Three from Cantina del Pino

Hello friends. Several of you who have eyeballed my personal stash at Full Pull over the years have remarked on the profusion of Piedmont wines. To me, Nebbiolos from this part of Italy are among the most transparent, ethereal, uniquely beautiful wines in the world.

Today we have a trio of wines, all at fantastic tariffs, from one of my favorite producers in the region: Renato Vacca of Cantina del Pino.

The region: We’re in the Piedmont (see map), in Italy’s northwest corner. This region site squarely in the shadow of the Alps. More specifically, two of the wines come from Barbaresco (zoomed in map here), whose vineyards sit in the hills south of the Tanaro River. The moderating influence of that river allows Nebbiolo in Barbaresco to ripen a bit earlier than Barolo. Barbarescos are generally more feminine, more perfumed, more accessible in their youth, and less long-lived than Barolos.

The grape: Nebbiolo, named for the fog (“nebbia”) that settles in the Piedmont during harvest time in October. Known for stunning aromatics (tar and roses), and a pale color (sometimes with orange tones) that belies the massive structure (tannin and acid) ahead. At best, Nebbiolo combines the earthy elegance of Pinot Noir with the tannic power of Cabernet Sauvignon.

The producer: Domizio Cavazza began the winery in the late 1800s. To celebrate the birth of his first son, he planted what became a large Mediterranean pine tree, and he eventually named his winery after the tree (Cantina del Pino = winery of the pine). When Cavazza passed away unexpectedly, Renato Vacca’s great grandfather purchased the vineyards, and the Vacca family has remained ever since.

Notes from Antonio Galloni of Wine Advocate: “[TEXT WITHHELD].”

2010 Cantina del Pino Langhe Nebbiolo

Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate (Antonio Galloni): “($27); [REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. 90pts.”

Dry and earthy, floral and austere, it’s killer food wine, with fruity nuance of red cherry and blood orange. A wonderful, approachable introduction to glorious Nebbiolo. This is the gateway drug to Barolo and Barbaresco, and I apologize in advance to those of you who get hooked.

2008 Cantina del Pino Barbaresco

Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate (Antonio Galloni): “($47); [REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. 92pts.”

Average vine age here is 50 years, and the seriousness is ramping up. The tarry streak, the rose petals; it all begins to emerge, paired with lovely cherry fruit, loads of earth and cedar, and always that floral lift keeping things fresh. There’s a fat tarry streak down the middle, and tannins that are beginning to soften up a touch.

2006 Cantina del Pino Barbaresco “Ovello”

Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate (Antonio Galloni): “($58); [REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. 93pts.”

Cantina del Pino sits on top of the Ovello vineyard hill, and this is one of their flagship bottlings. Positively perfumed, with roses and lilacs on top of cherry and blood orange fruit. The aromatics are profound, deeply expressive, moving. Beautifully structured, with ripe tannins suggestive of citrus tea, this is intense and earthy, dusted with cocoa powder. I put this in the bag for a recent tasting group, and it was well-loved, with several members correctly guessing Barbaresco and a few even guessing the classic 2006 vintage. Gorgeous winemaking at work here.

First come first served on the Langhe Nebbiolo, up to 12 bottles. Please limit order requests to 6 of the 2008 Barbaresco and 4 bottles of the 2006 Ovello, and we’ll do our best to fulfill all requests. The wines should arrive in about a week, at which point they will be available for pickup or shipping during the autumn shipping window.

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