Borgognos

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Cannubi is the most famous of all of the vineyards of Barolo (Cannubio, an older spelling, was also used). It’s in the geographic heart of the Barolo zone; from the top of Cannubi (near the house pictured in the photo above) you can see much of Barolo in all four directions, from Verduno to Monforte, and La Morra to Castiglione Falletto. Perhaps the most reliable factor in establishing its reputation for high quality is that fruit from Cannubi was always the most expensive in Barolo. It’s a fascinating place to walk, both to see first-hand how large and varied it is, but also for the perspective it gives on the surrounding vineyards.

The S & B Borgogno family                                              

Something like 28 producers are now making wine from grapes grown in Cannubi (and thanks to the tireless efforts of the great Chiara Boschis, almost all are united in organic farming for the entire vineyard). Two of the biggest owners of Cannubi are named Borgogno. The various Borgogno families may be related – their wineries and vineyards are neighbors – but Giacomo Borgogno was bought by the Boschis family in 1968 (and then sold about 10 years ago to the owner of Eataly), whereas the property now called Serio Borgogno has been owned by the same family since 1897. We are much more familiar with Giacomo Borgogno – they have 39 hectares of vineyards (versus Serio Borgogno’s 3 hectares, so the supply of Giacomo Borgogno wines is much more abundant), and a history of making very good, even excellent wines. The Giacomo Borgogno wines are a classic blend of vineyards, including Cannubi, with fruit from vineyards in the towns of Barolo, Castiglione Falletto, Grinzane, La Morra, and Serralunga. By contrast Serio & Battista Borgogno were some of the earliest producers to bottle a single-vineyard wine (Cannubio, of course) along with a Barolo made up of a blend from other communes. I’ve only tasted the 1964 Cannubio, which was a very good wine. For the moment that leaves Enrico & Lodovico Borgogno; the cantina is now called Virna Borgogno; I’ve never tasted the old wines. Jamie Wolff

 

Cannubi, looking south, with the town of Barolo in the top left.                                                                               

 

PS It's also important to note (as we have before), that there are two classes of older Giacomo Borgogno: bottles such as those offered here, which were purchased by the former owner on release in the 1960s-1970s, and also bottles (not sold by us) which were reconditioned in the last few years at the winery. The second group - the reconditioned wines - have been handsomely re-packaged, with new labels and capsules, but sadly the wines were decanted off the sediment (and topped-up with the same vintage), resulting in perfectly clean and perfectly dull wine that's been stripped of character. The reconditioned wines are quite widely available, but should not be confused with what we call "original release", which make really very fine drinking.

 

Cannubi seen from Bussia; the town of La Morra on the ridge. Photo courtesy of Keith Bailey                                

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