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Piero Busso

Old Vine and Old-School Barbaresco

This is an old estate, established in the Neive area of Barbaresco in 1948 by Guido Busso, Piero’s father and Pierguido’s grandfather. Sadly Guido Busso died from an accident at the tender age of 32 and never enjoyed the fruits of his labour. On his passing, Guido’s widow Ada never ceased caring for the vines, although with a young family she was forced to sell the grapes rather than make wine. This is how things stood until Ada’s son Piero acquiesced to her request to return to the estate and pick up the baton left by his father.

Piero Busso bottled his first Albesani Barbaresco in 1982. He quickly found a local following for his seductive, modern style of Barbaresco that offered drinkers a change from the rustic norm at the time. Over the years, he showed enormous vision by acquiring parcels in the Mondino cru of Neive’s Balluri district (1985), in Gallina (again in Neive, 1999) and San Stunet in Treiso (2000). The latter remains the estate’s only vineyard outside of the Neive commune. 

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, the wines of Pier Busso (Pier is short for Pierguido) 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.

Currently Available

Piero Busso Langhe Nebbiolo 2021

Piero Busso Langhe Nebbiolo 2021

The Langhe Nebbiolo is crafted from a selection of 10- to 15-year-old vines in the Neive crus of Balluri, Albesani and Gallina. The wine fermented in stainless steel and then aged in oak botti for 12 months before being bottled unfiltered.This is just a gorgeous, old-school rendition of Nebbiolo. Pale-coloured, medium-bodied, and loaded with red and blue fruits, hints of rosewater, red meat and leather, as well as plenty of powdery tannins. A Nebbiolo to open when you’re in the mood for a Pinot-weighted wine. Gorgeous.

This is just a gorgeous, old-school rendition of Nebbiolo. Pale coloured, medium-bodied, and loaded with red and blue fruits, hints of rosewater, red meat and leather, as well as plenty of powdery tannins. A Nebbiolo to open when you’re in the mood for a Pinot-weighted wine. Gorgeous.

Piero Busso Langhe Nebbiolo 2021
Piero Busso Barbera d’Alba Majano 2020

Piero Busso Barbera d’Alba Majano 2020

The domaine crafts two Barbara wines, both sitting at what we could call ‘the serious end’ of the Barbera spectrum. In a Bibendum setting, this means closer in style to the structured, ageworthy style of Cavallotto, rather than, say, the approachable and seductive character of Sandrone or Massolino. This wine is the more fruit-forward of the two and is drawn from the Majano vineyard in Neive, sitting at 190 metres on sandy clay. The oldest vines here have reached 50 years of age, bringing uncommon depth and vinosity. The wine was matured in stainless steel for 12 months before bottling.This is superb; bloody and ferrous yet with lovely florals and a pure, dark cherry core. It immediately speaks as to why we love this producer. There’s depth yet great finesse and it’s loaded with character.

This is superb; bloody and ferrous yet with lovely florals and a pure, dark cherry core. It immediately speaks as to why we love this producer. There’s depth yet great finesse and it’s loaded with character.

Piero Busso Barbera d’Alba Majano 2020
Piero Busso Barbaresco Albesani Viti Vecchie Riserva 2016

Piero Busso Barbaresco Albesani Viti Vecchie Riserva 2016

Only bottled in the greatest years, this cuvée is crafted exclusively from vines planted in 1948 by Guido Busso, winemaker Pierguido Busso’s great-grandfather. The vines surrounding the cantina on the steepest section of the Albesani slope are of the Michet selection of Nebbiolo, highly valued for its quality and the concentration of the wine produced. The tiny yields here are fermented naturally and the wine spends up to 60 days in skins. It’s then aged for 36 months in a 10-hectolitre oak botti, then goes to bottle (unfined and unfiltered) for another year. 2016 produced 1001 bottles. This really is super; a Barbaresco equivalent of a Grand Cru Burgundy. It has intensity, depth, incredible perfume and finesse, and very fine tannins. Again, the style of the maker is immediately evident, in that the wine is classic and somewhat old-school in both flavour profile and structure. Expect waves of sweet, red and blackcurrant fruit shot through with earth, leather, beeswax and sandalwood complexity. Very, very long, and very classy.

This really is super; a Barbaresco equivalent of a Grand Cru Burgundy. It has intensity, depth, incredible perfume and finesse, and very fine tannins. Again, the style of the maker is immediately evident, in that the wine is classic and somewhat old-school in both flavour profile and structure. Expect waves of sweet, red and blackcurrant fruit shot through with earth, leather, beeswax and sandalwood complexity. Very, very long, and very classy.

