The Brezza family have spent the last century producing wine in the town of Barolo; they are truly an institution. Enzo Brezza took over as winemaker in 1989 and has taken the winery from strength to strength. Ironically moving forward has meant embracing older methods of production, with Enzo converting his vineyards back to organic viticulture. Officially certified from 2012, though since 2010 only natural yeasts have been used. Traditional Slovenian botti are used for wood aged wines, partnering with stainless steel and concrete tanks to keep his whites fresh and his reds fruit-driven. Possessing incredible purity and structure, these are forward when young whilst still retaining precision and poise for years after.
Dolcetto d'Alba 2013
Dolcetto holds particular and oft questioned prominence with this winemaker. The reason for it though is that it ferments first, allowing Enzo to judge the strength of the yeasts for that year. Blended from the San Lorenzo and Fossati vineyards within the commune di Barolo, this is fermented for a week in steel and concrete vats, goes through malolactic fermentation and by April is ready to be bottled.
One of the many little known grape varieties that are to be found in the hills of Piedmont. Although their are regions outside Barolo where Freisa is grown for sparkling wine production, the heritage in this zone is to produce it as a mono-varietal. Once again like the dulcet, maceration is over 6 days. After this it remains in steel and concrete where it goes through malolactic fermentation. Fresh, with firm tannin. This is a wine that will age surprisingly well.
Barbera d'Alba Santa Rosalia
From vineyards situated between the town of Alba and Diano d'Alba which was planted in 1952, this is the first of Enzos two Barbera's. both of them show the beauty of the abundant fruit of Barbera. This also has a hint of florality from the vineyards. Once more this remains in steel for its ageing process, retaining that fruit freshness. Crisp and crunchy with dark fruits at its core. With plates of meat, this is a great match.
From the 2010 vintage, Enzo decided to blend two vineyards of Barbera to produce the Superiore. This wine is taken from two of the finest vineyard locations in Barolo, the Cannubi with 50 year old vines and the Cannubi Muscatel, with vines over 70 years old. Fermented in steel, with a further maceration time of up to two weeks, this blend is then aged in grande Botti for a year. It is then left in bottles for a further eight months. A wine worth waiting for.
Planted in 1979, this vineyard has a similar soil structure to the famed Sarmassa vineyard, sand, silt and clay. The wines are lighter in structure due to a comparatively less favorable exposure, but with the advantage of a more forward and approachable wine. Ageing for two years in barrel with an additional year in bottle before release, this wine is a perfect introduction to the complex wines of the region.
One of the lesser know vineyard sites of the winery, the heavy sand soils of Casterellero produce a wine that's a little withdrawn in early years, but then good things come to those who wait. Six years is recommended to truly appreciate the complexities of this site. Traditional ageing in a grandi Botti makes this an even more magnificent wine, with the requirement that the Botti should have had 5 years of use for a Barolo.
Cannubi is probably the most famous and certainly the most expensive wine making area in Italy. This is the meeting point for two of the three major geological formations in Barolo, Sant'agata fossil marl and Diano Sandstones.
A week's fermentation and then two under the cap for a finer extraction, this wine is then transferred to steel and then to a 3000l Slovenian oak barrel for two years. There is a level of forwardness in this wine when young but they mature magnificently.
Barolo Sarmassa/Bricco Sarmassa
Sarmassa is a cherished family site. Less famous that it's sister Cannubi there is additional exposure here that produces rich, dense beautiful wines. This level of complexity demands time and attention, needing years to fully reach its peak.
The two different names indicate tiers of excellence. The first is their 'standard', truly excellent Sarmassa. The second is rarer; when Enzo sees particular potential in the fruit he will pick and vinify it separately. Having aged, this wine will be presented to friends and family at a party to determine whether it can live up to the label 'Bricco Sarmassa'. Unusually not vintage dependent, the proof of this wine is the palate.