We began our visit in the barrel room, tasting through the vintages 2014-2012, with a horizontal of all the vintages in 2013 and tastes of the Bussia Riserva from 2011. This is a special wine, not only in 2011 but from 2010 on. Previously the Riserva here had simply been the best lot of Bussia Claudio had in the cellar, he does five separate vinifications from five distinct plots each year. The lot chosen for Riserva each year then saw an additional ten months in both, 40 instead of the 30 that the rest of the Barolo sees. Beginning without he 2010 vintage the vinification of the Riserva changed, seeing an additional 50 days of maceration, making it 90 days instead of 40.
The crus in 2011 are also impressive, if tipping the scales at roughly 15% alcohol, the achilles heel of the vintage perhaps. The Castellero being the least impressive of the three crus, with the Cannubi, Bussia, and Villero all being worthy of further investigation.
Walter gave us a tour of the cantina, tasting Ravera from barrel 2014-2012, and a pair of Vigna Elenas that were simply terrific. These most recent vintages are all, perhaps without he exception of 2013, not without their problems. Yet the wines we tasted today were all fabulous. Certainly a testament to Walter's desire that his wines express their site as well as the vintage.
The cellar tour, we had some who were visiting for the first time with us, was the usual amble around, with Mauro retelling the story of the 131.6 hectoliter botte. His father had been through the woods of Slavonian during the war, following the war he had returned to the forest and purchased a few trees. The trunks were cut down then transported to Italy where the aged for 7 years as trunks and another 7 as planks before being cut to size for this giant botte. Trees were cut in 1947 witht he botte being delivered only in 1962!
On that note I need to say goodbye. Roberto Conterno is waiting for us!