2016 Le Pianelle Bramaterra, Piedmont, Italy

2016 Le Pianelle Bramaterra, Piedmont, Italy



This small producer’s signature wine!  Cristiano Garella is a leading winemaker in this area with a number of vintages under his belt. His style is clean but transparent, his goal being to maximize the native character and flavors from this very distinctive Nebbiolo terroir. This Bramaterra shows some of the wiry structure typical of the appellation, but also a broad range of generous flavors (tobacco-leaf, sandalwood, red fruits); it is ripe but also very fresh in acidity, a hallmark of this region, age worthy but drinkable when young too. If you love Nebbiolo you should try it. Lovers of Barolo/Barbaresco will have noticed that Bramaterra is typically blended with Vespolina and Croatina, whereas B/B are always 100% Nebbiolo. Croatina gives deeply colored, fairly tannic wines with tea-leaf and red berry notes; Vespolina is medium to dark red in color, and shows very distinctive bright berry and herbal notes. Ian d’Agata describes Vespolina as ‘one of Italy’s best grape varieties,’ high praise from this expert. Vespolina has great promise as a varietal wine in its own right. Cristiano says that he does blending trials of these wines with and without the Vespolina and Croatina, and always prefers the traditional blend. This Bramaterra is a bottling of only the best barrels from their vineyard.

Details: 80% Nebbiolo, 10% Vespolina, 10% Croatina

Vineyards: planted at between 270-380 meters above sea level (900-1,250 feet), in a combination of yellow-orange marine sand and brownish porphyric sand of volcanic origin. Vines were planted in 2007-8. No use of chemical fertilizer or herbicide.

Winemaking: the grapes were destemmed, pressed, fermented in conical wooden fermenters, with a total maceration of 20 days (Croatina), 26 days (Vespolina) and 34 days (Nebbiolo). The Nebbiolo is then aged for 20 months in large barrels before bottling, while the Vespolina and Croatina are aged for the same period of time in used barriques. Normally only two rackings are necessary, to preserve the aromatic integrity of the wine.

Antonio Galloni rated 94-97 points – “The 2016 Bramaterra is drop-dead gorgeous. Utterly captivating in its aromatics and inner sweetness the 2016 is insanely beautiful. Sweet red cherry candy iron graphite rose petal and blood orange are some of the many notes that come alive with a bit of aeration. I tasted the 2016 from two core lots separately and then in a hypothetical blend. It is a hugely promising wine.”  Now you decide!


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