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Cavallotto

Benchmark Castiglione Falletto: Good Things Come to Those Who Wait

Exclusive owner and producer of the famed Bricco Boschis Cru, Cavallotto is situated in the heart of Barolo’s Castiglione Falletto commune. From here the Cavallotto family craft a set of wines that are as traditional as they are delicious. Castiglione Falletto’s sandy/calcareous clays combine with Cavallotto’s meticulous viticulture and low yields to produce wines that offer both bewitching depth and texture as well as the classical structure that plucks away at the heartstrings of Barolo devotees.

While the showpiece of the family’s vineyards is the monopole Bricco Boschis, there is also the adjoining Vignolo Cru that also produces outstanding Barolo. Nonetheless, the majority of the Estate’s bottlings come from the majestic Bricco Boschis, at the foot of which can be found both the family home and cantina. Facing south/southeast, this sun-drenched hill has long been considered one of Barolo’s blue-ribbon vineyards. The entire planted area covers some 8.8-hectares, yet because of variation in soil composition, elevation and aspect, the Cavallotto’s parcellate the site into three subzones; Vigne Colle Sud-Ovest, Punta Marcello and Vigna San Giuseppe. The last of these is also bottled as a single Cru Riserva. The densely planted, old vines grow here at an altitude of 300-360 metres and the soils—a patchwork of yellow, white and grey calcareous clays, interwoven with sand and sandstone—are as varied as the vineyard’s myriad exposures.

The Cavallotto’s staunch belief is that wine should be allowed to make itself, rather than be driven by the market. It’s a belief we passionately agree with.

Cavallotto blood runs deep in Castiglione Falletto and while the Estate remains steeped in tradition, it is also one of the region’s true pioneers. It was under the stewardship of Olivio and Guido Cavallotto, in the 1970s that this Estate began managing their vineyards organically, inviting ridicule from their neighbours. The brothers were also the first to interplant grasses between rows and to introduce natural pest management, not to mention restricted yields (today the yearly average is a low 32-38 hl/hl). 

This was also one of the first Barolo producers to vinify and bottle their own wine, beginning in the 1940s. The wines continue to be fermented using indigenous yeast and there isn't a whiff of small oak in this surgically clean cantina. All the reds we ship, save for the Dolcetto (which rests only in tank) are aged exclusively in mammoth-sized Slovenian botti. Today it’s the fifth generation, Alfio, Giuseppe and Laura who continue their family’s rich tradition, with the same attention to detail in both the vineyards and cellars. Much more comfortable amongst the vines than in the public eye, these humble siblings are growers in the purest sense, a fact that is reflected in the quality of every Cavallotto bottle.

Deep, soulful and classically styled Barolo is the name of the game here. All Cavallotto wines seem to unfurl in the glass, slowly picking up levels of textural sensuality and minute detail as they breathe in air—the longer you spend with them, the more they reveal. Even the Dolcetto and Barbera come from the same slopes as the Nebbiolo’s and are cut from similar, old-school cloth. The style of the wines reflects the vintage, the superb sites and the Cavallotto family’s exacting viticulture and traditionalist winemaking approach.

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Cavallotto Dolcetto d'Alba Vigna Scot 2021

Cavallotto Dolcetto d'Alba Vigna Scot 2021

Cavallotto’s single vineyard Dolcetto Vigna Scot hails from 2.3 hectares of 30-year-old vines located within Castiglione Falletto’s legendary Monprivato vineyard. These Dolcetto vines face east, meaning it’s a cooler and later-ripening part of the vineyard. On these great soils, the mature vines, low yields and traditional winemaking result in a layered, deep and 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 helps to avoid Dolcetto’s tendency for reduction and polishes its tannins. As always, this is a Nebbiolo drinker’s Dolcetto (if you know what we mean) and one that punches well above its weight. Perfectly ripe and with brooding fruit depth, it’s a deep, nuanced, and soulful Dolcetto with layers of fruit shot through by bright acidity and refreshing tannins. The length is striking, too. A triumph.

As always, this is a Nebbiolo drinker’s Dolcetto (if you know what we mean) and one that punches well above its weight. Perfectly ripe and with brooding fruit depth, it’s a deep, nuanced, and soulful Dolcetto with layers of fruit shot through by bright acidity and refreshing tannins. The length is striking, too. A triumph.

"Dark cherries, almonds, plums, violets, it’s fruit driven with fine tannins, stony feel and straight up delicious."
92 points, Kasia Sobiesiak, The Wine Front
Cavallotto Dolcetto d'Alba Vigna Scot 2021
Cavallotto Barolo Bricco Boschis 2018

Cavallotto Barolo Bricco Boschis 2018

The Bricco Boschis Cru is a truly profound vineyard; an amphitheatre-shaped site that produces this estate’s most emblematic Barolo. This comes from vines with an average age of 50 years, mostly situated in two parcels within this single vineyard. The first is the 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, lying at a lower elevation and facing south. This is the warmest microclimate of the vineyard and so the fruit from these vines produces fleshier and 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 into the final blend. The 2018 saw between 25 and 35 days on skins, followed by three years in cask, ranging in size from 20 to 100 hectolitres. It was bottled unfiltered.This is outstanding and one of the finest 2018 Barolos we’ve tried. The notes below describe the wine well—it’s a beauty with undeniable power and superb detail, as well as fine tannins and juicy acidity. With time in the decanter, it opens to reveal a finely tuned, supple palate with marvellous floral complexity and perfumed length. It has depth but remains light on its feet and has the balance to drink well young, and with age.

