|Region:||Italy / Piemonte / Barolo / Serralunga / Boscareto|
Ferdinando Principiano is a medium-sized Monforte-based producer who struck me as a student of the vine and wine in the best sense of the word. Through trial and error he gradually evolved his philosophy from the ubiquitous modernist way when he first started in the 1990’s to a very traditional one. Transition to organic viticulture and minimum intervention in the cellar came as a logical and conscious search for better, live wine which was created in harmony and not in struggle.
Of course it’s easy to admire those winemakers which have been firmly in traditional camp for generations and remain skeptical of the new converts, especially with the trend winds getting behind all things “organic, natural and traditional”. However, it is important, in my view, to understand what drives these winemakers who chose to backtrack to the principles of their forefathers in growing the fruit and making wine. If the reason is to ride the trend wave – it is yet another brushstroke in painting them industrial and mass-market. However, if the reason is genuine and intuitive search for the true and unmasked voice of the grape and terroir – I welcome such transitions at any point.
While only time will tell if this philosophy will take permanent hold, but Ferdinando struck me as someone who truly believes in his quest and for the right reasons – to make better (which in this case means -honest) wine.
Barolo Boscareto 2005
Vineyard: Boscareto / Exposure: South & South-West / Soil: Calcareous marl / Crushing: By foot / De-stemming: 50% / Maceration: 50-90 days w/ partial temperature control / Ageing: 48m in botti (25hl)
This bottling comes from mid-hill part of the Boscareto Cru in Serralunga, just below the legendary Francia Cru (source of Giacomo Conterno’s fantastic Cascina Francia and Monprivato bottlings) and plots of Batasiolo, which run up to the top of the hill. While distinctly more savory than fruity, it isn’t as earthy or rigid as you would expect from Serralunga.
Fantastic nose, very deep and piercingly clean in its vibration. Refined and pure. It delivers a wonderful mix of strawberry, rose and liquorice without being too concentrated. I particularly like the slight smokiness, which balances off the precision of the nose with some warmth, but not flab.
The flavor is a very logical continuation of the nose. This unshielded organoleptic honesty always puts a smile on my face. The tannins are very present here and nudge the mouthfeel towards a more suede texture, as compared to a silky feel on the nose, but this is just a matter of time. It will be a wonderful wine in 10-20 years, perhaps even longer.