When we met Amanda Courtney from Brezza Winery, we immediately fell in love (and not only with their wines). We started on a good note by tasting their Langhe Freisa : a well-balanced dry and still wine, not like most of the Freisa’s in Piemonte. It reminded us a bit of the Freisa of Matteo Correggia. No wonder why they sold out the 2000 bottles almost immediately!
The Nebbiolo d’Alba was OK, but the next big thing was their Barbera d’Alba. The Santa Rosalia (kept on stainless steal) had a lot of cherries in the nose and was a little bit high on tannines. But accompanied by cured meats, mortadella or food that is normally high on fat, we think this is a good bet. Brezza Winery produces even more bottles of Barbera d’Alba Superiore, which has more finesse and purity, characteristics that can be found in almost all of the Brezza wines. The vineyards of the Superiore’s are located in Barolo and the Barolo producers are not allowed to replace the famous Barbera grapes with Nebiollo anymore, which is a good thing according to the Brezza family. So why not create a top-notch product from Barbera’s as well?
The fourth generation of the Brezza family now manages the winery, which extends over 16,5 hectares : 12,5 in Barolo, one in the commune of Monforte, one in the commune of Novello, and two in Alba. Enzo Brezza managed to transform this estate, introducing organic methods, which lead to elegant, fine and pure wines. The family also made a video that really explains and captures their methods of harvesting:
Our conclusion : don’t look out for Blockbusters here, but for different stuff. A lot of the Brezza wines (even their Barbera or Dolcetto) come from a single vineyard, and altogether they have four single vineyard Barolo’s. We got the opportunity to taste three of them.
The nebbiolo of Barolo Castellero grows on a more sandy soil, and is not the most structured or complex wine. But because the Brezza vineyard is situated at the top of the parcel (so should be called Bricco Castellero) it still produces a Barolo with a well-balanced and typical floral nose. Next up the tasting table was the Barolo Cannubi, situated closer to the town of Barolo and provided with a very nice southern exposure. The soil here contains a little bit more clay and limestone, which creates more depth and silkiness. But the one that really won us over was the Barolo Sarmassa. Sarmassa refers to a little amphitheater next to Cannubi. The soil here has even more clay and limestone, and therefore creates a Grand Cru, Burgundy style. A Barolo that comes really close to perfection, in our opinion. And wine critics tend to agree. In the Decanter issue of april 2015, the Sarmassa 2010 was awarded a first place ranking in a tasting of 134 Barolo’s.
For those of you who want to pay the Brezza family a visit: they also own a restaurant and hotel in the center of Barolo.