Introducing the “Queens of Langhe: Mother Daughter Duo Anna and Valentina Abbona of Marchesi di Barolo!” We first met on an early morning Zoom on Women’s Day in March, and I used my Coravin on the three wines to preserve them for the day when Sue and I could pair them appropriately — which we did a few weeks later with osso bucco. Then I met them in person in LA at a big Barolo and Barberesco tasting! From Italy’s Piedmont, and the CANTINE MARCHESI DI BAROLO, please welcome Mother Daughter Dynamic Duo Anna and Valentina Abbona!
Do you know the important role that a woman played in the birth of Barolo wine, one of the more famous, exotic, and expensive wines in the world? Giulietta Falletti the Marchioness of Barolo developed it with French wine expert Louis Oudart, and soon after, Italian royalty began calling it the “King of Wines” when they should have been calling it the “Marchioness of Wines”! Today mother and daughter duo Anna and Valentina Abbona carry on the tradition of birthing Barolo at their winery, Marchesi di Barolo, located in the Langhe which is the theme of this month’s Italian Food Wine Travel. Scroll down to find links to articles by other participants.
Langhe is most famous for Barolo, and they say, Barolo has spoiled grapes– but in a good way.
Located in the Langhe of northwest Italy, in the Piedmont which means at the foot of the mountains, surrounded by mountains, and separated from the seaside, the famed Nebbiolo of Barolo grows in strips of land because millions of year under the sea, the hills started to rise facing different directions offering differences due to exposure, altitude, soils, terroir, and microclimate.
And by surrounded by mountains means only one hour to skiing!
The wine of the region was sweet and sparkling until Giulietta Falletti the Marchioness of Barolo realized the potential for other kinds of winemaking so she had a cellar built where fermentation could be completed.
The family of Anna and Valentina Abbona bought the winery from the Marquesi in the 1920s and they have been in the business ever since using organic techniques when the vintage allows combined with conventional to obtain quality in combination with health of the vineyards. They also use cover crops starting with just grasses and evolving to a special selections of seeds to improve the health of the vines to address what’s missing in the soil. However, these days the region is often too hot and there’s not enough water; no irrigation is allowed. They aim to “know to respect” and know the best techniques to get the best quality of grape — that’s what’s most important to them. With such varied terroir in a small area, the great diversity requires respect to the expression in each situation.
- 2020 Sbirolo Nebbiolo Langhe DOC
- 2018 Peiragal Barbera d’Alba DOC
- 2016 Barolo di Barolo DOCG
Mom wanted to create a special experience in the restaurant; she was the chef when they started and she thinks it’s important to have a special place to welcome visitors from all over the world to the winery. With that in mind, we chose to create a special meal of osso bucco.
2018 Peiragal Barbera d’Alba DOC
Very Barolo like but still a Barbera, they say: an iron fist in a velvet glove.
Color: Garnet, a bit cloudy, copper rim
Aroma: We both loved the smell of this wine, and just wanted to keep on sniffing. Rose petals and potpourri, cigar box, cherries, cinnamon, so many layers of intensity,
Palate: Tart and acidic, tart cherry, a bit chewy, grape stem, minerals, soil, clean, bright, fresh, tart, this is a Barbara of substance. Dried caraway seeds on the finish.
Pairing: Great pizza wine, fantastic with green olives, I wanted bagna cauda, fantastic with the sharp aged snowdonia cheese. Surprisingly nice with our beet salad. It went so nicely with the roasted beets, toasted nuts, and cheeses. The richness of flavors in the osso busco was a perfect companion to the wine.
2020 Sbirolo Nebbiolo Langhe DOC
This Nebbiolo name refers to a clown type, a rascal. Grapes are grown on sandy soil and 2020 offered a mild winter with warm temps and no rain, no snow with an early bud break and a strange June they called “green June” because the soil retained water so vines grew with plentiful fruit.
COMMENT: great concentration the nose is fruity with aromas of raspberries ,violet ,spices and vanilla. The palate is dry, balanced with fine and elegant tannins
Color: bright ruby, medium density, pale pink rim
Aroma: Sweet cherry, sweet vanilla, apple blossom, strawberries, candied apples, cinnamon, clove
Palate: Bold acidity followed by structured tannins, very cherry, cherry phosphate, minerals, salinity, smooth,
Pairing: Fantastic with aged manchego, it could be mistaken for parmesan when paired with the wine. Worked nicely with the Port Salute cheese on the plate making us think how much it likes creamy rich cheeses. Worked well with the green brined olives bringing out nice fruit in the wine. Fantastic with the salad loving everything in it; the beets, the cheese, the fresh greens and the nuts. The earthyness of the salad mixed with the sweetness of the cranberry sea salt cracker and the richness of the cheese and nuts combined with the wine is a very nice combination.
2016 Barolo di Barolo DOCG
The Barolo comes from 5k acres on a slightly lower elevation; the hills protects the vines on two soil types and 170 different single vineyards with great diversity. They use 11 vineyards all within town and walking distance. 2016 had great amounts of moisture and temperatures, and a high diurnal switch.
Now is the time to enjoy the wine and the vintage, they say: “now is amazing.” That explains why the wine is very layered with a nose of ripe plum, cherries, tar, leather, and tobacco notes with a long finish with great acidity but balanced tannins.
Color: Translucent, brickish, burnt Sienna, garnet, corral rim
Aroma: Fresh herbs, sandalwood, sweet rose petals, baking spices, cherry, plum, sage.
Palate: Raspberry, very acidic, tannins, black walnut on the finish, light in body, but carries a big punch, leaving the chops salivating, and yearning for more.
Pairing: Fantastic with the green olives, Sugo sauce with green olives would be nice with the wine. The wine was elevated by the rosemary in the oso busco. It was the perfect companion to the wine. The wine also went nicely with the beet salad great with the earthy beets and the nuts as well as the cheese.
Here’s more wines and pairings for the Langhe for you:
- Wendy Klik highlights Beef and Pork Ravioli, A Book Review and a Nebbiolo from Langhe on A Day in the Life on the Farm
- Camilla Mann pairs Spicy Mussels Chorizo + 2017 Villadoria Bricco Magno Langhe Nebbiolo at Culinary Adventures with Camilla
- Nicole Ruiz Hudson takes “A Deep Dive into Nebbiolo at the Culinary Cabin” on Somm’s Table
- Linda Whipple entices with “Of Nebbiolo, Salami and a Langhe Farmer’s Dream” at My Full Wine Glass
- Jen Martin gives us a glimpse with an “Overview of the Langhe Wines” at Vino Travels
- Gwendolyn Alley introduces us to the “Queens of Langhe: Mother Daughter Duo Anna and Valentina Abbona of Marchesi di Barolo” on Wine Predator.
- Host Cindy Rynning entices us to “Explore a New-to-You Wine – Nas-Cëtta from the Langhe in Piemonte” at Grape Experiences.
and for more Barolo here on Wine Predator, check out:
Barolo in His Blood:
Aldo Clerico, Bagna Cauda, and Duck
If you do not know this dish, you have not lived…