It is really interesting to search and discover new things about wine. There is so much about it out there that it seems to be a sin not to taste new things, just to stay true to one particular style of wine. It is also said that to some wines, you arrive to them only when you are ready. Maybe it is a matter of getting a good wine education in terms of tasting and tasting, maybe it is about age, who knows… They say you arrive to Burgundy wines in France, Jerez wines in Spain and Barolo wines in Italy in due time. And it seems to be true.
We are still in our way arriving to Barolo wines. We haven’t tasted that many yet, as with other DOs, but we have started educating our palate and our tasting buds to Barolos. In the beginning it was no easy, a persistent acidity in them, but when you have valuable help it becomes easier. And with help we mean when you find a winery that produces wines you instantly fall in love with. In one of our Wine Tasting Club sessions last year we had the privilege of enjoying two of their wines: Barolo Bricco Boschis 2010 and Barolo Riserva Vignolo 2008. Two excellent wines.
Tenuta Viniviticola Cavallotto is this winery. Two things call our attention about them. The first one is that it has always been run by one family and after the first generation, always by siblings. The second one is that part of the property is carved inside one hill, the one that gives name to the Barolo Riserva wine: Bricco Boschis.
Giacomo Cavallotto acquired the property in 1928. Giacomo’s sons, Giuseppe and Marcello, started working in the estate and they were of key importance for the development as winemakers of Giuseppe’s sons, Olivio and Gildo, as they began to vinify the estate’s entire grape production in 1948 to be sold as Cavallotto wines. Years later, in 1967 the first bottle of Barolo wine named Bricco Boschis came to the market, labelled after the name of the hill the estate is located. After Olivio, his children took care of the business: Laura, Alfio and Giuseppe.
In 1970 more vineyards were acquired for the estate: Vigna San Giuseppe, Colle Sudovest, Punta Marcello and Vigna Cuculo.
The family owns now 25 hectares of vineyards. More than half of that (17 ha) is planted with Nebbiolo for the Barolo wines. The average yield is of 38 hl/ha. Then three hectares are planted with Dolcetto and two more with Barbera. The rest of the vineyard land is planted with Freisa, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Grignolino.
The vines are trained according to the traditional Guyot Basso method. Each hectare has a density of around 5000 vines.
In 1976 the Cavallottos introduced an agronomic practice that would allow them to abandon the use of chemical pesticides: the use of predatory insects to control the destructive red spider mites. Since then, the vineyards of Bricco Boschis have produced healthy, ripe fruit without using any kind of pesticides. They also use natural grass growing between the rows of vines as native cover crops. This brought two major benefits: the use of herbicides and tractor for tilling were discontinued and at the same time the grass and lack of plowing helped reduce the erosion of the vineyards due to water runoff during thunderstorms. The grass is mowed twice a year and it also serves as natural compost allowing the growth of bacterial microflora underground. Alfio and Giuseppe Cavallotto are both enologists and all their work is done according to a deep respect for the land. All labor in the vineyards is performed by hand.
In the cantina, the four major rooms are carved inside the hill. The Vinification Room, the Fermentation Room with both concrete and steel tanks, the Ageing Cellars with untoasted Slavonian oak botti (from 20 to 100 hectoliters) and the Bottling Area.
Cavallotto makes wines from two Barolo cru. The first cru is the Bricco Boschis from where the Barolo Bricco Boschis and the Barolo Riserva Bricco Boschis Vigna San Giuseppe come. The second cru is the Vignolo, where the Barolo Riserva Vignolo is produced.
They also produce Langhe Nebbiolo, Barbera d’Alba Vigna del Cuculo, Dolcetto d’Alba Vigna Scot, Langhe Freisa, Langhe Grign made with Grignolino, Langhe Chardonnay and a Pinner made from Pinot Noir.
We will talk soon to the winemaking Cavallotto brothers.
This is the story of one family, one cellar and one unique hill: the Bricco Boschis and the Cavallotto Winery.
Photos © by Tenuta Cavallotto