Ettore Germano, Serralunga d’Alba – outsanding new releases.
Ettore Germano, Serraunga d’Alba, Piemonte.
I first visited Sergio Germano two decades ago when he was a (even more) youthful, ambitious and, clearly, highly skilled winemaker. Some of his wines were already excellent, others were still finding their feet but the potential was obvious. Since then, I have made another couple of visits and followed his progress with a keen eye and offered his wines occasionally. Over the past three years or so, he has started to gain the international recognition he so clearly deserves and I am delighted to be able to offer his latest Barolo releases, as good a set of fine Barolo as anyone could wish for. I must mention the prices, which are very reasonable given the quality and especially as he now appears to have broken through into the ‘premier league’. Long may they remain so. Just stunning.
Although the family has owned vineyards in the area since 1856, it was Ettore Germano, Sergio’s father, who began to renovate the vineyards in the 1960s and then produce his own wine, rather than just selling the grapes. Having taken over the reins in the mid-nineties, Sergio Germano has continued to develop the property, both by expanding the vineyards and steadily raising the quality of his Barolo.
As with all great winemakers, Sergio is obsessed – almost manic about detail. The vines are lovingly cared for, the grapes handled with the greatest delicacy to give them every chance to make a great wine. Fermentation takes place in stainless steel tanks kept at a constant 25° C, followed by maceration for a period of 20–60 days, depending on the wine and the vintage, and then ageing in oak barrels of various sizes for 18–36 months.
Price is under bond UK per 6 x 75cl. Wines due to arrive later in July. All wines offered subject to remaining available.
10% discount on 4 cases (of 6) or more.
2017 Barolo del Comune di Serralunga d’Alba – £185
The soil of Serralunga is unique, strata of grey marl alternate with sandstone composed of almost cement-like siliceous sand; the presence of calcium carbonate and iron gives the soil a reddish-grey colour and, in the hands of masters such as Sergio Germano (a true exponent of Serralunga), the wines produced are full of energy and muscular elegance. For his Serralunga, he takes grapes from the younger vineyards in Prapò, Cerretta and Lazzarito – the first fermentation is in stainless steel and lasts for about 20 days, on the skins. This is followed by 24 months in large tonneaux of various woods, followed by 15 to 18 months in bottle before release.
Deep, bright red, like glowing embers. On the nose, which takes a while to open up, fraise, cherry, violets, rose and earthy spice. The palate reflects the nose, delicate red fruit, savoury notes with good concentration, power and depth – the tannins are powerful, fine and beautifully integrated. Long finish. It is a superb Barolo.
With some 9,500 bottles made, the Ettore Germano estate submits this wine as proof of its expertise in Serralunga d’Alba Nebbiolo. The 2017 Barolo del Comune di Serralunga d’Alba reveals tight red fruit, with waxy cherry and cassis at the front. Those primary tones cede to spice, rusty iron, crushed stone, grilled herb and rosemary essence. The wine shows lots of dimension and a clear, linear style. Rating 93 Drink Date 2023 – 2038 Reviewed by Monica Larner Issue Date 17th Jun 2021 Source June 2021 Week 3, The Wine Advocate **Ettore Germano has taken ambitious leaps and bounds toward greater quality and consistency in this impressive group of new releases.
2017 Barolo ‘Ceretta’ – £295
This is a 3.2 ha vineyard, with the oldest vines planted in 1949, 1963 and the most recent in 1995. The soil here is limestone rich and lies between 350 and 400 metres. As usual, the grapes are hand harvested and transported in small baskets to the winery, where they are de-stemmed and lightly crushed to undergo alcoholic fermentation in steel tanks. The maceration will take place for about 40-45 days with several pump overs happening daily, and also the occasional délastage, to encourage extraction of colour and tannins. After racking and malo-lactic fermentation, the wine is then placed into medium-sized oak barrels of various ages for 18 to 24 months before bottling. The wine is released after 12 months in bottle.
Bright garnet, orange hints. Touch of oak on the nose, red berry fruits, violet, tobacco leaf, savoury notes. Full-bodied, structured wine – red and black fruits, spice, earth – lovely.
