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Cavallotto

Power and Grace: New Releases Including 2019 Barolo Bricco Boschis & Flagship ’17 Riservas
Cavallotto

Deep, soulful and classically structured reds are the name of the game here, and Cavallotto’s current releases fully deliver on this promise. For those new to this great grower, the style of wine deeply reflects the great sites that this family farms (primarily the Bricco Boschis monopole) coupled with its traditional, non-interventionist philosophy in the cellar. While the showpiece of the family’s vineyards is the legendary monopole Bricco Boschis, the hill that crowns the entrance to Castiglione Falletto, the adjoining Vignolo Cru also produces brilliant, ageworthy Barolo wines. And their other small plots—all within Castiglione Falletto—possess a nobility of terroir that shines through in the wines we offer today.

It is the fifth generation of Cavallotto—Alfio, Giuseppe and Laura—that continue this family’s rich tradition with an even greater focus on both the vineyards and the cellar. These humble siblings are growers in the purest sense, much more comfortable among the vines than in the public eye, and the wine is all the better for it. Alfio Cavallotto employs exacting, fully organic viticulture and has a long, slow approach to winemaking—which includes natural yeast fermentations, long macerations, extended maturation in huge Slavonian botti, minimal sulphur additions and no fining or filtration.

Cavallotto’s unusually layered and complex Dolcetto and Barbera come from the same slopes as the Nebbiolo wines. The current releases of these ‘little ones’ are pure class, while the Langhe Nebbiolo, drawn from younger vines on Bricco Boschis, is as bright and perfumed as we have tasted from this grower. Then, the 2019 Barolo Bricco Boschis is a standout release from a year that Alfio Cavallotto believes resembles 2016 in that it is classical yet somewhat approachable on release. Among the Langhe's most distinctive wines, the two Riservas—Vignolo and Vigna San Giuseppe—hail from the 2017 harvest. Both are powerful, layered, seductive Barolos that need time to blossom, and greatness is guaranteed.

The Wines

Cavallotto Dolcetto d'Alba Vigna Scot 2022

Cavallotto Dolcetto d'Alba Vigna Scot 2022

Cavallotto’s single-vineyard Dolcetto Vigna Scot hails from 2.3 hectares of 30-year-old vines within Castiglione Falletto’s legendary Monprivato vineyard. These Dolcetto vines face east, meaning it’s a cooler and later-ripening part of the vineyard. The mature vines, low yields and traditional winemaking on these great soils result in a layered, deep, remarkably serious Dolcetto.

While the vast majority of Langhe Dolcetto is raised in stainless steel, the Cavallotto family prefers to use cement tank and 5,000-litre Slavonian botti. This polishes Dolcetto’s tannins and helps to avoid its tendency for reduction. As always, this is a Nebbiolo drinker’s Dolcetto (if you know what we mean) and one that punches well above its weight. What a delicious Dolcetto. It has juicy, mouthwatering texture bursting with vibrant cherry and spice and cosseted by palate-friendly, polished tannins. Already open for business yet so lovely and fresh, it is another sophisticated effort that is as deep and multifaceted an expression of this variety as you are likely to find. 

Cavallotto Dolcetto d'Alba Vigna Scot 2022
Cavallotto Barbera d'Alba Vigna del Cuculo 2021

Cavallotto Barbera d'Alba Vigna del Cuculo 2021

Cavallotto’s Vigna del Cuculo is a major-league Barbera from a parcel of 50-plus-year-old vines on the western side of Bricco Boschis. This parcel is named after the cuckoo bird (cuculo)—we’re not sure why, and neither is Alfio Cavallotto! This wine's unique power and ridiculous quality can be attributed to the mature vines, low yields and powerful terroir of the Bricco Boschis. The western aspect and the preponderance of limestone temper Barbera’s natural acidity, and Alfio Cavallotto explains that this ‘Barolo’ terroir contributes to an aromatic range in Barbera that is closer to Nebbiolo.

