PIEDMONT

G.B. Burlotto

Represented exclusively in California by The Rare Wine Co.

During his seventy-seven years as a winemaker (1850-1927), G.B. Burlotto’s accomplishments were rivaled only by those of Biondi-Santi and Vega Sicilia, as G.B. achieved superstardom in a world dominated by French wines. Today, Burlotto has re-emerged as one of Piemonte's great small producers, thanks to the brilliant and highly traditional winemaking of G.B.'s great-great-grandson, Fabio Alessandria.

He pioneered selling Barolo in bottle (not cask or demijohn), predating even Giacomo Conterno's Barolo Monfortino. And as official supplier to the Royal House of Savoy—which once ruled Piemonte—he not only achieved personal fame, he made his village of Verduno as renowned as Serralunga or La Morra.

G.B.’s death in 1927 not only took away Burlotto's driving force, it also deprived Verduno of its greatest champion. And so both faded into obscurity in the decades that followed. But now, with G.B.’s great-great-grandson Fabio Alessandria as winemaker, Burlotto’s star is again rising, reclaiming its position as one of Piedmont’s great small producers.

Barolo Monvigliero

As it was in G.B.’s day, the greatest Burlotto wine is the magical Barolo from Verduno’s Monvigliero vineyard. The greatness of Monvigliero lies in its signature aromatics, which are unlike any Barolo we’ve ever experienced. Its astonishingly intense, and instantly recognizable, perfume of Provençal black olive tapenade, cedar and truffle is nothing short of hypnotic. And it could come from no place else on earth. It is the essence of its terroir.

Like his ancestors, Fabio approaches Monvigliero in a way that is both classical and idiosyncratic-to extract the vineyard's essential greatness. At the core of this technique is a gentle crushing of all the grapes by foot, an incredible 60-day maceration on the skins and, of course, long aging in large wood botte. It's an approach virtually unheard of today, yet its brilliance is revealed in every glass of this unique Barolo.

In fact, Monviglieros magic must have as much do with the technique as it does the vineyard's relatively high altitude or the 45-year-old vines in limestone-rich soil.

The foot treading avoids the problem of mechanical extraction: breaking the seeds and tannins, which causes bitterness. It also explains how Monviglieros fruit can withstand sixty days of skin contact-a practice that once flourished in the Langhes greatest cellars but vanished by the 1980s. The combination of foot treading, long maceration and traditional botte-aging produces a wine of powerful structure, but with an ethereally delicate mouthfeel.

A Compelling Stable of Wines

While Monvigliero is arguably the jewel in Burlottos crown, all of Fabios wines display astonishing purity, having been born of the same winemaking philosophy.

He makes four Barolos: Monvigliero, Cannubi, Acclivi (a blend of Burlottos crus) and a beautiful Barolo normale. The common thread in all these wines is surreal texture and pristine aromatics.

From the same vineyards as the Barolos, but with shorter wood aging, Fabio produces his fantastic Langhe Nebbiolo. He demonstrates his mastery of Barbera with his delicious Barbera dAlba and the deeper, more powerful Barbera dAlba “Aves.” And his Dolcetto d’Alba and Freisa are among the best from any producer, both effusively rich and pure.

Finally, the two most unique Burlotto wines are the beautiful red Pelaverga—from an ancient variety grown by the family since 1800—and the rare, explosively varietal Nebbiolo rosé, Elatis. Like everything else bearing the Burlotto name, they are the essence of a noble winemaking tradition.


Technical Information

OVERVIEW

Proprietor: Marina Burlotto

Winemaker: Fabio Alessandria

Burlotto is one of the Langhe’s great, historical domaines. Giovan Battista Burlotto began estate-bottling Barolo in the late 1800s. He purchased prime plots in two of the zone’s most famous vineyards, Cannubi and Monvigliero.

Aside from the Cannubi parcel, most of the estate’s wines come from vineyards in the village of Verduno, and these wines share a gracefulness and aromatic profile that is unique in the world of Barolo.

The estate was a key proponent of the local Pelaverga grape, and is primarily responsible for its continued propagation today.

VINEYARD INFORMATION

Soils: Many variations of calcareous marls.

Zone: Barolo (mostly Verduno)

Additional Winemaking Notes

The estate remains devoted to traditional Langhe winemaking, with well-seasoned botti grandi used to age all the Barolos.

Barolo fermentations use exceptionally long macerations, Barolo Monvigliero’s grapes tread entirely by foot.

THE WINES

  Fruit Source Avg. Yields Aging Avg. Production

Dolcetto d'Alba

Various Verduno vineyards. Made with 50-60% whole clusters.

40 hL/hA

6+ months in cask.

500-600 cases

Barbera d'Alba

Various Verduno & Roddi vineyards.

45 hL/hA

9 months in large cask.

~1,200 cases

Verduno Pelaverga

Various Verduno vineyards.

50 hL/hA

6 months in large caks and stainless.

~1,500 cases

Barolo "Acclivi"

A selection from Verduno crus.

40 hL/hA

Fermentation: 15-20 days in wooden vat with pump-over and regular breaking-up the cap. 24-30 months in large cask.

~5,000 cases

Barolo "Cannubi"

Cru in the Barolo village.

40 hL/hA

Fermentation: 15-20 days in wooden vat with pump-over and regular breaking-up the cap. 24-30 months in large cask.

~330 cases

Barolo "Monvigliero"

Cru in the Verduno village.

40 hL/hA

Fermentation: No destemming. Crushing by feet. The cap is submerged and maceration extends for 45-60 days. 30 months in large cask.

~500 cases

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