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Tenuta Carretta’s Barolo Cannubi 2018: A Surprising Harmony

The 2018 vintage is generally recalled for the animated discussions regarding its outcome. The year has been particularly anomalous as it was characterized by two highly distinct weather phases, which have ultimately resulted in extremely elegant and aromatic Barolo wines with exceptionally fine tannins. This was the case of Cannubi, famous for its limestone-clay soils that are among the richest in sandy content in the entire denomination. This soil composition can be challenging in hot and dry years but is optimal in wetter vintages like 2018, allowing for the complete absorption of the heavy rains that characterized the growing stage between April and June. This was good news for Tenuta Carretta, a historic winery in Piobesi d’Alba that owns four vineyards on the Cannubi hill, for a total area of 2.6 hectares. These vineyards produce two different labels: Barolo DOCG Cannubi and Barolo Riserva DOCG Cannubi Collezione Rag. Franco Miroglio.

2018 not only marks the phenomenal success of Barolo Cannubi but also represents another significant milestone for the winery: after years of undergoing organic conversion, Tenuta Carretta obtained “The Green Experience” certification. Its protocols include – among other things – the complete grassing of the vineyards, prohibition of herbicides and desiccants as well as combating harmful insects using pheromone traps to promote the repopulation of their natural rivals such as birds and bats.

A challenging vintage bears a smooth wine with full fruit: Tenuta Carretta’s Barolo Cannubi 2018, a Surprising Harmony.

The uniqueness of Barolo Cannubi

Since 1752, Cannubi has been a symbol of prestige and excellence: the fruit of a unique combination of pedo-climatic factors that result in wines endowed with the highest expression within the denomination. The hill is located between two geologically distinct zones in Barolo: on one side, the Helvetian slope of Monforte d’Alba, Serralunga d’Alba and Castiglione Falletto, characterized by deep and compact soils featuring Lequio Formations and calcareous clays that provide power and structure to the wines. On the other side, the younger and softer soils of La Morra and Verduno, the renowned Sant’Agata Fossili Marls that endow the wines with elegance and aromas. Protected from the cold and the winds by the elevated surrounding hills, Cannubi is a hill that enjoys a unique microclimate. All these elements lead to the production of Barolo wines that unveil intense aromas as well as perfect balance between elegance and power. 

Tenuta Carretta’s Barolo Cannubi 2018: a complex and challenging vintage bears a smooth wine with full fruit 

The weather was characterized by a typical winter season, with temperatures occasionally dropping below freezing but never extremely cold. Abundant rainfall and snowfall allowed for the replenishment of groundwater, which had been severely tested by the drought in 2017. Specifically, 2018 experienced a cold spring season (which delayed budbreak), with a wet and cool May. Rain alternated with sunshine, mitigating the high temperatures until the end of August and giving way to a maturation period characterized by hot and dry days with good diurnal temperature variation. The vines thrived in such weather conditions and the bunches almost reached perfect maturation, bearing healthy, whole and well-ripened grapes. 

The potential alcohol content of the grapes was high while the level of acidity was adequate: characteristics that hinted to the excellent quality of this vintage and outstanding potential for aging. In hindsight, five years later, 2018 has proven to be a vintage that yielded wines with remarkable structure, yet remaining delicate, balanced and harmonious, also revealing surprisingly fine and soft tannins.

The harvest, as usual, was carried out manually. Fermentation with submerged cap maceration lasted for 15-20 days at a temperature of 28°C. Afterward, the wine was aged first in oak tonneaux and then in large barrels for a minimum of 24 months. This was followed by bottling and aging in the bottle for at least 12 months prior market release.

Tenuta Carretta’s Barolo Cannubi 2018 presents a lively and intense garnet color in the glass. On the nose, decisive aromatic notes of rose and ripe fruit are followed by hints of licorice, cocoa and spices. The palate reveals structure, balance between acidity and tannins, as well as a certain elegance that makes this Barolo a faithful expression of its MeGA of origin.        

Barolo Cannubi 2018 is ideal with rich first and main dishes, such as red meat, braised dishes, wild game and aged cheese.