This is outstanding and one of the finest 2018 Barolos we’ve tried. The notes below describe the wine well—it’s a beauty with undeniable power and superb detail, as well as fine tannins and juicy acidity. With time in the decanter, it opens to reveal a finely tuned, supple palate with marvellous floral complexity and perfumed length. It has depth but remains light on its feet and has the balance to drink well young, and with age.

“The Cavallotto 2018 Barolo Bricco Boschis (a certified organic wine) is a lovely expression with fruit from one of the most beautiful sites in Castiglione Falletto, measuring 7.3 hectares. The wine is streamlined and tight with forest berry, blackcurrant and spice. It is taut and silky, showing fruit that has been shaped by cool nights and warm days. Bricco Boschis always delivers a special sense of sharpness and focus.”
94 points, Monica Larner, The Wine Advocate
“Muscular and powerful, don’t search for elegance here. Bricco Boschis is an old style Barolo typical of Alfio Cavallotto and his passion for authentic wines. The concentration and power are impressive for the 2018 vintage. Prunes and leather, leafy lightness, a touch of orange and an almost grapefruit note are sustained by firm acidity on a large, full, biting palate built for the long haul, filled out with youthful fruit concentration.”
94 points, Aldo Fiordelli, Decanter
“Capturing the freshness and finesse of the vintage, this has classic varietal aromas of rose petal, forest berry, camphor and underbrush. Reflecting the nose, the vibrant, focused palate delivers ripe red cherry, crushed raspberry, wild mint and star anise set against taut, refined tannins. Bright acidity keeps it balanced.”
95 points, Kerin O’Keefe, Wine Enthusiast
Cavallotto Barolo Bricco Boschis 2018
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 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 Barbera d'Alba Vigna del Cuculo 2020

Cavallotto Barbera d'Alba Vigna del Cuculo 2020

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! The unique power and ridiculous quality of this wine can be attributed to the mature vines, low yields, and powerful terroir of the Bricco Boschis. The western aspect and the preponderance of limestone in the soil here 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 24 months in the same, mature Slavonian casks as the Nebbiolo wines. 2020 is a wonderfully balanced year for this benchmark wine. It’s got that core of pure, sweet and ripe black fruit so particular to this Barbera, here infused with a nuance of ink, violet and wet stones. The tannins are supple and elegant, the acidity fresh but folded into the wine’s delicious flesh. It finishes with unusual finesse and complexity for the variety.

2020 is a wonderfully balanced year for this benchmark wine. It’s got that core of pure, sweet and ripe black fruit so particular to this Barbera, here infused with a nuance of ink, violet and wet stones. The tannins are supple and elegant, the acidity fresh but folded into the wine’s delicious flesh. It finishes with unusual finesse and complexity for the variety.

Cavallotto Barbera d'Alba Vigna del Cuculo 2020
Cavallotto Langhe Nebbiolo 2020

Cavallotto Langhe Nebbiolo 2020

The word benchmark gets bandied around a lot these days, but this is a Nebbiolo, from an already hyped vintage, that justifies that term. It comes from declassified, mostly young vine fruit, from the great Castiglione Falletto Crus of Bricco Boschis, Codana and Pernanno. Cropped at yields of around 38 hl/ha, the grapes were fully destemmed and fermentation occurred with indigenous yeasts. Malolactic fermentation 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 truly an outstanding mini-Barolo. The nose is captivatingly bright, with lovely black cherry, rose and other savoury and complex aromas. The same vibrant intensity shines through on the palate, where the elegant tide of suave fruit is perfectly framed by lively acidity and sophisticated, powdery tannins, all leading to a lingering finish.

"Hazelnuts and red berries, whiffs of coffee and nutmeg, tannins not super high, which is refreshing and approachable. Finishing on red apple skins and roses. How pretty. I love Langhe Nebbiolo. Quite often for its ease of young tannins and the price."
93 points, Kasia Sobiesiak, The Wine Front
Cavallotto Langhe Nebbiolo 2020
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“Cavallotto does an excellent job of presenting the genuine side of Nebbiolo no matter what the price point of the wine.” Monica Larner, The Wine Advocate

“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

“These are classic bottles to the core, the result of rigorous management in the vineyard and long maceration in the cellar.” Gambero Rosso 

Country

Italy

Primary Region

Piemonte

People

Winemakers: Alfio, Giuseppe and Laura Cavallotto

Availability

National

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