Spotlight on Nebbiolo: Mauro Veglio “Castelletto” Barolo 2000
Barolo. Every wine lover knows the fame of these wines, but few understand the intricacies. For good reason. These are expensive wines, hard to find, made in minute quantities and it is near impossible to find enough examples to put the various cru’s terroirs to comparative analysis.
But, Barolo is the heart of Nebbiolo. The wines are the most complex and indicative of terroir compared to Nebbiolo from any other region. They are also amongst the greatest wines in the world – an amazing achievement for such a small region that places it in the same echelon as Burgundy and the great regions of the Northern Rhone.
Though, as is almost now a cliche in Italy, there is still a division of ideology between the traditionalists and the modernists. Veglio is one of the latter.
The Crus of Barolo
Barolo terroir is a story of the great villages and crus in the Barolo zone. There are 11 villages and many crus within those vineyards. The most famous of the villages are La Morra, Castiglione Falletto, Serralunga d’Alba and Montforte d’Alba. It is the last of these that is the home of the vineyard that is the source of fruit for this wine.
The soils of Barolo tend to either be old or young, making wines of elegance or power, respectively. Castelletto, in Monteforte, generally has young soils producing powerful wines with strong tannins. As such, wine from this cru requires much more time in the bottle before opening than wines made from fruit of the crus with older soils. Modernists such as Veglio try to tame the powerful tannins of such vineyards by using french barriques which tend to smooth the wines out. As such, the 2000 is, unlike some of its compatriots, drinking very well right now.
Aged entirely in French barriques, the Castelletto is made with mostly old vine material. Despite the barrique use, the wine has by now come out of its oaken shell and is quite elegant and delicious.
A nose of darker cherries, walnut skins and violets. There is crazy intensity on the nose and palate and with some air the wine shows its complex layering of flavour. This is still youthful wine and will continue to develop for 5-10 years, but is delicious right now with a good food pairing. A very well made Barolo just starting its journey into excitement.
This is not upper echelon Barolo, but it is extremely good, particularly at its price point.
~$80 at Kits Wine Cellar