Luigi Baudana’s family have been growing grapes and making wine in the Barolo region Serralunga d’Alba for many generations, so many that he can’t recall. Obviously a long time, though, because the town he and his wife Fiorina still live in is named Baudana, as
The impish, hyper-talkative Luca Currado is holding forth at his Vietti winery in Piedmont’s Barolo region. He’s hosting a gaggle of wine writers and trade people in the Vietti tasting room – something he must have done hundreds of times before, although you wouldn’t know it from the freshness of his enthusiasm. He’s worked in a South Australian winery (Primo Estate) and in turn he’s had Australians working for him in Barolo. Notable among them are Peter Godden and Sally McGill of Adelaide Hills nebbiolo producer, Arrivo.
If the Aborigines have 16 words for water, and the Inuit a similar number for snow, the Piedmontese ought to have the same number for tannin. Tannin is such a critical part of their greatest wines, made from the enigmatic nebbiolo grape. And there are myriad kinds of tannin. Many people think nebbiolo, which is epitomised by Piedmont’s noble wines Barolo and Barbaresco, is a hard, tannic, tough wine that’s often without fruit or charm. But that does not describe good nebbiolo. Maybe the Barolos of 50 years ago, when they were typically made that way – aged in large oak vats for seven years until there was no fruit left. They couldn’t be touched for another 10 years – if ever! It’s also possible to make the mistake of trying to drink tannic young nebbiolo without food. Trust me: even the tannins of a very tannic, young nebbiolo of quality will melt away when drunk with appropriate food, i.e. protein-rich meats or cheeses.