Castaldi Fara 2013
The Cantina Castaldi sits below the magnficient Castello di Briona, a medeival fortress with origins in the 12th century. The juxtaposition is not lost on Francesca Castaldi who just began her winery operation only 10 years ago. That parts of her winery share a few subterranean walls with the castle is a "the more things change, the more they stay the same" mantra.
Francesca's father and grandfather were grape growers and winemakers in Briona during the 20th century, but largely following WWII, amid the full force of the industrial revolution in northwest Italy, their commerce declined. Francesca was born into a winemaking family but instead followed a path into finance and accounting. It wasn't until a surprise inheritance came along that she made the decision to dust off her family legacy and begin a new winemaking tradition.
Along with her son Marco, Francesca now farms a lovely organic vineyard composed of 6.5 hectares on the doorstep of the Italian Alps, on a lovely plateau above the village of Briona. This area was once the cradle of wine production in northwest Italy. Long before Barolo and Barbaresco were the darlings of Piedmont, this area situated between Turin and Milan, was the region's wine tap. In fact, just 100 years ago it was believed there were 100,000 hectares planted in the Alta Piemonte. Today, just 400. Think about that.
This is Francesca's best wine from any vintage and comes from a miniscule .4 hectare parcel above their village of Briona. Nebbiolo makes up 70% of the wine with another 30% of the native Vespolina. The wine rests in older barrels for a little more than 2 years, then another 2 years in bottle before release. I hesitate to call it masculine, because of the fineness and complexity. But there is an unmistakable chewiness that gives great texture and weight.
A thoroughly wonderful wine to enjoy now or over the coming decade.