Azienda Agricola Bricco Maiolica - Contadin - Barolo 2016
In Barolo, five major communes (La Morra, Barolo, Castiglione Falletto, Monforte d’Alba and Serralunga d’Alba) dominate production and are home to the region’s most prestigious vineyards. However, these communes are not the “be all, end all” of Barolo; there are six other small villages on the outskirts of the region’s borders that can produce stellar wines, one of which is Diano d’Alba.
Tucked away in the northeast corner of the appellation ― just over the hills of Serranlunga d’Alba ― resides Diano d’Alba. Known more for producing Dolcetto than Nebbiolo, the commune only has 14 hectares of Barolo vineyards that make a meager 0.88% of its total production. But from this tiny area, I tasted one of the most surprising and delicious Barolos from the stellar 2016 vintage: the Bricco Maiolica Contadin.
Founded in 1928 on a hill named Maiolica, Bricco Maiolica is run by Beppe Accomo, the fifth generation of his family to farm in these hills. Beppe had always dreamed of making a Barolo wine, and in 2012, after 25+ years of searching, Beppe and his partner, Claudia, were able to purchase a 0.5-hectare vineyard of Nebbiolo da Barolo in Diano d’Alba. They named the wine Contadin, or peasant: The perfect name for a Barolo from a traditional farming family that exudes such rustic charm.
When I tasted the wine, I knew I had unearthed a Barolo gem. The Contadin shows an alluring mid-ruby color with brilliant tawny rim. Soaring aromas of strawberry, balsam, sandalwood, black cherry and anise explode from the glass. The palate is tightly wound, full-bodied and powerful with impressive tannins and energetic acidity. Concentrated, intensely structured with great persistence and length, this Barolo is traditional in the best sense of the word. You can drink now after decanting at least an hour, though this will age beautifully over the next 10+ years.