Ceretto, in the Old Days

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One of our favorite things about wine is that there are no absolutely correct answers – taste is a subjective, variable, and personal matter. So it goes with the recent history of wine in Barolo and Barbaresco, about which you may have heard, possibly ad nauseum. Simply on the basis of our own taste, we’ve come down heavily on the side of the Piedmont ‘traditionalists’; new oak, and barrique in general, just doesn’t work with Nebbiolo. For us, that is.

When we visited Ceretto in May of 2010, the winemaker Alessandro Ceretto told us that he didn’t want the wine to taste like oak, and so he only used “50% new barriques every year”.  We were a bit stunned by this remark - and the wines certainly tasted very oaky to us.

Much to their credit, the Ceretto’s have been progressive in many positive ways, including the current conversion of their vines to organic farming; as one of the largest vineyard owners in the region, this is a really important development, with a lot of potential beneficial influence on the neighbors. We’re not sure just when small oak barrels were introduced to the Ceretto’s winemaking, but through the 1990 vintage we really like – and often love - the older Ceretto wines we’ve tasted. The wines may not have quite the depth of the very best (and most expensive) Piedmont wines, but they make for absolutely delicious and gratifying mature drinking. We have very fond memories of the excellent 1964 Riserva, which came from the same fine cellar as this group.

If you’ve dismissed Ceretto on the basis of their wines post-1990, here’s a good chance to make up for lost time. Some other excellent wines, from the same cellar, are included below.

 

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