Piedmont Perfection

At the bottom of the Alps, Piedmont (quite literally foot-hills) borders France and Switzerland at the north-west corner of Italy; a gastronomic paradise famed for white truffles, hazelnuts, Juventus but above all Nebbiolo, the grape responsible for Italy's greatest red wines, Barolo and Barbaresco. Throw in Barbera d'Alba, Dolcetto d'Alba, Moscato d'Asti, Gavi and Roero, and Piedmont's status as the star of Italy's winemaking crown is hard to dispute. You can imagine our excitement then, when we came across Azienda Agricola Camparo, a small family estate working organically right in the heart of the prime grape growing area, just east of the town of Barolo itself. Currently tended by third generation vigneron Mauro Drocco, Camparo's vines are largely located on prized south and south-east facing slopes, whose long sunlight hours are particularly crucial for the notoriously slow-ripening Nebbiolo, and grow in the calcareous-clay soil widely considered to be responsible for the tremendous longevity of Barolo and other Piedmont wines.Seeing the intrinsic value of a more natural approach to vineyard management, Mauro began the conversion to organics in the 1990s, and Camparo became on of the first estates to become fully certified in the area in 2000. The family follow the mantra that great wine is made in the vineyard, and in the cellar the wines are made in a very traditional sense, with slow, natural fermentations lasting up to 4 weeks, élevage in large, neutral oak barrels, and extended bottle-ageing before release.

Quando Langhe Bianco: 90% Arneis and 10% Favorita from vines grown at 250m above sea level in Diano d'Alba. A complex, gastronomic white with an enticing mix of citrus and stone fruit, alpine herbs and a mouth-watering salinity.Adesso Langhe Rosso: 50% Dolcetto, 25% Nebbiolo and 25% Barbera aged for 12 months in wood and 6 in bottle. A fresh and harmonious blend with aromas of cherries, roses and smoky cigar box spice.Sempre Diano d'Alba: Dolcetto from 40 year old vines grown in the Dolcetto-dedicated appellation of Diano d'Alba. Velvet soft and full-bodied with wild berry, roasted almond, and earthy, gamey notes coming through on the finish.Cosi Langhe Nebbiolo: Sumptuous Nebbiolo aged for 18 months in old oak barrels and a further year in bottle. Typically haunting Nebbiolo aromas of rosewater, tar, strawberries and white pepper with the tannins well integrated.Domani Barolo: A superlative rendition of the king of Italian wines from vines growing in the fame La Morra sub-region of Barolo. Aged for 24 months in French barriques and a further 12 in bottle, this is wonderfully open already with enchanting aromas of roses, violets, tobacco, cherries and vanilla.Domani Barolo Boiolo: Boiolo is a natural amphitheatre of vines with a perfect south-east exposure within La Morra. Camparo's top wine, this is immense and contemplative with layers of red fruits, spices, flowers and coffee and a firm structure that suggests a long life ahead.