Through the eyes of Luca Monchiero we can gain an insight into the region and the traditional ways of crafting Barolo wines.... Only Burgundy rivals the Barolo zones’ ability to taste terroir through its wines produced. Barolo manages to captivate collectors, sommeliers and avid wine fanatics. It's mesmeric and intricate and sometimes difficult to get your head around. At Cépage, we have a strong admiration for the wines made by Monchiero, stocking two Barolo and a Nebbiolo d'Alba. Though, nothing we can say can quite do the beautiful region of Piedmonte justice...
There are a plethora of reasons why Barolo is magical to so many. An extremely unique set of soils which hugely impacts the flavour and structure of the wines crafted is certainly one of these reasons, in addition to traditional techniques and winemaker stardom. Subtle nuances are created as you move from vineyard to vineyard, village to village, similar to Burgundy. Barolo can be split into two distinct zones. To the east, the Serralunga Valley is rich in sandstone and yields more full bodied, tannic and structured bottles. To the west, the Central Valley is rich in calcareous soil and clay. The wines from the Central Valley tend to be more floral and highly aromatic - a beautiful style, demonstrating the nuances of the Barolo zone.
The traditional method many winemakers favour in order to harbour that 'Barolo style' is called Capo Sommerso, an extended extraction of the Nebbiolo grape ensures maximum intensity of tannin and flavour from the grape, which makes it so long lived. Our two Barolos from Monchiero are from the 2016 vintage, not least because 2016 in Piedmont and Tuscany alike saw some astonishing results!
In the 1950s, two Monchiero brothers were selling their grapes grown in the central, hallowed commune of Faletto di Castiglione. Thankfully for us, they turned their hand to winemaking in the 80s, still continuing today. Monchiero is a no-brainer for us at Cépage, reflecting the traditional style to a tee whilst ensuring you're not paying over the odds, but guaranteeing a supremely high level of quality is there.
What makes the terroir of Barolo so special? Is it only the types of clay, or other factors too?
The characteristic who makes Barolo terroir and region so interesting is the different geological era that we can find in the soils of our vineyards. Not as many thinks the clay or either the sand or the limestone, but the melting pot of those three ingredients and the different age of the soils.
Is there a translation for Monchiero, or is it the family name?
It's our surname and has a piedmontese origin, probably originally from France (200-300 y.a.)
Describe the winemaking philosophy at Monchiero?
Always focused on the production of pleasant and balanced wines. Mostly traditional method with a good use of low temperature before, during and after the vinification.
Using wood or concrete or stainless stell as we prefer without a schematic process
What is your favourite vintage for Barolo and why?
One of our favourite Barolo vintage is 2008. Which for us the most ready vintage today.
Besides Barolo and Piedmonte, what are your favourite wine regions of the world?
We mostly appreciate the wine region where the indigenous varieties are respected and used to produce wine how show the terroir
Do you use Slavonian wood? How does it benefit Nebbiolo?
We use Slavonian or Austrian, the benefits are multiple, but the most important for our cellar is the finesse that we can get from those kind of wood.
Are you noticing changes in the climate to when you first started?
Everyday and we have to understand that we can’t FIGHT the climate change, but we can FACE it.
What is your favourite local food and wine pairing?
-Dolcetto, Salami and cheese
Do you have a winemaker who was a mentor to you, or an inspiration?
There have been many inspiration: Beppe Colla, Bruno Giacosa, Gigi Rosso..
Is the market becoming more difficult with Barolo because of people wanting to collect, rather than drink?
We always ask to our customer/friends to drink the wines either when young. Cause wine can create strong link between people