Upon his return from Piedmont, a friend was excited to share a bottle of Vietti's 2010 Barolo Ravera, which he described as a revelation. I was already familiar with Ravera, mostly from a number of great experiences with Elvio Cogno's version, but I had not tasted Vietti's 2010 in our early tastings from this great vintage. The wine received high praise in the form of 100 points from Antonio Galloni. It was, in fact, a revelation.
Piedmont's Greatest Unknown Vineyard
To understand why Ravera may be the greatest vineyard in Piedmont that you've never heard of, we need to look at geography. Ravera is a huge vineyard that spans the communes of Barolo and Novello. Because of its size, it is somewhat analogous to Clos de Vougeot in Burgundy. Both sites produce great fruit, but are not homogeneous across all areas of the vineyard. Importantly, one end of the vineyard can produce grapes of very different character, and quality, than the other end. Despite its large size, a relatively small number of producers make a single-Cru wine from here. The remote location also makes it a rare destination for enthusiasts visiting Piedmont. It's a shame, because this is a beautiful site with breathtaking views. Top producers like Cogno and Vietti source from prime areas on the hill with southern exposure. There is ample sun exposure here to produce ripe, powerful Nebbiolo. But these are not one-dimensional, in-your-face wines.
Ravera in 2010: The Greatest Vintage
2010 is now nearly universally praised as one of the greatest, if not the greatest, vintage ever for Barolo. The 2010 Vietti Barolo Ravera, so far, is my wine of the vintage. It is one of most stunning young wines I've ever tasted. It is super-aromatic with notes of rose petal and sweet ginger snap. It is so fragrant, it was hard to put it down from my nose long enough to taste it. But I'm glad I did. Super structured, this is built for the long haul. It is packed with sweet fruits, spice and fine-grained tannins. It was, for me, a perfect wine. Notably, Vietti's proprietor, Luca Currado, told me that he is still kicking himself for putting two-thirds of his Ravera fruit into his entry-level Castiglione Barolo! Of the 2010 Vietti Ravera, Antonio Galloni states that it "may well be the single greatest Barolo Luca Currado has ever made... It is a legendary, benchmark Barolo in the making." I agree, and I told Luca as much.
To highlight the how great the fruit from this vineyard was in this vintage, we opened a bottle of 2010 Cogno Barolo Ravera alongside the Vietti. Another beautiful wine, this may be the top overall value of the vintage. It held its ground and was more confirmation that Ravera should be regarded among the great sites in Piedmont.