Diego Morra, Barolo “Monvigliero”
Diego Morra, Barolo “Monvigliero”

Diego Morra, Barolo “Monvigliero”

Piedmont, Italy 2017 (750mL)
Regular price$90.00
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Diego Morra, Barolo “Monvigliero”

Wine experts have been comparing Barolo and Burgundy for ages now. The cultures are a lot alike, in that both regions are famous for their meticulous mapping of their greatest single vineyard sites. The Burgundians have the term “cru” to attach to these prime locations (Grand Cru, Premier Cru), and the Barolesi were content to co-opt that until they came up with their own term: MGA (for Menzione Geografica Aggiuntiva).

Today we’re singling out the MGA “Monvigliero” for special recognition. If you read anything about Barolo wines at all, you’ve heard the name, because it rings out. If MGAs were ranked (as they are in Burgundy), Monvigliero would be at the top, as in Grand Cru top, and, as the largest single owner of vines in Monvigliero, Diego Morra is in the catbird seat. Even in a challenging (i.e. hot, very early harvest) vintage like 2017, Monvigliero delivered a wine of sublime elegance and soaring Nebbiolo perfume. This place, this producer, this price…it all adds up to what I consider one of the greatest wines of the vintage. Sneak one now and save a handful for later, at a price that would seem quaint over in Burgundy for a wine of similar pedigree.

The Morras, Diego and Francesca, also employ the French-ified term “reasoned struggle” (a.k.a. “lutte raisonée”) to describe their farming practices: there are no herbicides, no pesticides, and a sincere commitment to organics and biodiversity. Their winery is headquartered in Verduno, the northern-most of the Barolo DOCG’s 11 communes, and their 25 hectares of vines spread across Verduno, Roddi, and La Morra. As noted above, Morra owns the biggest chunk of the Monvigliero vineyard, sourcing from heirloom vines that average 40 years of age.

The Monvigliero site has a wide range of southerly expositions, essentially swooping around from southeast to southwest, and reaches to about 300 meters of elevation. It measures about 39 hectares in total, relatively small by MGA standards, but the number of producers who bottle a wine from the site is a who’s-who of top producers. The wines from here have a reputation for finding a sweet spot combination of power and finesse—which sounds kind of implausible when you see those words on a page but is fascinatingly, thrillingly plausible in the glass.

Morra’s Monvigliero was fermented in stainless steel tanks, during which time it was macerated on its skins for about 30 days. The finished wine was aged for 10 months in French oak tonneaux, then transferred to larger barrels (2,500L) for 20 more months. But wait, there’s more: following its time in oak, the wine was transferred back to tank for six months, then to bottle for another nine before its initial release.

Which is to say this: This is still a “young” wine by Barolo standards, but it is already well-knit and drinking beautifully. It’s a deep garnet-red in the glass, with lifted scents of black cherry, red currant, raspberry, blood orange, fennel, leather, dried rose petals, sandalwood, and a truffle-y, forest-floor earthiness. Medium-plus in body, it shows some of the heat of 2017 in its slightly sappy texture, but it remains well-framed by acid and tannin. It would make for a good short-term ager (3-5 years), but it’s firing on all cylinders now so don’t hesitate. Serve it in large Burgundy stems at 60-65 degrees and sip it slowly alongside the attached veal recipe, which incorporates black truffles (easier to find than Piedmont’s famous white ones). This wine and that pan sauce were meant for each other. Enjoy!

Diego Morra, Barolo “Monvigliero”


Northwestern Italy


Italy’s Piedmont region is really a wine “nation”unto itself, producing world-class renditions of every type of wine imaginable: red, white, sparkling, sweet...you name it! However, many wine lovers fixate on the region’s most famous appellations—Barolo and Barbaresco—and the inimitable native red that powers these wines:Nebbiolo.



The area known as “Chianti” covers a major chunk of Central Tuscany, from Pisa to Florence to Siena to Arezzo—and beyond. Any wine with “Chianti” in its name is going to contain somewhere between 70% to 100% Sangiovese, and there are eight geographically specific sub-regions under the broader Chianti umbrella.

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