Barolo Winegrower: Nicola Oberto and Trediberri
Nicola Oberto – Trediberri
I met Nicola Oberto at a La Morra (one of the towns in the Barolo district) winetasting in early June 2013. In a room full of Barolo winegrowers from the La Morra, Nicola stood out. What a passionate young man, eager to tell his story.
I enjoyed talking with him and bought a couple bottles of his Trediberri Barolo. Later, I found he has a Twitter account, so I followed him, and tweeted about our enthusiasm for his wines.
Julie and I returned to Piemonte last fall, for six glorious days. Nicola noticed we were back in the Langhe and I received this tweet:
@foodwineclick what a great tour!!! Got time for a cheer? Lmknow Nick
— Trediberri (@Trediberri) September 19, 2013
What an invitation! Of course, we made time for a more extended visit. Nicola was out working in his vineyard, and we met him there.
This was the end of September; the Moscato harvest was in full swing, but the Nebbiolo grapes would still need a few more weeks. Even though the Nebiolo grapes tasted pretty good to me, Nicola explained they needed additional time to ripen further. He showed me how to use a refractometer to test for the brix level in the grapes.
While we were in the vineyard, Nicola’s father stopped by. His father is a winemaker at one of the big Barolo names, and he is a partner in Trediberri and advisor for Nicola.
Now, on to the work. They had decided they needed to go through the vineyard and drop fruit. Dropping fruit, or green harvest, can be done at multiple points during the growing season. This close to harvest, Nicola is trying to maximize the quality of the fruit on the day they pick. To do so, they need to drop the bottom half of almost every grape cluster in their vineyard. Julie couldn’t believe they were just cutting off half their grapes, but Nicola explained the vines needed to concentrate on a smaller amount of fruit to produce grapes truly worthy of becoming Barolo. He also showed us that the undisturbed bunches can be hiding poor quality and rotten grapes on the interior of the bunch. Better to get rid of them now!
What a treat! Not only did we get to see the vineyard, we got a close-up look at one of the thousand decisions a winegrower needs to make every season.
After our vineyard visit, we met up with the rest of our group for a tasting at the winery. Nicola’s academic background is Economics, and he’s a numbers guy. He showed us how they graph daily climatic data for their vineyards (temperature, rain, etc…) to build their knowledge of how the weather affects each vintage. These charts are available on the Trediberri website (click on a wine & vintage). Nicola’s passion goes far beyond the numbers, though. He speaks so enthusiastically about every aspect of the process, you will become a believer.
Now, we keep in touch and look forward to future visits.
We brought Trediberri Barolo, Barbera d’Asti, and Langhe Sauvignon (Sauvignon Blanc!) home with us, and we have enjoyed them all. A surprise for me, the Barolo paired beautifully with a cheese & vegetarian dish. Usually, I find red wines a challenge to pair with vegetarian meals, but the Trediberri Barolo was so nice as a partner at this table. The richness of the cheese in the dish needed a tannic punch in the wine to balance.
Trediberri Barolo 2008
Eye: Lovely medium red, blue highlights in the glass in the sunlight.
Nose: Red fruit, a little smoke and tar in the background. Nose is a bit shy, but still nice, lots of fresh red fruit.
Mouth: Pretty rich, not severe or extremely backwards. Intensely tannic, but very nice with food. I know I could hold this for years, but it is drinking beautifully right now.
Every wine region produces many nice wines, the people make all the difference. If you are lucky enough to visit the Langhe, you should include Nicola and Trediberri on your itinerary!
For a special treat, take a look at this video. Nicola filmed his Nonna out in the family vineyard, talking about the family history in this place. It’s in Italian, but Nicola included subtitles. Priceless.