The winemaking is also distinctive, with up to 18 days on skins (a long time for Barbera) and then aging for 20 months in the same mature Slavonian casks as the Nebbiolo wines. 2021 is a wonderfully fleshy and perfumed year for this benchmark wine. It’s got that core of pure, sweet, plummy fruit so particular to this Barbera, here infused with nuances of anise, dried flower and earthy minerals. The tannins are supple and elegant, the acidity ripe yet racy, and the wine finishes with unusual depth, finesse and complexity for the variety. Equally deep, complex and textural—not all Barbera is created equal.    

Cavallotto Barbera d'Alba Vigna del Cuculo 2021
Cavallotto Barolo Bricco Boschis 2019

Cavallotto Barolo Bricco Boschis 2019

The Bricco Boschis Cru is a truly profound vineyard: an amphitheatre-shaped site producing this estate’s most emblematic Barolo. This comes from vines with an average age of 50 years, primarily situated in two parcels within this vineyard. The first is Punta Marcello, which lies at the top of the slope next to the cantina. This cool terroir is known for its fragrant, pale juice and long, angular tannins. Then, there is the Vigna Colle Sudovest parcel, facing south at a lower elevation. This is the vineyard's warmest microclimate, and the fruit from these vines produces fleshier, more accessible wines with darker, more richly flavoured juice and softer tannins.

The renowned Vigna San Giuseppe vines also contribute something to the blend, and together, these three components form a complete picture of the Cru, complementing each other and building aromatic and structural complexity. The 2019 saw between 28 and 30 days on skins, followed by three years in cask, ranging in size from 20 to 100 hectolitres. It was bottled unfiltered. On this evidence, 2019 has been a brilliant vintage for Cavallotto. Alfio Cavallotto believes the year is quite similar to 2016 in that it is both classical, yet the wine is already approachable on release. What more persuading do you need? 

“This estate is certainly the most prolific interpreter of the hilltop Bricco Boschis MGA in Castiglione Falletto. The Cavallotto 2019 Barolo Bricco Boschis (a certified organic wine) would benefit from more time in the bottle. I encountered many Barolos in 2019 that reveal a slightly reductive approach that bodes well for long cellaring. This wine is characterized by velvety black fruit that is framed by dusty nuances of crushed limestone. It builds focus and precision with more time in the glass.”
95 points, Monica Larner, Wine Advocate
“The 2019 Barolo Bricco Boschis is an absolutely gorgeous wine that needs plenty of air to open. Bright red-toned fruit, blood orange, rose petal, cinnamon, star anise and mint all grace this mid-weight, wonderfully expressive Barolo. It has been some years since I have tasted a Cavallotto Barolo with this kind of translucent old-school classicism.”
93 points, Antonio Galloni, Vinous
“Alfio Cavallotto is one of the most traditional producers in Langhe. His winemaking is not only classic but old-fashioned: indigenous yeast, oak fermentation, almost no temperature control, and long maceration with submerged cap. His wines are dark and concentrated and this 2019 is no different. Earthy and smoky, it has dark cherry and blood orange aromas alongside plenty of dried fruits. There's firm acidity to the fore, as well as firm tannins, with great mid-palate extraction. There's some stickiness on the gums now, so it comes across as very austere at the moment, but it's very good on the finish. This deserves more time in bottle and consumers who appreciate the style.”
95 points, Aldo Fiordelli, Decanter
Cavallotto Barolo Bricco Boschis 2019
Cavallotto Barolo Bricco Boschis 2019 (1500ml)

Cavallotto Barolo Bricco Boschis 2019 (1500ml)

The Bricco Boschis Cru is a truly profound vineyard: an amphitheatre-shaped site producing this estate’s most emblematic Barolo. This comes from vines with an average age of 50 years, primarily situated in two parcels within this vineyard. The first is Punta Marcello, which lies at the top of the slope next to the cantina. This cool terroir is known for its fragrant, pale juice and long, angular tannins. Then, there is the Vigna Colle Sudovest parcel, facing south at a lower elevation. This is the vineyard's warmest microclimate, and the fruit from these vines produces fleshier, more accessible wines with darker, more richly flavoured juice and softer tannins.

