Luigi Vico, Barolo "Prapo"
Luigi Vico, Barolo "Prapo"

Luigi Vico, Barolo "Prapo"

Piedmont, Italy 2019 (750mL)
Regular price$89.00

Luigi Vico, Barolo "Prapo"

Talk about checking all the boxes: Take fruit from a Grand Cru-equivalent vineyard, from one of the greatest vintages in recent memory, and put it in the hands of one of your region’s top talents. The result? A Barolo for the ages from Luigi Vico. To look at the label, you’d think it came from one of the region’s oldest wineries. In fact, Vico’s name didn’t appear on a bottle until 2016. This single-vineyard bottling from “Prapò,” one of the most famous crus in Luigi’s native village of Serralunga d’Alba, is undoubtedly a new high-water mark for this up-and-coming estate: 2019 is being hailed as a historically good vintage, and this exceptionally refined wine does it proud. It’s downright operatic in its aromatic expression, and it’s got the kind of impeccable balance that makes it tantalizingly accessible now. Perhaps you take a handful of bottles so you can get at least one shot at it now before losing the rest in your cellar—or, you can more than “make do” with Vico’s exceptional Langhe Nebbiolo, also on offer today. Either way, you win. This is Nebbiolo at its very best! 

Vico, a native of Serralunga d’Alba—where his family’s piece of the “Prapò” cru headlines his five-acre heirloom collection—had long ago left agriculture behind for a life in Turin, but felt like the time had come to reconnect with his Barolo roots. Vineyards he had once helped his grandparents maintain during summers off from school were nearing the end of long-term rental contracts, meaning that he could re-take control of them and make a wine bearing the Vico name. With the help of a talented neighbor—Davide Rosso, of the famed Giovanni Rosso winery—he did just that. 

Barolo drinkers know very well that there isn’t much “newness” in the region. For the most part, the same families have remained in the same places since before wines came in bottles with labels. When a new label does appear on the scene, it usually has a backstory like that of Vico’s: long-established vignaioli (vine-growers) decide to keep some of their prized fruit for themselves. To “put their name on the door,” so to speak. But again, it’s not like they’re starting from zero: We’re talking about beautifully positioned Nebbiolo vines in the heart of one of the world’s most legendary winemaking villages. There are no guarantees in life, but this is about as close as it gets.

Farming is Certified Organic, and, to maintain biodiversity, Vico has kept fruit trees planted at the end of each vine row—a nod to the land’s prior use as an orchard. “Prapò,” a vineyard designation that has appeared on many famous labels (including Pio Cesare and Ceretto), is a rare east-facing site in Serralunga, where most vineyards are oriented west. This might explain the relatively fine-grained tannins in this wine, as compared to the often-burly styles Serralunga is known for.

The 2019 was again vinified under the watchful eye of Davide Rosso. The style is resolutely traditional: De-stemmed fruit from 30+-year-old vines was macerated on skins for an extended period during fermentation, after which the wine is aged in 25-hectoliter French oak casks before bottling. It is a silky, perfumed style—somewhat atypical for Serralunga, in fact—but well-structured for extended aging. It’s a deep garnet-red in the glass and sends up a blast of woodsy aromas from the glass: black and red raspberries, dried cherry, cranberry, red currant, blood orange, violets, roses, leather, wild herbs, and a full dose of textbook “tar and roses” savor. If you are enjoying a bottle now, be sure to give it a good hour of air before serving at 60-65 degrees in large Burgundy stems. Food, too, is a necessity if you’re pulling the cork on this soon: This is exactly the kind of wine they invented Brasato al Barolo for, so look no further than the attached recipe. (And no, you should NOT use actual Barolo in the recipe!)

Luigi Vico, Barolo "Prapo"

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