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Textbook trio

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Natural wine nuts Primavin hosted Piedmontese winemaker Alessandro Barosi of Cascina Corte at a series of events in Montreal this weekend. A friend and I caught up with him on Saturday evening at the always enjoyable if often noisy Le Comptoir charcuteries et vins.

The estate sits in the San Luigi hills near the village of Dogliani, a stone’s throw from the Barolo and Barbaresco appellations. The farming is rigorously organic and loosely biodynamic. Yields are kept low and all harvesting is manual. Alessandro is a firm believer that good wines are made in the vineyard, not in the cellar, so the winemaking is non-interventionist. Only indigenous yeasts and manual pump-overs are used. Extraneous flavours like new oak are avoided and the wines are bottled unfiltered and unfined. All three wines we tasted shared an authenticity, directness and purity that gave them no small appeal.

Dogliani 2013, Cascina Corte ($24.39, private import, 12 bottles/case)
100% Dolcetto from 60-year old vines. Spends 10 months in stainless steel. Quebec agent: Primavin.
Redolent of red berries and cherries, supple and juicy with smooth tannins and acidity, a dark mineral substrate and a lingering bitter almond finish. Not as rustic or in-your-face as some but undeniably a pleasure to drink. (Buy again? Sure.)

Langhe Barbera 2012, Cascina Corte ($29.34, private import, 12 bottles/case)
100% Barbera from 10-year-old vines. Matured six months in large neutral oak barrels. Quebec agent: Primavin.
Berries again but darker ones along with some slate and hints of licorice and spice. Medium-bodied and juicy, the wine is lit up by brilliant acidity. Tannins are sotto voce, not that the wine needs more of them: the excitement here is the fruit that rings clear as a bell. Just thinking about it makes my mouth water. Our favourite of the three, a real coup de cœur for both of us. (Buy again? Oh, yes.)

Langhe Nebbiolo 2011, Cascina Corte ($35.32, private import, 6 bottles/case)
100% Nebbiolo from 10-year-old vines. Matured 24 months in large neutral oak barrels and two years in the bottle. Quebec agent: Primavin.
Closed and ungiving at first but soon opening up  Classic Nebbiolo nose of cherry, turned earth, violet, dried rose petal, the faintest hint of tar. Medium-bodied and far more structured than the other two – taut with airframe tannins, tense with acidity. Once again the fruit is naturally sweet and remarkably bright and clear. Finishes clean and long. A delight. (Buy again? Yes.)

Written by carswell

April 26, 2015 at 20:26

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