Sunday, October 19, 2008

2006 Fratelli Alessandria Verduno Pelaverga DOC Piedmont Italy

Fratelli Alessandria Verduno Pelaverga 2004

2006 Fratelli Alessandria Verduno Pelaverga DOC Piedmont Italy
Suggested retail price $16-$19
Distributed by Artisan Wines in NYC

The estate of Fratelli Alessandria is a charming XVIII century house boasting a simple, elegant yet imposing architecture, located near the historic center of the hill-top village of Verduno, north of Barolo and southwest of Barbaresco and Alba.

The winery was created by the beginning of the XIX century and received 2 gold medals "for improvement in the wine making ...method.....and for the successful expedition of their wines overseas."

Today, the owner Gian Battista together with his wife Flavia, his brother Alessandro and his son Vittore proudly carry on their ancestors' tradition and passion for winemaking.

The estate stretches over 12 hectares owned by the family over some of the best crus in Verduno and Monforte. Most of them yield Nebbiolo grapes, but the family also concentrates on all local grape varieties such as Dolcetto, Barbera and the rare, indigenous red grape Pelavegra which is only to be found in Verduno. They also have two white grapes: the local Favorita and the international Chardonnay.

They produce about 12 wines: Barolo, Barolo San Lorenzo, Barolo Monvigliero, Barolo Gramolere, Langhe Rosso Rossoluna, Langhe Nebbiolo Prinsiot, Barbera D'Alba, Barbera D'Alba Superiore Priora (not to be mistaken with the village of Priora located east of Turino and especially not with the DOC Priorat in Catalonia, Spain), Dolcetto D'Alba, Langhe Favorita, Langhe Chardonnay Buscat, and our focus of today, Verduno Pelaverga.

Verduno Pelaverga is made of grapes harvested from 7 years old vines spread out in 4 different vineyards planted on the slopes surrounding the hill-top village of Verduno: Galleria, Sut Jort, Semolino and Buscat. The total planted area with this particular grape is 1.8 hectares of vineyards with roots in calcareous slimy limestone.

The grapes were hand harvested, then macerated-fermented for 6-8 days in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks. The ageing process took place partly in stainless steel tanks and partly in cement tanks for 6-8 months before bottling (no oak at all), the wine rested for another 1-2 months in horizontally laid bottles. They produce about 9,000 bottles (or 750 cases of 12 bottles) which makes this wine even a better value when you see the price for the number of bottles produced.

2006 Fratelli Alessandria Verduno Pelaverga expresses the unique typicality of this rare grape and the quality of the Terroir it come from. It has a bright, light ruby color. The nose boasts aromas of bright red cherry, raspberry, hints of green and minerals. The palate is medium bodied, bright, sharp with a vivid acidity and some non aggressive yet slightly green tannins. Not as complex or structured, and lighter than a Burgundian Pinot Noir nor as fruity or expanding as a Barbera, Pelaverga seems to be a good compromise between these two grapes.

A bit too sharp for my palate, I will have loved to see a bit more fruit, length and complexity, and even balance. However, it was the first time I tasted a Pelaverga, and the overall experience was quite interesting, but I need to taste more of them to be able to appropriately judge the quality of this wine. It will definitely please amateurs of slightly esoteric, light red with racy acidity (winegeeks to your glass!)

LeDom (du Vin)

Info taken from Fratelli's website:

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