The renowned Vigna San Giuseppe vines also contribute something to the blend, and together, these three components form a complete picture of the Cru, complementing each other and building aromatic and structural complexity. The 2019 saw between 28 and 30 days on skins, followed by three years in cask, ranging in size from 20 to 100 hectolitres. It was bottled unfiltered. On this evidence, 2019 has been a brilliant vintage for Cavallotto. Alfio Cavallotto believes the year is quite similar to 2016 in that it is both classical, yet the wine is already approachable on release. What more persuading do you need?

“This estate is certainly the most prolific interpreter of the hilltop Bricco Boschis MGA in Castiglione Falletto. The Cavallotto 2019 Barolo Bricco Boschis (a certified organic wine) would benefit from more time in the bottle. I encountered many Barolos in 2019 that reveal a slightly reductive approach that bodes well for long cellaring. This wine is characterized by velvety black fruit that is framed by dusty nuances of crushed limestone. It builds focus and precision with more time in the glass.”
95 points, Monica Larner, Wine Advocate
“The 2019 Barolo Bricco Boschis is an absolutely gorgeous wine that needs plenty of air to open. Bright red-toned fruit, blood orange, rose petal, cinnamon, star anise and mint all grace this mid-weight, wonderfully expressive Barolo. It has been some years since I have tasted a Cavallotto Barolo with this kind of translucent old-school classicism.”
93 points, Antonio Galloni, Vinous
“Alfio Cavallotto is one of the most traditional producers in Langhe. His winemaking is not only classic but old-fashioned: indigenous yeast, oak fermentation, almost no temperature control, and long maceration with submerged cap. His wines are dark and concentrated and this 2019 is no different. Earthy and smoky, it has dark cherry and blood orange aromas alongside plenty of dried fruits. There's firm acidity to the fore, as well as firm tannins, with great mid-palate extraction. There's some stickiness on the gums now, so it comes across as very austere at the moment, but it's very good on the finish. This deserves more time in bottle and consumers who appreciate the style.”
95 points, Aldo Fiordelli, Decanter
Cavallotto Barolo Bricco Boschis 2019 (1500ml)
Cavallotto Barolo Riserva Bricco Boschis Vigna San Giuseppe 2017

Cavallotto Barolo Riserva Bricco Boschis Vigna San Giuseppe 2017

The fruit for this flagship Riserva derives from the small sub-terroir of the Bricco Boschis known as Vigna San Giuseppe. A steep slope that sits behind the cantina, this 2.38-hectare parcel has long been considered the sweet spot for this vineyard, consistently delivering one of the greatest Barolos of the region.

You get the best of everything: altitude (but not too much); excellent drainage (but enough water retention thanks to the limestone and clay, so the vines don’t stress in dry conditions); and a complex mixture of soils, including blue-tinted clays (for power), limestone (freshness and mineral drive) and sand (prettiness and perfume). The stars align to produce something magnificent once you add the 60-year-old vines, quality clonal material and southwest exposure. This 2017 spent 28 days on skins, followed by five years in large cask. Made from half a crop this year, it’s a powerful yet classic Barolo that needs time to blossom—but greatness is guaranteed.

“Organic fruit for this wine comes from a small parcel within the hilltop Bricco Boschis cru with 60-year-old vines. The Cavallotto 2017 Barolo Riserva Bricco Boschis Vigna San Giuseppe shows ample texture and softness with layers of dark fruit, plum, dried cherry, baked terracotta and spice. This vintage delivers more accessible fruit overall, and the Cavallotto house style delivers elegance and depth.”
96+ points, Monica Larner, Wine Advocate
“The 2017 Barolo Riserva Bricco Boschis Vigna San Giuseppe is redolent of dark fruits, leather, incense, tobacco, lavender and dried herbs. This strapping, muscular Barolo has a ton to offer. All it needs is to soften a bit, and whether or not that happens is something of an open question at this stage.”
94 points, Antonio Galloni, Vinous
“The dark style of Alfio Cavallotto is, if possible, enhanced here by the natural style of the vintage. This is a cask sample, still in oak and not bottled yet. It has an intense smoky woodland nose, with a lot of mineral earthiness along with liquorice, graphite, tar and earthy dark cherry. Large, powerful and extracted tannins dominate the palate, with crisp, brilliant acidity.”
96 points, Aldo Fiordelli, Decanter
Cavallotto Barolo Riserva Bricco Boschis Vigna San Giuseppe 2017
Cavallotto Barolo Riserva Vignolo 2017

