San Fereolo, “Austri” Rosso
San Fereolo, “Austri” Rosso

San Fereolo, “Austri” Rosso

Piedmont, Italy 2006 (750mL)
Regular price$55.00
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San Fereolo, “Austri” Rosso

Alright everyone, here’s your moment to secure one of Italy’s most rarefied treasures: Nicoletta Bocca’s 2006 “Austri” library release, an awe-inspiring red that will easily go down as one of the year’s most memorable Piedmontese offers. This 17-year-old masterpiece is the Barbera grape at its finest, purest, and most profound; it is, quite simply, Barbera reimagined. But as you can likely guess, a feat of this distinction does not come easily. Nicoletta toils to an almost supernatural degree, doing what 99.9% of the world’s winemakers don’t: comprehensive biodynamic farming, extended maturation in large barrels, and at least four additional years of bottle aging before release.

On rare occasions, though, she’ll hold back an especially age-worthy vintage to ensure its haunting aromatics and broodingly savory layers are experienced in the exact right drinking window. That’s how today’s mature, spellbinding gem came to fruition. Bottom line, if you stay current with the “underground” Italian wine scene, San Fereolo’s 2006 “Austri” is one of those gotta-have, blink-and-miss white whales. NOTE: This special offer is expected to arrive at our warehouse in 2-3 weeks.

Despite growing up in Milan and working in fashion, Nicoletta’s purchase of the estate in 1992 wasn’t to fulfill some fanciful dream. She felt duty-bound to the terroir here, the classic wines, the steadfast tradition. Still, the word “tradition” is subjective, and great wines often challenge the consensus about a given variety or region. For instance, many wine professionals feel that Barbera is not a grape that benefits appreciably from extended cellar aging. These same individuals might also argue that the soils in the Piedmontese village of Dogliani speak most clearly through one variety, alone: Dolcetto. “Austri” defies both of these common misconceptions and I think that makes the world of wine all the better for it. This is a Barbera—the “wrong” grape for the village of Dogliani—that has clearly ascended to greatness due in no small part to natural farming and extended aging. This doesn’t just disrupt the status quo, it shatters it.

The story of this bottling begins in the 1,300-foot-high “Austri” vineyard in the subzone of Valdiberti. This is an ancient, painstakingly farmed limestone vineyard that adheres strictly to the tenets of biodynamics. Because of the stellar, time-tested location and the chemical-free nature of farming, the fruit produced here possesses exceptional personality and energy. Seemingly, this Barbera has more of everything—more depth, more fruit, and more intensity. 

In the cellar, Nicoletta takes pains to preserve and never mask the wine’s character: fruit is fermented in large, neutral Slavonian oak; there is no temperature control; additives and commercial yeasts are avoided. “Austri” is always allowed to develop for no less than seven years before release, but as you can see, this back-vintage beauty was held back nearly 2.5x longer. Note: Because this is a bottling of 95% Barbera and 5% Nebbiolo it does not qualify for the Dogliani appellation (which focuses exclusively on Dolcetto), so it is instead funneled into the broader “Langhe” DOC designation. 

This is an outrageously impressive showing, undoubtedly a top two favorite out of the 10+ “Austri” vintages I’ve tasted. It reads like a gutsy, ferocious Bordeaux that hardly hints at its 17 years of age, but the structured palate and rugged layers ultimately point towards wonderfully Piedmontese origins. The explosive nose reveals roasted black cherry, black raspberry, cassis, baked plum, tar, black rock, muddled herbs, charred rose, leather, and hints of cacao. The medium-plus-bodied palate sits atop a wild and brawny frame full of sleek tannins—that took every bit of 17 years to integrate—and a generous core of roasted wild berries. It’s an absolute pleasure to savor, and my bottle only improved after three hours. This is not slowing down anytime soon. Enjoy! 

San Fereolo, “Austri” Rosso


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, 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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