Wednesday, May 18, 2011

A Visit to Brovia

Alex Sanchez of Brovia

Brovia has two parcels within Villero. This is looking down a row in one of those parcels (the upper one).

This a look down a row in the other Brovia Villero parcel.

A vine owned by Brovia in Villero. Brovia purchased their Villero vines in 1991.

The road to Villero.

A Nebbiolo parcel in Brovia’s Brea vineyard (in Serralunga). Brea is owned solely by Brovia (unlike Villero, of course). You can see the roof of the ca’ mia in this picture. Brea stretches significantly to both the right and left of this vantage point. To the right would be where the Barbera, Moscato, and Dolcetto for the non-Solatio Brea Dolcetto bottling would be planted. Also more Nebbiolo, which would go into the Brovia Barolo normale (a blend of the four crus). To the left would be the Nebbiolo for the ca' mia bottling, and then the Dolcetto for Solatio, which is a personal favorite of mine.

Nebbiolo vines in the plot used for the ca' mia bottling. The ca' mia has been produced since 1995, when this vineyard was purchased by Brovia. The year of the first vintage released and the year of the purchase are the same. The Brovia family had been working with the fruit earlier on a sharecropping basis.

Nebbiolo vine (for ca' mia).

Dolcetto vines with fruit intended for the Solatio.

This shot gives an idea of how steep Brea can be in places.

This is the other end of Brea, where the vines are not meant for ca' mia or Solatio. I believe this shot is of Nebbiolo. This is the part of the vineyard that is next to the house where Alex and his wife - who is the winemaker at Brovia, having worked in the cellar for 23 years now while Alex has handled sales for close to 10 years - live. There are a series of trees near here under which white truffles are often found. Alex and his wife do not hunt truffles themselves (no dogs), but do hear the hunters come close to their house in the night.

This is another shot of that side of Brea, the side of Brea near the house and bounded by the road. As I mentioned before, here you are looking at Nebbiolo, Dolcetto, Moscato, and Barbera. As I understand it, the Barbera is at the far end where the vineyard starts, next some Nebbiolo, then the plot of Dolcetto with the Moscato below it, and then more Nebbiolo (basically the same as in the last shot) in the foreground. I might have that order wrong, though.

Papa Brovia's first vintage was 1953. He now advises his daughters as they continue the day to day work. One of his daughters, Cristina, oversees the vineyards, while her sister Elena (Alex's wife) looks after the winemaking. Papa said that back in vintages like 1982 there was no such thing as a green harvest at the winery. You let nature take care of it with insects and frost. Now, he said, everything is different, because the area is warmer. He said he thought 1978 was going to be a disaster and that there would be no wine, before a couple months of perfect weather saved everything and made that vintage one of the best of his career.

The generations at Brovia: Papa, Cristina, and Alex. Elena took off in a car before I could snap a photo, unfortunately. Sorry.

Another member of the Brovia family.

All of these magnums were destined for a single restaurant in Copenhagen. And there was a bunch more besides this. Pretty amazing when you think about it.

Three of the four Brovia 2009 Barolo Crus are shown here. Villero furthest back, ca' mia in the middle, Rocche nearest to the camera. These large wood ovals are smaller than the botte used for the Barolo normale (which also has lots that are aged in steel, if I understood correctly).

This is a shot of those larger botte which contain the normale Barolo.

Cement fermentation tanks.

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