Cavallotto Barolo Riserva Vignolo 2017

Cavallotto’s Vignolo comes from a 1.9-hectare parcel of this cru, which forms a ridge of southwest-facing vines along with Codana and Monprivato lying between 60 and 80 metres lower than Bricco Boschis. Vignolo’s soils have some of the highest limestone content in Castiglione Falletto. Cavallotto’s vines were planted between 1948 and 1966, and vine age combines with the terroir and organic farming to give gentle structure, fruit purity and seductive texture. The 2017 spent 25 days on skins, followed by five years in large neutral cask. This is in no way a lesser wine than the Vigna San Giuseppe; it is simply a different expression of Castiglione Falletto. 

“Vignolo is a small vineyard site just down the hill from Bricco Boschis. The 2017 Barolo Riserva Vignolo (made with organic fruit) shows extra richness and density and more mineral definition that give this wine precision and focus. There is pencil shaving, crushed stone and licorice around a core of wild berry fruit and soft cherry. This vintage shows a broader more generous personality overall. The vines are 40 years old on average, and this Barolo ages in large Slavonian oak casks for 60 months.”
95 points, Monica Larner, Wine Advocate
Cavallotto Barolo Riserva Vignolo 2017
Cavallotto Langhe Nebbiolo 2021

Cavallotto Langhe Nebbiolo 2021

The word benchmark gets bandied around a lot, but this is a Nebbiolo that justifies that term from an already hyped vintage. This year’s wine is drawn exclusively from declassified, mostly young-vine fruit from the great Castiglione Falletto Cru of Bricco Boschis. Cropped at yields below 40 hl/ha, the grapes are entirely destemmed, and fermentation is spontaneous. Malolactic conversion was in cement tanks during the spring following harvest. The wine was aged for 18 months in Slavonian oak botti and bottled unfiltered.

This perfectly portrays the balanced character of this vintage and is an outstanding mini-Barolo. It offers wonderfully red-fruited perfume and layer upon layer of gorgeous, elegantly rendered Nebbiolo fruit. There is structure, as you would expect of a serious Nebbiolo, but the tannins are fine and work to balance the wine's compact fruit. It closes with lovely energy, purity and mouthwatering salinity. It’s an outstanding, engaging Nebbiolo that offers excellent value for money. As with all this grower’s wines, the longer it spends in the decanter or glass, the more it reveals. A don’t-miss Nebbiolo.

“Dark and earthy to open, new leather and walnuts, wafts of bergamot, spice and dried flowers. It’s full-bodied, deep in flavour, red and black fruits, kind of rustic, but in a pleasing way, not least in the tea and grainy tannin grip department. There’s a cinch of orange peel bitterness, with a long grated nutmeg and slightly rusty tannin finish. Really opens up after some air. Such character. A very serious Lange Neb!”
94 points, Gary Walsh, The Wine Front
Cavallotto Langhe Nebbiolo 2021

“Cavallotto may very well be the greatest Barolo producer few people have ever heard of, something that continues to mystify me. Truth is, it isn’t just the Barolos here that are impressive, the entry-level wines are every bit as delicious and well-priced…Readers who appreciate a firm, classic style of Barolo will want to spend some time getting to know Cavallotto.” Antonio Galloni, The Wine Advocate

“Cavallotto does an excellent job of presenting the genuine side of Nebbiolo no matter what the price point of the wine. These are excellent wines from a unique position.”
Monica Larner, The Wine Advocate

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