The Ettore Germano 2017 Barolo Cerretta shows a shiny ruby color and lots of ambient light. The bouquet is nuanced and detailed, with cassis, dried cranberry, camphor ash and crushed flowers. This wine excels in terms of texture, thanks to that twofold combination of structure and elegant silkiness. This is a sharply chiseled and focused Cerretta release of some 75,000 bottles. Rating 94 Drink Date 2024 – 2040 Reviewed by Monica Larner Issue Date 17th Jun 2021 Source June 2021 Week 3, The Wine Advocate
2017 Barolo Prapò – £295
A younger (oldest vines planted in 1967) one and a half hectare vineyard at about 350 to 370 meters, the soil is clay, limestone with layers of sand. Pretty much identical treatment to Cerreto except the wine is placed into ‘botti grandi’ between 2000 and 2500 litres, where it sits for 18 to 24 months before bottling, the wine is released 12 months later.
Lovely bright, deep red colour, touch orange. On the nose the red fruits seem riper, whole berries, with subtle earthy spice and oak. There is a sense of harmony and balance in the month, ripe fruit and savoury notes are balanced by the structure and acidity. The tannins are fine – the finish is sustained and balanced. Fine. It always feels approachable now.
A 9,000-bottle release, the 2017 Barolo Prapò is chiseled and whetted with a fine and carefully measured combination of fruit weight, structural power and mineral freshness. The bouquet offers cassis, wild plum, baked clay brick and camphor ash. The wine settles smoothly onto the palate and shows impressive integration with no rough edges to be found. Rating 95 Drink Date 2024 – 2040 Reviewed by Monica Larner Issue Date 17th Jun 2021 Source June 2021 Week 3, The Wine Advocate
2015 Barolo Lazzarito Riserva – £395
This is a steal, really. A small limestone and marl (plus a small percentage of sand) 0.8 ha vineyard planted in 1931 at about 350 m. This vineyard produces small amounts of incredible wines. It has a slightly longer maceration and goes into botti grande after the malo for 36 months before bottling.
Bright, clear garnet colour with orange reflections. The nose is of whole red, sweet berries, spice, rose and herbal notes. This is seriously impressive in the mouth, layers of ripe fruits, spice and powerful velvety tannins – gorgeous. The finish is long and balanced. Love it.
The 2015 Barolo Riserva Lazzarito (with fruit from Serralunga d’Alba) shows a generous, full-bodied consistency, with dark fruit, spice, baking clove and other dustings of exotic spice, such as cardamom and clove. That spiciness washes through the bouquet, and you can feel it on the palate, where the wine is structured and firm. Some 4,500 bottles were released. Rating 94 Drink Date 2024 – 2040 Reviewed by Monica Larner Issue Date 17th Jun 2021 Source June 2021 Week 3, The Wine Advocate
2016 Barolo Vigna Rionda – £595
Vigna Rionda is the most famous vineyard in Serralunga and Sergio was able to purchase half a hectare in 2010 from Aldo and Tommaso Canale, and replanted it in 2012. Until 2015 it was sold as Langhe Nebbiolo. It is marl and limestone, south-facing at about 300 to 350 meters. The grapes are not de-stemmed and the wine has a maceration of 30 days, after malo going into botti grandi for 18 to 24 months before bottling.
Bright colour – this has all the energy and lifted fruit of young vines, quite savoury, earthy. More cherry fruit, soft berries, very clean, elegant wine with bright acidity and moreish tannins which coat the mouth. It has the stunning depth and breadth of flavour which so typify this famous vineyard. It is amazing quality for such young vines, like having a puppy that’s turned up fully trained. Marvellous.
Don’t miss this wine. From a celebrated site in Serralunga d’Alba, the Ettore Germano 2016 Barolo Vignarionda is a relatively new entry. In fact, this release of about 2,700 bottles is the second vintage produced. These results are nothing short of excellent. This wine is focused and sharp, with an exacting quality of fruit that recalls redcurrant and wild plum. Drying mineral notes with iron ore, baked clay and smoky licorice are folded within the wine’s silky tight texture. Rating 96 Drink Date 2024 – 2045 Reviewed by Monica Larner Issue Date 17th Jun 2021 Source June 2021 Week 3, The Wine Advocate