A few weeks ago I was invited to join a zoom tasting with Sergio Germano of Ettore Germano winery in Piedmonte, organised by Libiamo wines in the UK. I jumped at the chance, Sergio has a reputation as a brilliant winemaker. So the following week the wines arrived, a fabulous Rosato Sparkling wine, wonderful knock your socks off Riesling and his famed Barolo. The tasting was lead by Mike Turner (check him out on Instagram – Pleasebringmemywine he has great content!).
Link for Libiamo wines website. Libiamo Wines | The Great Italian Wine
Before I talk about the tasting I will give you a little history of Ettore Germano winery.
wine growers and innovators since 1856
Now its 4 generations of men in love with their vineyard
Sergio’s great-grandfather Francesco and his grandfather Alberto took care of the vineyards and sales of the their grapes. Selling bulk grapes was the main trade in those days, selling grapes to larger wine producers but also some individuals who were making very small quantities of wines for their own home consumption, and of course for good friends too.
50s / 70’s
Sergio’s father, Ettore Germano, who passed away in 2005, was the founder of the brand. His wife Rosanna was also heavily involved with the viticulture and wine production. Growing up in the vineyard Ettore developed a great sense to become a skilful grafter and restored the vineyards in the 1960’s. Sparse bunches, small berries, with a crisp skin suited to produce wine quality and less sensitive to pests.
In 1964 Ettore then married Rosanna Porro, together they continued to work the vineyards, buying some plots of land bordering the property, not ever to imagine that one day this hectare of Prapò inside the Cerretta hill, would then obtain a Geographical mention in 2009.
In 1975 the winery Ettore Germano was founded and the vinification and bottling became more consistent and the first small trade of a few hectoliters was sold to private customers and friends.
Growth of the winery in the hands of Sergio Germano
The first great change was in 1985.
In 1965, after finishing at the school of enology in Alba, Sergio worked in three important local wineries and continued to help out his father in the conversion of the family farm to become a fully fledge winery.
In 1988 the first 5,000 bottles between Barolo, Dolcetto, and Barbera, were then placed on the marked together with a small production of Chardonnay.
The turning point came in 1993 when all their grapes produced were vilified and bottled.
In 1995 in Serralunga with about two hectares of Cerretta they started with their challenge to produce white wines in Alta Langa, and planted the first vineyards of Chardonnay, Riesling in Cigliè.
In 1997 Sergio Germano married Elena Bonnelli who now runs the administrative work as well as running the hospitality at the winery. The family then starts to grow with two children: Elia born in 1998 and Maria born in 2001.
Over the next few years they purchased another hectare in the vineyards of Prapò, Lazzarito, and Pradone (a parcel of Lazzarito) and also another parcel in Cerretta. In 2010 Sergio’s mother inherited from her cousin Tommaso Canale half of a hectare in the most historic and famous vineyard of Serralunga d’Alba Vigna Rionda.
Barolo hills, the family land area has gradually tripled over time, reaching today 10 hectares in Serralunga d’alba and 9 hectares in Cigliè located in the Alta Langa.
THE EVENINGS TASTING
Thought I had better get started with some nibbles to go with the tasting.
And now to start the Zoom tasting.
The zoom was being hosted by my friend Mike Turner, who did a great job presenting in his very easy going way, a perfectly relaxed format for tastings… IN MY OPINION!
Sergio walked us through the wines, how they are made and the styles he makes and what the land gives to his amazing wines.
The 1st wine is Rosanna Rose Extra Brut Sparkling wine, made in the traditional method and named after Sergio’s mother.
Made from 100% Nebbiolo.
The grapes are hand harvested and put into small plastic baskets and brought to the cellar, where they will be immediately pressed in whole cluster in order to extract the colour sufficient to give a light pink hue. Throughout the grape selection, only the highest quality will be selected for this wine.
The alcoholic fermentation for the base wine is in vertical stainless steel tanks. After which in the spring, the base wine is assembled and the draft is made for the second fermentation to happen in the bottle. Aging in the bottle on the lees lasts about 18 months or more.
Its colour is a light but vibrant bright pink with a fine perlage , on the nose its red berry fruits, some notes of wild flowers with a butter biscuit like toasty note too.
Its lively perlage envelopes your palate with fresh red berry fruit, yet although super fresh it has a beautiful rich full body to it. On the finish reveals slight tannin and a light sweetness that lingers on and on.
The Next Wine is HÉRZU LANGHE RIESLING, LANGHE DOC
The variety is Riesling Renano, the vines were planted in 1995 – 1998 – 2004 – 2010 & 2013, with a soil structure of Lime, calcareous with lots of Langa stones. The vineyards are south-east exposure and at an altitude of 5-550m. Harvest takes place in the beginning of October.
The grapes are harvested by hand in the beginning of October and placed into small plastic baskets, then brought directly to the winery. Light crushing is followed by a soft pressing.
Alcoholic fermentation takes place in vertical stainless steel tanks at a temperature of 16°C. Fermenting at a low temperature helps to maintain small amounts of residual sugar giving the true expression of Riesling. The temperature is then lowered further to prevent the wine from undergoing any malo-lactic fermentation. The wine will be ready for bottling at the end of the spring.
Its colour has a medium intensity of straw yellow with green touches on the edge.
On the nose its glorious with tropical fruits, savoury herbs and even mineral. Full bodied with lots of fruit and structure, it has great balance of acidity and sweetness from the residual sugar, which gives a very long persistent fresh finish.
For such a young wine this is truly stunning.
Our final wine of the evening is Barolo CERRETTA 2016. BAROLO DOCG
Made from 100% Nebbiolo, with vines planted in the years 1949 – 1963 & 1995. The vineyards have a soil composition of Clay and limestone with a high concentration of active lime. They are situated South / South-East with altitude of 350-400m, the grapes are harvested in October.
The grapes are hand harvested and again transported in small baskets, to protect the grapes, into the winery.
On arrival they are de-stemmed, lightly crushed and then undergo alcoholic fermentation in vertical steel tanks. Maceration takes place for 40-45 days with several pump overs happening daily and also the occasional délastage, this two step rack and return process is to encourage the extraction of colour and tannins.
After this racking and the malo-lactic fermentation, the wine is then placed into Medium-sized oak barrels. Each barrel having a different age and a different passage (amount of times its been used before), the wine will then age for 18 to 24 months, dependant on the vintage.
After barrel aging it’s bottled, then rest’s in bottle for another 12 months before being sold.
Its colour is intense garnet red with a slight orange tinge.
On the nose its pure ripe red fruit with vanilla essence. This evolved greatly after I popped back in the cork to finish the next day. Then came cigar box, some fresh new leather and some darker fruits too.
Full bodied with great structure and elegant tannins, this is due to the time spent in barrel. As it developed through the evening it softened into a brilliant Barolo. This will age for a long time for sure, however, decant it for at least an hour and it will start to shine.
So a great evening, great wines. Libiamo wines have the below dates of the next few zoom tasting’s if you would like to get involved.
Here are some links to those involved for the tasting.
Mike Turner – Pleasebringmemywine
Just to be clear, I have no financial interest or am I being paid by any persons within this blog, however I do receive the wines Free of charge for the tasting from Libiamo wines.