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International Trophy Red Italian Varietals over £15 – Rivetto, Leon, Barolo Riserva, Piedmont, Italy 2009

An archetypal Barolo; imposing and dazzling with a layered nose of freshly dug earth, truffles, leather, ink, balsamic notes, dried flowers and ripe cherry. The mouth is very long, blessed with vibrant, rich fruit, breezy acidity and a lovely kick of liquorice on the finish (14.5%).
£63.25 Ellis of Richmond

THIS BENCHMARK BAROLO was a universal favourite with our judging panel, picked out of a classy line-up covering all points of the Italian compass. They described it as a classic wine of perfume and balance that marries tradition to modern techniques without allowing one to overshadow the other.

Enrico Rivetto, a fourth-generation Langhe winemaker whose great-grandfather set up shop in the centre of Alba in 1902, has strong views on modern technology. Among the good, he says, is the internet, which allows him to reach people all over the world through social media and his blog – Rivetto claims to be the first Langhe producer with a blog and website translated into English, Russian, Portuguese and Chinese.

And the bad technology? Anything that makes life too easy for people working the vines: Rivetto eschews the use of any chemical treatments in the vineyards, which are due to receive organic certification next year.

‘You have to trust the vineyard,’ he says of his estate located in Serralunga d’Alba, where rich clay and marl soils endow this wine with the richness, power and elegance so typical of the area. ‘This is why our winemaking is minimalist: sometimes we think it’s better not to take action.

’ As for the name of this wine, it recalls the habit of the older folk in the Langhe of referring to the wines of Serralunga as ‘powerful like a lion’ – leon the local dialect version of the Italian leone.

IMG_5410 copia

Enrico Rivetto eschews chemicals in his vineyard and will get organic certification in 2016

Tasted against

Bindi Sergardi, Calidonia, Chianti Classico Riserva, Tuscany, Italy 2011 • Cecchetto, Gelsaia, Piave Malanotte, Veneto, Italy 2011 • Grasso Fratelli, Vallegrande, Barbaresco Riserva, Piedmont, Italy 2008 • Quintodecimo, Riserva, Taurasi, Campania, Italy 2010 • Tenute Silvio Nardi, Vigneto Manachiara, Brunello di Montalcino, Tuscany, Italy 2010 • Tinazzi, Selezione di Famiglia, Amarone della Valpolicella, Veneto, Italy 2012.

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