“Very fine and expressive with lovely red cherries, spice, amazing purity and texture. Concentrated and fine with nice balance and a sense of freshness and finesse. Quite thrilling.”
97 points, Jamie Goode, wineanorak.com
Piero Busso Barbaresco Albesani Viti Vecchie Riserva 2016
Piero Busso Barbera d’Alba Stefanetto 2019

Piero Busso Barbera d’Alba Stefanetto 2019

Stefanetto comes from mature vines in Busso’s San Stunet vineyard (see notes for the Barbaresco San Stunet below). The higher altitude (380m above sea level), age of vines (25 to 50 years old) and limestone rich soils all contribute to a deeper and more structured Barbera than the Majano. Accordingly, this wine is raised in neutral barrels of various sizes for at least 12 months. It is also released with one extra year of age.This has more overt flesh, more plummy fruit, wilder notes and powdery tannins. In short, it’s a dark and layered Barbera of enormous character and length.

This has more overt flesh, more plummy fruit, wilder notes and powdery tannins. In short, it’s a dark and layered Barbera of enormous character and length.

Piero Busso Barbera d’Alba Stefanetto 2019
Piero Busso Barbaresco San Stunet 2019

Piero Busso Barbaresco San Stunet 2019

San Stunet is the only Busso vineyard not in Neive, and instead is in the village of Trieso. Busso farms 1.5 hectares of vines, which sit at 400 metres in altitude on a steep gradient (16%). San Stunet soils are mostly yellow marl with a lot of limestone. The Busso vines lie on the southeast face of the ridge which delivers the deepest and most articulate Nebbiolo of this cru. The site is late ripening, usually picked 10 days after the estate’s other vineyards.The winemaking is identical to the Albesani Vigna Borgese, but this has both more flesh and is punchier, suggesting both more tannins and acidity. Decant it and serve it in a Burgundy glass and you’ll be rewarded with a wonderful Nebbiolo loaded with character (dark cherry, honey, leather), depth and structure. It would ideally get 10 to 15 years bottle age, but if not, then lots of air.

The winemaking is identical to the Albesani Vigna Borgese, but this has both more flesh and is punchier, suggesting both more tannins and acidity. Decant it and serve it in a Burgundy glass and you’ll be rewarded with a wonderful Nebbiolo loaded with character (dark cherry, honey, leather), depth and structure. It would ideally get 10 to 15 years bottle age, but if not, then lots of air.

Piero Busso Barbaresco San Stunet 2019
Piero Busso Barbaresco Gallina 2018 (1500ml)

Piero Busso Barbaresco Gallina 2018 (1500ml)

Purchased in 1999, the domaine farms 1.3 hectares of what is possibly the best-known MGA of Neive (made famous by Bruno Giacosa). Sitting at 240 metres altitude on a low and twisting ridge opposite the Albesani Cru, Busso’s vines are south-west exposed and face the river. It’s a windy microclimate despite not being particularly high. The soil here is the limestone-rich Sant’Agata marl with sandy and calcareous layers. In 2015 Piero began to separate his oldest vines here (planted in the 1950s), for a separate old vine bottling (see below). The vines for this wine were planted between 25 and 50 years ago. Aging is the same as for the other crus (two years in Slavonian oak casks), but the wine is kept an extra year in bottle before release.This is clearly the most hedonistic Barbaresco in the line-up, with waves of plush fruit and very fine tannins. It offers, deep, plummy characters and all kinds of spice (cinnamon, cardamom, star anise, etc.) and a lingering, sappy close. An excellent 2018.

This is clearly the most hedonistic Barbaresco in the line-up, with waves of plush fruit and very fine tannins. It offers, deep, plummy characters and all kinds of spice (cinnamon, cardamom, star anise, etc.) and a lingering, sappy close. An excellent 2018.

“The 2018 Barbaresco Gallina is the most open-knit and forward of the three 2018 Barbarescos I tasted. Ripeness feels a bit pushed here, but it works nicely within the style of the wine. Super-ripe red cherry, sweet pipe tobacco, orange peel and exotic spice overtones build effortlessly as the Gallina shows off its racy, flamboyant personality.”
91 points, Antonio Galloni, Vinous
Piero Busso Barbaresco Gallina 2018 (1500ml)
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“Piero Busso are based in Neive and make stunning wines from some of Barbaresco’s smartest sites.” Jamie Goode, Wine Anorak

Country

Italy

Primary Region

Piemonte

People

Winemaker: Pierguido Busso

Availability

National

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