The Barolo of Elio Grasso
Friday, October 26, 2018 in News
The Barolo of Elio Grasso by Jesper Kjaersgaard
Langton’s Head of Buying (International) Jesper Kjaersgaard shares his thoughts on Langhe in Italy and one of Barolo’s most famous winemaking sons, Elio Grasso. He also discusses the wines of the battle between old and new and who won the Barolo Wars. See the range here.
There’s a great chance that you, in the later stage of your wine journey, will visit in Piedmont and more specifically, Barolo. A small picturesque town located amongst the hills of the Langhe, Barolo is the ultimate destination when it comes to evoking feelings and passion about wine. Barolo feels like home for many wine lovers and because of this, Barolo is probably only rivalled by Burgundy.
ELIO GRASSO Ginestra Vigna Casa Mate, Barolo DOCG 2013
Barolo New and Old
Barolo has gone through a great transformation in the last 30 years. What started as a revolution when a handful of winemakers introduced new French oak and shorter maceration times, quickly turned into a full-scale war - aptly named the “Barolo Wars”. The Barolo Wars created two factions, the Traditionalists and the Modernists. The conflict spanned over a decade and although it was hard on the people involved, the quality coming out of Barolo since the then is nothing short of breathtaking. Although to some extent, the two factions still exist, the lines have been blurred and we, the consumers, have benefitted.
The Return of Elio Grasso
ELIO GRASSO Gavarini Vigna Chiniera, Barolo DOCG 2013
When Elio Grasso was sent off to school in Turin, his grape growing father told him to study hard and not to come back to the struggling life that was the reality for many people in the Langhe in post-war Italy. Elio went on to have a successful career in the banking sector but luckily for us, decided to follow his calling and take his young family back to the hills of Barolo. In 1978, Elio established his winery in the township of Monforte d’Alba looking over the Alps and still overlooks winery operations although with added help from his son, Gianluca.
The Grasso family have played a big part in establishing Monforte d’Alba as one of the premium and most regarded subregions in Barolo. Elio Grasso has holdings in two of Barolo ’s most prominent Crus - Gavarini and Ginestra. Having stayed clear from the aforementioned Wars, Elio quickly realised the impact modernisation had on the region and invested heavily in new technology but at the same time kept a relatively traditional approach to his winemaking. Elio Grasso’s wines are exquisitely perfumed, classy and exhibit remarkable finesse.
The 2014 Barolo is a blend of the Gavarini and Ginestra vineyards and is a beautifully perfumed and poised wine. Elio Grasso vinified the two vineyards separately but when it came to bottling, decided to blend them together. The result is simply stunning! Although the emphasis on single Cru wines has a stronghold (rightfully so) on the appellation, I certainly wouldn’t mind seeing more ‘blended’ wines coming out of the region.
If you’re interested in adding these incredible wines to your collection, you can find our Elio Grasso here.