t be around long.