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Piero Busso: Old Vine and Old-School Barbaresco

Piero Busso: Old Vine and Old-School Barbaresco

Occasionally we find ourselves ahead of the curve. That’s what it feels like here. Now under the thoughtful guidance of the passionate Pierguido Busso, this is an estate that is fast heading towards the pinnacle of its region. The Busso family have always had outstanding vineyard holdings and practice, but now, with Pierguido Busso taking a traditional approach in the cellar—and with ever more precise work in the vines—the wines themselves are hitting new heights. The style on offer today is truly classical, deep and structured, yet with purity of fruit and old-school perfumes that should thrill those who love the wines of Rinaldi or Cavallotto.

An instinctive winegrower unafraid to follow his own path, Piero Busso built up an enviable reputation among his peers as no-compromise vigneron; a grower’s grower of his era. Busso avoided synthetic herbicides from the beginning (very unusual at the time), meaning that even in the 1980s his vines and soils were as healthy and resilient as any in the region. In 2010 Piero Busso was joined by his children, Pierguido and Emanuela. Unlike their father, these two have had the opportunity to travel widely, tasting at top estates and absorbing the progressive, earth-to-glass philosophy sweeping across Europe’s finest domaines.

Since his arrival, Pierguido has instigated an even greater level of precision in the vineyard, from tempering yields by hard pruning, using natural cover crops and, in sunny years, crafting an ‘umbrella’ of apical shoots to provide shade for the grapes. The 10 hectares farmed today are certified organic, and the domaine remains small enough for the family to be involved in all aspects of physical work.

In the winery, Pierguido takes a minimalist approach. Having built up the population of ambient yeast, fermentations are now entirely spontaneous. Where his father had preferred a shorter, more vigorous extraction and aging in small cask, the son opts for longer time on the skins, fewer punch-downs and exclusively large cask maturation for the Nebbiolo wines. Macerations typically last 40-45 days using cappello sommerso (submerged cap)—a very traditional method. Aging takes place in 1000 to 2500-litre botti, and all the wines are bottled unfiltered.

Despite emerging as one of Barbaresco’s most captivating producers, these wines continue to fly under the radar, perhaps because it’s still early days since most of the changes have occurred, and perhaps also, as the Busso family are very low-key, humble people. Nonetheless, it would be difficult to find a more exciting ‘new’ grower within the DOCG’s boundaries (we’ve been looking for years!), especially if you love the classical style of Piemontese wine. We are counting our blessings and hoping that our clients will share our passion for the wines of this rising star. Packed with character and depth, these are Piemontese wines to sweep you off your feet.

The Wines

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