Le Pianelle Red Wine Bramatera DOC 2013, Piedmont, Italy

This small estate in northern Piedmont is a partnership between Dieter Heuskel and Peter Dipoli, the owners of the estate, Cristiano Garella, an outstanding young local winemaker, and Andrea Zanetta, one of the best viticulturalists in the area. Heuskel and Dipoli started buying land in the Bramaterra appellation in 2004; after assembling more than fifty small parcels from more than forty owners they were finally able to realize their dream and plant vines, mostly Nebbiolo, in 2007-8. The hill where their vineyards are planted was famous a century ago for the quality of the wine grown there, and it will be famous again soon. The soils here, marine and volcanic sands ranging in color from yellow-orange to brown, are entirely different from those of the Barolo and Barbaresco areas; they are also acidic, whereas those of the Langa (and most wine regions) are basic. 80% Nebbiolo, 10% Vespolina, 10% Croatina. Vineyards: planted at between 270-380 meters above sea level (900-1,250 feet), in a combination of yellow-orange marine sand and brownish porphyric sand of volcanic origin. Vines were planted in 2007-8. No use of chemical fertilizer or herbicide. Winemaking: the grapes were destemmed, pressed, fermented in conical wooden fermenters, with a total maceration of 20 days (Croatina), 26 days (Vespolina) and 34 days (Nebbiolo). The Nebbiolo is then aged for 20 months in large barrels before bottling, while the Vespolina and Croatina are aged for the same period of time in used barriques. Normally only two rackings are necessary, to preserve the aromatic integrity of the wine.