95 insider Points
“Two thousand twelve is one of the most intriguing recent vintages in Barolo,” writes Vinous. And from James Suckling: “Most of the wines show ripe fruit and a balance of fine tannins that give them form and lustre. They’re not the hard-core tannic and acidic wines that some may prefer, but wines with harmony, flesh and appeal. You’ll be able to enjoy them for many years into the future—as well as right now.”
What a fantastic Barolo! When you pour a glass, you’ll notice a lovely rustic color with smoky aromas of tar and orange peel. The wine clearly spent a couple years in a barrel, and is showing spectacularly right now. This doesn’t mean you need to drink it right away; in fact, a wine with structure like this can easily cellar for another 15 years. The acidity is powerful and prominent, but not overly so, and the tannins are fine and coat the palate nicely. Sitting snugly in the embrace of these two elements is a real treasure of flavors; minced black cherries, sweet cedar, cocoa powder, and rose petals all contribute to this well-crafted wine. This is a noble wine, in both production and purpose, and we have a limited quantity available.
--Premier Sommelier Team
It helps to have friends in high places. Well, ok. To be precise, the hills of Barolo are not exactly staggeringly high mountain peaks, but Barolo DOCG--one of the world’s most collectible appellations—often reaches the pinnacle of grace and power and remains one of the most hauntingly memorable wine experiences that any serious oenophile might meet over years of tasting great wine.
This textbook Barolo came to us thanks to our friend Sebastiano Ramello, who personally selected this estate and gave us the green light to import La Collina Dei Re into the U.S. We’ve long known that if Sebastiano recommends it, it’s a very very good sign. And this bottle, from the fresh and accessible Barolo vintage of 2012 is, in fact, very very good.
Of course, it’s 100% Nebbiolo, arguably Italy’s most noble and long-lived varietals, done nowhere better than in the tony Barolo DOCG. Ramello sources fruit from vineyards in Serra Lunga d’Alba and Diano d’Alba and waits until the grapes are perfectly ripened—which this far north can occur as late as the last week of October. The wine matures for one year in tank before being gently transferred to barrel, which it ages slowly over another two years. Finally, after six months of rest in bottle, the wine is releases to the masses. Well, not exactly masses, as this limited Barolo was off limits to much of the world. Now, thanks to our exclusive Direct Import, at least our Members will be privy to this classic Northern Italian gem, along with those lucky enough to be invited to dinner!
Reasons why we love it:
Prior to the mid-19th century, Barolo was a sweet wine. This changed when the mayor of Grinzane Couver invited French enologist Louis Oudart to improve the region’s winemaking techniques, giving winemakers the ability to ferment Nebbiolo must completely dry. The result was the first modern Barolo, soon dubbed “the wine of kings, the king of wines.”
One of our good friend Sebastiano Ramello’s Wine Selections, this hails from primarily calcareous-clay soils in hills with slopes and orientations uniquely suited to the fickle Nebbiolo grape
This barolo deftly balances the open, radiant personality of the vintage with considerable underlying structure. Warm, dense and full-bodied, the Barolo flows effortlessly across the palate with generous fruit and fabulous overall balance.
The label that identifies this great Barolo round tannins and a spicy aftertaste was carried out by children, in collaboration with the painter Bebbe Grillo. Part of the profits will be donated to African Charitable Mission Ndugu Zangu in Kenya that takes care of orphaned children. The founder Luigi Panzeri, simply called mzee Luigi (Luigi grandfather), born in 1936, had his first contact with Africa in 1985. Since then, he has worked hard in all ways to help poor people in Kenya, especially those from the Samburu, still nomadic herders. In 1996, he moved permanently to Oldonyiro, in the middle of the savannah, where he founded the Ndugu Zangu Christian Community, which now houses and educates more than 200 children and orphans.
In addition to accommodation, the Community has a small hospital and primary school. Since 2001, he is also the organizer of the journeys of hope (Viaggi della Speranza): More than a hundred young people and children with heart problems have traveled to Italy to undergo surgery. Since 2010, his angels, heart patients, have also been hosted at the modern Salam Centre in Sudan made by Emergency. A large solidarity chain supports the work of Grandfather Luigi, who repeats to everyone: "We need the cooperation of many people with a big heart who know how to love humanity in suffering, especially the children.”
For this reason, the winery “Veglio Michelino & Figlio, La Collina Dei Re,” together with the Promote Association "Piemonte Sweet Home" and the international Wine Consultant Sebastiano Ramello, has decided to spread this project to the world through a great wine like Barolo DOCG.
Pair with pasta, roast game, and meats.