This little treasure of Castiglione Falletto first came into Australia late in the 80’s. Not sustained, as those tannins were maybe just a bit too much for us in those days? But an ’82 Montanello Barolo seen recently, was glorious, and enough to put this on track to get back in. A generally traditonal and unforced style of Barolo – the other varietals follow a similar path – the wines all come off the Estate, which is located within the cru Montanello, virtually a monopole, with 98% owned by the Racca family who brought the property in 1864. Sitting right in the middle of Castiglione Falletto, Montanello is superbly sited, mostly south and south-west facing, with a consistent soil profile of calcareous and the classic blue tufa. This ideal aspect is probably the reason that a little over two-thirds of their Estate is dedicated to Nebbiolo.
The style of Nebbiolo here is heavier, more in the manner of neighbouring Monprivato, Parussi or Bricco Boschis, than the vivid red fruits a little further south. Think more blue fruits but still with typical rose and violets. As expected, tannins are evident but they’re beautifully integrated and plush, an element mastered by 5th generation maker Alberto Racca. Winemaking is low-key with Barolo being fermented in steel and elevated for 2 years in Allier barrels. One particular detail of a clearly successful tannin management regime, is a very gentle press to avoid any tearing of skins. The other varietals, a juicy, dark cherry and tart Dolcetto, the crunchy Barbera with Monforte violets and a spot-on fresh fruits style of Langhe Nebbiolo are each made and elevated in steel. Like the Barolo, these are unforced and natural, authentic and at ease on the table. There’s nothing hurried or forced here.