Curto Barolo La Foia
Curto Barolo La Foia

Curto Barolo La Foia

Piedmont, Italy 2017 (750mL)
Regular price$47.00

Curto Barolo La Foia

They don’t build ‘em like Curto anymore. Not only does local legend Marco Curto, now well into his eighties, do most of the pruning of the family’s heirloom vineyards, his daughter and winemaking heir, Nadia, re-affirms my long-held belief that artisanal Barolo is still perhaps the greatest value in the world of “fine wine.” Today’s 2017 is an especially great Barolo value from a relatively early-drinking vintage, so you not only get a deal but instant gratification to boot.

Tasting this lush, seductive, unquestionably “La Morra” Barolo—this village is known for the most perfumed, finessed wines in the appellation—I’m overcome by shock and awe: as in, I’m shocked by how low the price is for a wine that is this awesome. There’s an ocean of more-expensive wine out there that doesn’t even come close! Equally exciting (for us) is that SommSelect is one of the few places you can find this wine, so you know what to do…pounce!

Please also note that this isn’t some upstart label with no track record. Nadia’s father, Marco, long sold fruit from his well-placed vineyards to others. The family’s holdings include a parcel in the grand cru-equivalent “Arborina” vineyard, a site which is also farmed by her legendary uncle, Elio Altare (among others). After seizing the opportunity to apprentice with Altare—who also, like so many grand old men of Barolo, has handed the reins over to daughters, not sons—Nadia convinced eighty-something Marco to begin estate-bottling. Her approach in both the vineyards and the cellar is resolutely natural and traditional, with organic certification pending for the vineyards and only used, large-format barrels in the cellar. She uses only ambient yeasts to initiate fermentations and endeavors to use as little sulfur as possible, adding the minimum-possible amount only at bottling.

“La Foia” means “leaf” in Piedmontese dialect, and is the name of the estate’s ‘base’ Barolo bottling (they also bottle a single-vineyard wine from Arborina). It is aged for more than 24 months in botti (large barrels) of 25- and 30-hectoliter capacity, bottled unfined and unfiltered, then aged 12 months in bottle before release.

Like many of the other 2017s we’ve showcased so far, the 2017 is an earlier-drinking style—the product of a hot, early vintage in Piedmont. It’s not a 30-year wine (or vintage), but there’s a good 5-7 years of delicious drinking ahead of it (and likely more). In the glass, it’s a deep garnet-red moving to pink and orange at the rim, with a bursting bouquet of flowers, fruit, and earth: cherry kirsch, juicy red currant, blood orange, wet rose petals, violets, sandalwood, grilled herbs, leather, and woodsy underbrush. Medium-plus in body and lushly textured (by Nebbiolo standards), it has a bright, lush quality and really starts to shine after 30 minutes or so in a decanter. If I were asked to open what I consider to be a “textbook” La Morra Barolo, I’d eagerly reach for this one. Serve it at 60-65 degrees in large Burgundy stems and pair its aromatic charms with an herb-crusted pork loin drizzled with pan gravy. (PS: This would also be a stellar Thanksgiving wine). Do yourself a favor, too, and stock up—one bottle is not going to be enough!

Curto Barolo La Foia

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