Our fantastic new Piedmont winery.
Winemaker Nadia Curto is making elegant, fragrant wines with a clear sense of character and place
Silvia, our resident Italian expert, first met Nadia Curto at a wine fair in Verona. She was impressed with Nadia’s knowledge and passion for Nebbiolo, as well as the bottle of Barolo la Foia they shared, and a firm friendship was struck. When Robert and I tasted through Nadia’s wines recently we were both immediately taken by their quality. They are exactly the kind of characterful, terroir driven wines we love and we are excited to offer them for the first time.
An inheritance of two halves
Based in La Morra, in the east of the Barolo zone, Nadia’s roots run deep, influencing her organic approach to viticulture, as well as her wine making style. Her uncle is the famous Elio Altare, a leading light in Barolo’s modern revival, while her father specialised in traditional wines. Nadia has taken influences from both, while adding her own enthusiasm and character.
La Morra is known for producing perfumed and expressive Barolos, medium bodied, elegant and not quite as structured as some of the other villages. One of its undisputed ‘grand cru’ vineyards is the Arborina, made famous by Uncle Elio amongst others. Here we find Nadia’s Nebbiolo and Barbera vines.
Nadia joined her parent’s Curto Marco estate in 2000. Comprised of just 4ha of vines, its small size means everything can be done by hand. Nadia takes great pleasure in hoeing the rows and feels she knows her vines intimately, and can perceive their needs. Only organic treatments are used, natural manure, pheromones traps rather than insecticides, Nadia knows that for her vines to be happy, the environment they grow in must be healthy and natural. All picking is by hand, into small crates. Yields are kept low. In the winery fermentations happen naturally and the wines are bottled unfiltered and unfined, the better to preserve their natural freshness and vitality.
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Piedmont is blessed with a number of unique grapes. As well as the famous Nebbiolo, Nadia also makes excellent Dolcetto and Barbera. These wines represent a window into Nadia’s light touch, natural wine making. They are fresh and immediate, with charming fruit and expressive perfume. Being Italian it is no surprise they are food friendly; between them you’ll find a match for almost anything.
Is there a more versatile grape than Dolcetto? From cool refreshment on a hot day to a peppery, spicy accompaniment to roast meat, the ‘little sweet one’ can do it all. Nadia’s comes from the north-west facing Gattera vineyard. Beautiful nose which reminds one of a summer evening, with violet, dark fruit, and cherry. Lithe and refreshing on the palate, with the characteristic bitterness and acidity providing brilliantly crunchy refreshment. There’s a Beaujolais-like quality here, this would be lovely chilled. Good length, pleasingly dry and fresh. Heaven with a plate of Salumi!
These vines grow in the Arborina vineyard, on the lower slopes beneath the Nebbiolo. South facing, with clay in the soil, giving a Barbera of concentration and richness. Super perfumed, with sweet black cherry and raspberry mingling with dark floral notes, a deeper nose than the Dolcetto. There’s a burst of sweet cherry on the attack, the rich fruit given crispness by fresh acidity and a saline edge, the tannins peppery and fine. This is rich yet elegant and refined, with a pretty, floral, red cherry finish. One to drink young on its fruit with simple grilled meats or keep in the cellar for ten years or more where it will develop notes of truffle and spice.
Always harvested after the Dolcetto and Barbera, the Nebbiolo is the king of Piedmont’s grapes. These vines are all in La Morra, mostly from Arborina. Translucent, pale, very pretty in the glass with its distinctive orange rim. Layered nose, with red fruits, cherry, as well as dried cranberries, exotic spices and notes of rose petal. Has the texture one wants – though light in colour this has the inner concentration and density which sets Nebbiolo apart. Fine grippy structure, pure fruit, and a finish which weaves together spice and deep floral perfume.
This famous vineyard is one of Barolo’s finest. Lying to the east of La Morra, exposed to the south and steeply sloped, the vines grow on a complex, well drained mix of marl, limestone, clay and sand. It is famed for producing elegant, medium bodied wines with exceptional aromatics – characters which Nadia’s wines show in abundance.
Nadia makes two bottlings from her vines, the Arborina, and La Foia. She makes the Arborina in the modern style favoured by her uncle Elio, while La Foia is traditionally made using the techniques of her father. These two interpretations make a fascinating pair.
Barolo Mixed Six Offer – two bottles of each Barolo for £210.00 IB.**
Barolo la Foia 2016
La Foia is produced in the ‘traditional’ fashion – a long cool maceration followed by long fermentation and ageing in Botti -large, 30-40hl, casks that impart no wood character. 2016 is an absolutely superb vintage in Barolo. Such a good colour, so pretty in the glass. Haunting nose of red cherry, dried fruit, and dried flowers alongside rose petal and hot earth. This is juicier on the palate than the Arborina bottling, a little brighter too, with a tongue coating structure of fine, peppery tannins. The structure forms a spine, around which myriad complex flavours express themselves, leading to a perfumed finish, floral and spicy, which lasts and lasts. Glorious wine.
Barolo Arborina 2017
This wine is made in the ‘modern’ style, with a short maceration and fermentation, before aging in barrique. Such a perfumed, bewitching nose, complex and compelling. Cherries and strawberries swirl amongst notes of roses, wood smoke, violets and anise. The palate starts with a burst of bittersweet cherry, then its fine, tight structure begins to build, supporting crisp cool fruits with firm tannins, finesse, before the finish fans out into a complex melange of savoury, mineral and earth notes, all wrapped around a cool, mineral core of dark cherry fruit.
Barolo la Foia Riserva 2015
The Riserva, made only in the best vintages from the best fruit, spends an extra year in barrel, and an extra two years in bottle, before release. This doesn’t mean the 2015 is ready to drink now though – the long ageing process produces wines which need extended bottle time. Today, the colour is so beautiful, a pale ruby turning to orange, glowing in the glass. It takes some time to coax out the full spectrum of flavours, cherry fruit, orange peel, spice, liquorice, tobacco, but with time to unfurl in the glass this becomes exceptionally perfumed. The evolving, complex, palate fills out wonderfully, with a long kaleidoscopic finish, while the fine, firm tannins suggest the longevity one can expect. A superb wine, really a beauty, that deserves another 5 years before drinking.