Last week, with the help of a Twitter colleague, I had the honor of meeting one of her clients, Fiorenzo Dogliani, CEO of Piedmont wine producer Beni di Batasiolo. The Dogliani family has grown wine for three generations and was one of the earliest exporters of Barolo to the United States, dating from the early 1970′s. Their main calling cards are the Barolos they make from single vineyards in Serralunga d’Alba, Monforte d’Alba and La Morra. They also make wine from the Barbera , Dolcetto and Moscato grapes, including their own Moscato Rose clone from Trentino Alto Adige and their own Moscato Bianco grapes from the Langhe.
Through Ricardo March, Batasiolo’s US Sales Director who also happens to be Mr. Dogliani’s interpreter, I was informed that part of what makes the wines of his region so individualistic were the complex, multi-layered soils where his grapes are planted. Marl, clay, fossils and sandstone all influence the grapes’ character and the textures of these wines once tasted.
We started with a Gavi (100 % Cortese grapes), which I would describe as having a straw color, a slight green rim, medium-plus body and aromas of white flowers (daisies?) and pears, and tart lemon on the palate. This would make a natural apertif or a perfect pairing with antipasto.
The Barbera d’Alba featured black, sour cherries on the palate, medium plus (almost high) acid (think 4.5 on a five point range) and medium to medium plus tannins and complexity. This one finished a little bitter for me.
We also tried one of their family’s Barbarescos, from the 2008 vintage. I could definitely make out a yellow rim around the ruby core of this one. I picked up more of an herb and oak component immediately on the nose, and Mr. March confirmed that this was aged in a combination of Slovenian oak and French barriques for one year, plus an additional one year of bottle aging. This was the most complex wine in our tasting, and I would recommend strong aged cheeses to pair with it.
My favorites were the Moscatos we saved for last, both a white and a Rose. These were serious Moscatos, not like the more generic ones becoming popular in the North American markets. The nose on both of these evoked roses and violets and a brisk spring breeze, if that makes any sense! The finish on both of these were long and lingering.
Thank you, Katie, for introducing me and my readers to the wines of Beni di Batasiolo. If you try one of their wines here in Chicago, please send me an email with your tasting notes! (We enjoyed these wines at Rosebud on Rush Street, where they are readily available.)