This is a simply brilliant wine that acts as an illuminating window into one of the most-celebrated regions of Italy. It is a blend of the single vineyard sites and plots of Nebbiolo that Giorgio grows in the Barbaresco and Alba zones expressing the particular climatic influences and soil types that demarcate the quality of this wonderful style. Striking poise between breadth of texture and focus of flavour precision, this is a gastronomic delight in perfect condition from the get-go, placing you right at the threshold of Barbaresco and Barolo.
The Langhe is the large, high quality wine zone in Piemonte, that includes that towns and wine making subzones of Alba and Asti. Hills are plentiful and feature significantly in providing varied soil types, different solar aspects and the height required to avoid the negative aspects of fog, which arrives in the early autumn months, a key point in the life-cycle of grapes. The fog gives its name to the region's chief grape variety Nebbiolo (the word for fog is nebbia in Italian), and the best vineyard sites are all above the fog line.
What grows under the fog line? Well, some lesser quality earlier-ripening grapes but also something that does like the warm and damp conditions under the canopy of low-height woodlands; the leafy, earthen gold of the region: truffles!
And on the other hand, at the top of the slopes, at a height where grapes can struggle to ripen, the land is given to plantations of hazelnut trees: one of the region's most high-profile residents is Giorgio's neighbour, Signor Ferrero...
The region is used by the landowners and workers to draw an absolute maximum yield from its potential. It's a wonderful place to visit and has, for centuries, been the seat of high-quality food production in Italy.
It is Giorgio Pelissero's home. In the shadows of the Alps, Monte Bianco (Mont Blanc), the industry of Turin and in the swathe of history of one of the world's most acclaimed wines, he farms and harvests grapes of serious quality and makes wines of generosity and regional typicity. Traditional and relevant.
It is also a hallmark of Giorgio Pelissero's winemaking that the wines are "digestible" as they say themselves, which really means that they are both approachable and excellent for matching with food.
Giorgio started working in his Great-Uncle's vineyards as a very young boy and the winery ad house attached is now where he and his parents live. Having maintained this incredible set of vines since the 1960s they are one of the few who have grown by buying up parcels of land hat suit the style of wines they want to make. The result is that Giorgio is now one of the largest owners of land in Barbaresco, and able to grow fruit for nearly 100% of the production requirements of the winery. It's not that this makes things easier - far from it - but it makes the quality higher and means that he can be in direct control of the vines from the beginning of one year until the end. The blame stops with him and so too does the credit! He's a proud man, but never conceited nor arrogant. He works as hard as anyone I've met in the business and deserves the plaudits he has received, many times over.
My first trip to the idiosyncratic wine fair VinItaly had me underestimate the time it can take to find ones way around a fair and also the amount of time it can take to hold a meeting. I was running late for the last meeting of the day which was with the eport manager working for Giorgio Pelissero. I ran into a booth that seemed to meet the coordinates of the meeting point and saw the wine-fair equivalent of tumble weed and a sparsely populated set of ramshackle tables and chairs. One man was standing behind a bar and polishing glasses, sleeves rolled-up. Cue: pigeon Italian from the hurried visitor "Hullo, sorry to disturb you, I'm looking for Giorgio Pelissero, do you know where he is?"; "Yes, of course," said the glass-washer, "It's me!" And so began a long friendship with him and his whole team. In jig-time a plate of Ravioli in creamy Gorgonzola and walnut sauce (Fact: I still remember it) was in front of me and all of the staff as well. We tasted through the wines and Giorgio sat next to me, looking on at this ruffled, slightly harried, highly enthusiastic fellow. The wines were sensational and they still are to this day. But the other thing that still sits with me is that, because it was the end of the day, many people were leaving the fair and made a point of coming to seek Giorgio in order to shake hands, pat him on the shoulder, give him a hug - he had the respect of everyone. Farmer, wine critic, fellow wine makers... and he made time for everyone, even me.
This is a mini-Barbaresco (or a mini Barolo, if you like) and is one of the best-value wines we have. Seriously complex and utterly enjoyable.
Style: Structured, Round, Pure, Medium Full, Fruity, Elegant, Dark, Complex, Balanced
Best food matches: Venison, Steak, Salads, Roasts, Red Meats, Lamb, Hard Cheeses, Grills, Goat's Cheese, Game, Fine Dining, Duck, Cheeses, Charcuterie, Casseroles, Beef, Barbecue