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Fratelli Alessandria, Barolo del Comune di VerdunoPiedmont, Italy 2018 (750mL)

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Fratelli Alessandria, Barolo del Comune di Verduno Piedmont, Italy 2018 (750mL)

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Much as this wine inspires poetry, I’m going to keep it prosaic: This is a ridiculous deal for a top-tier Barolo. The village of Verduno, one of the 11 communes that make up the Barolo appellation, has been having a moment lately, thanks not only to Fratelli Alessandria but to its legendary neighbor, G.B. Burlotto—but while Burlotto’s prices have skyrocketed, Alessandria’s have remained accessible. 


Critic Antonio Galloni once dubbed Fratelli Alessandria “one of Piedmont’s under-the-radar jewels,” which is both true and confounding: How can this consistently excellent producer, whose brand-name vineyard holdings rival anyone’s, still be flying under the radar? They certainly haven’t flown under ours (we’ve probably offered every wine they make), and when it comes to the more finessed, perfumed—sure I’ll say it, “Burgundian”—side of Barolo, Alessandria is probably the first name out of my mouth. Today’s 2018 is only the second vintage of this “del Comune di Verduno” bottling, combining fruit from a wide assortment of prime vineyards in their home village. It’s a stunner, and an outright steal—delicious now but built for extended cellaring.



The labeling of wines with a “comune di” (“from the village of…”) designation is a fairly recent innovation in the Barolo area, created to further cement the importance of place-specificity in consumers’ minds. The Alessandria estate, which has been in the same family since 1870, includes about 12 hectares of vineyards, most of them in Verduno. Essentially an extension of the La Morra vineyard area, with similar eastern (and sometimes northern) exposures, Verduno is home to at least one bona-fide “grand cru”—a site called “Monvigliero”—which Fratelli Alessandria counts among its diverse holdings. 


In past Alessandria offers, I’ve compared their Barolos, and those of Verduno in general, to red Burgundies from Chambolle-Musigny. Like Burgundy, Barolo is such a well-developed, carefully mapped wine zone that specific villages are identified with certain styles of wine. Burgundy aficionados identify Chambolle-Musigny, for example, for the most perfumed and silky Pinot Noirs; Gevrey-Chambertin for a deeper, more “masculine” take; and so on. Barolo devotees look to Serralunga for more brooding, mineral intensity; Monforte for sheer depth; and La Morra and Verduno for more finessed and fruity takes on the Nebbiolo grape.


Alessandro and Vittore Alessandria (father and son, not fratelli) source all the fruit for this bottling from estate vineyards in Verduno (to carry the “di comune” designation, at least 85% of the grapes must come from the stated village). Hand-harvested grapes are de-stemmed, fermented on ambient yeasts in stainless steel, then transferred to large Slavonian and French oak casks (20- to 40-hectoliter capacity) for three years. After cask aging, the wine is transferred back to tank for two months, then to bottle for six, before it is released. Once again, I’m compelled to mention: think of all that craftsmanship, patience, and investment when you consider the $59 price!


This 2018 displays a deep garnet-red core with hints of pink at the rim. The aromas show off Nebbiolo’s inimitable array of fruity and savory notes: black cherry, red currant, raspberry, blood orange, fennel, leather, dried rose petals, sandalwood, and a truffle-y, forest-floor earthiness. Medium-plus in body, its tannins are powerful yet perfectly integrated, especially after 60 minutes in a decanter—it is spicy and savory, but also refined and drinkable, with a long and aromatic finish. These wines are always tantalizingly approachable when young, but I wouldn’t hesitate to age it for 10+ years if you’re so inclined—it is floral, complex, and truly spot-on in every way. Serve this in your best 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!




Fratelli Alessandria, Barolo del Comune di Verduno Piedmont, Italy 2018 - SommSelect

  • CountryItaly
  • RegionPiedmont
  • Sub-RegionBarolo / Verduno
  • SoilClay & Marl
  • FarmingOrganic
  • BlendNebbiolo
  • Alcohol14.5%
  • OakLarge Slavonian & French Casks

  • CountryItaly
  • RegionPiedmont
  • Sub-RegionBarolo / Verduno
  • SoilClay & Marl
  • FarmingOrganic
  • BlendNebbiolo
  • Alcohol14.5%
  • OakLarge Slavonian & French Casks
  • Temp.Serve at 60-65° F
  • GlasswareBurgundy Stems
  • DrinkingNow-2033+
  • Decanting60 Minutes
  • PairingVeal w/ Mushroom-Truffle Sauce