It is common to hear people say that they cannot find Barbaresco, aside from the Produttori and Giacosa, with the cut and chisel that they would like. Roagna comes to mind for the more savvy, but those looking for a lighter and more transparent style often despair of finding other Barbarescos to drink. And yet the 17th century cellar of Cantina del Glicine hides in plain sight in the old town of Neive, ready to welcome you.
Roberto Bruno, seen above, works there with the aid of Adriana Marzi, and has been selling commercially under the Cantina del Glicine name since 1980.
Although they make a range of wines from the traditional grape varieties of the area, it is small scale operation. The total vineyard holdings consist of about 4 hectares.
They have some grappa to sell.
But mostly it is about the wines, for which, to be quite honest, they could be more well known throughout the world.
Roberto did not hesitate to show us to the cellar on the day of our visit, and I had the impression in fact that it is there that he feels most comfortable.
We arrived during the mid part of the harvest, and these tanks most likely awaited the 2012 Nebbiolo.
There was a traditional style press, and I feel like its influence is felt in the wines. Although they are translucent reds, they are still quite firm. In fact I'd say that they put an emphasis on firm red wines there. At Glicine they blend Nebbiolo (15%) into their Barbera bottlings, not the other way around.
The old botti lined the entryway of the cellar.
The Barbaresco Curra from Glicine is aged for 2 years in botti before release.
The finely wrought ironwork texture of the Curra finds a forge in the cool, damp cellar of Glicine. I suspect that cold cellars are often master craftsmen of chiseled wines, filigreed detail work, and high ceilings of perfume. This visit was supporting evidence for that thinking.
Mushrooms grew in the recesses.
There were several smaller barrels in the cellar at Glicine as well, and certain of the Barbaresco and Barbera finish ageing in them. This includes the Marcorino Barbaresco and the La Dormiosa Barbera, both of which begin their ageing in botti before being moved to barrel.
The barrels are used, and some show the marks of a few passages.
The Marcorino Barbaresco is from the warmer site, and tends towards a bit broader texture and a bit more depth than the Curra.
Back outside, we found ourselves immersed in the stark light of a Piemonte afternoon.
Another winery worker said ciao as we headed to the tasting room.
It was close to lunchtime.
Adriana Marzi looks after many details in the tasting room and office.
And of course there is a lot to do, as always.
Although I tend to prefer the tense grip of the Curra, the Marcorino is given the star billing here, and the magnum treatment. It is probably true that it is the better long term cellar candidate.
One of the other wines that I enjoy is the La Sconsolata Barbera, which in addition to having Nebbiolo blended in, is aged entirely in botti. Tar, white pepper, and the other supposedly unloveable notes were in evidence in the La Sconsolata 2009, which was delicious from a bottle that had been open for 3 days.
If you don't choose to open your red wines from Glicine several days in advance, I might recommend that you decant them. Roberto didn't hesitate to do so when he opened a fresh bottle of 2008 Barbaresco Curra for us. Cooler vintages, like 2008 and I'm also thinking about 2005, tend to accentuate the style traits of the Barbaresco at Glicine, and I enjoy what I think of as the unadorned Nebbiolo in their Barbarescos from those years. Of course unadorned can take some getting used to, and decanting can assist the introduction. Eating some salumi can help as well.
But there is no need to decant the frisky Moscato d'Asti, which is in a fresh and drinkable style straight from the bottle.
A second bottle label ensures that the Moscato will always look seasonally appropriate.
I myself found the climate during our visit to Glicine to be just right.