Thursday, May 31, 2012

Fratelli Alessandria in Verduno

I was too early for my morning appointment at Fratelli Alessandria, so I took a walk over to the Belvedere, the small park nearby the town square. As usual, it was packed to the gills with gawkers and hangers on.

On this morning it was still too hazy to see clearly the buildings of Alba. No matter.

The Belvedere abuts the church of San Michele, which was constructed in 1708. Actually, there is a small ATM and bank in between the church and the Belvedere, but I guess in the end money gets in the way of most things.

Behind the church is this little garden and vineyard, fenced off from view and for the church's own private use. I have a deep desire to try the wine from this vineyard. I would really like to know what it tastes like. I am not sure if it is used as the Communion wine for the congregation or if instead it is all drunk by those who attend to the matters of the service. It would take an awful lot of chutzpah for me to show up at a Mass just to try this wine, but I'm not saying that I won't try and do it next year. I will definitely score the wine with points and publish redolent tasting notes as soon as is possible.

Moments of peace over, I walk over to the winery and find construction in full swing, with workers everywhere hammering away at an addition to the cantina.

The construction represents the latest change for this winery, which has been in operation since 1870. For many people entering Verduno, this is the first winery that they see along the road in.

It's not a bad view.

These are the front doors of the cantina. I arrived eight minutes early for my appointment, which is like being 28 minutes early in Italy, so I hung out here for a bit.

At the appointed hour I met Vittore Alessandria, who is the 5th generation owner of this family concern.

The winery has a production of about 75,000 bottles annually.

The vast majority of the wine here is red wine, while roughly 10% of what is produced is white.

The Barolos, and there are four different Barolo bottlings, are all aged in botti. Perhaps the star of the portfolio is the Barolo from Verduno's Monvigliero vineyard, however Fratelli Alessandria also makes a Barolo from grapes grown in the Gramolere vineyard of Monforte. The Manzone family of Le Gramolere are, it turns out, relatives of Vittore's.

The style across the board is a bit more soft and fruited than one might expect from some of the other notable winery names in Verduno. I know from experience that the wines offer strong relative value back in the New York market, and I was happy to try them in situ.

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