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I was inspired a couple weeks ago when I first read Azienda Agricola Camparo's online header, "Organic as a vocation since always..." The statement seems to refer to more than just the history and the current achievements of one of our favorite Barolo producers. It invokes a sense of time without limits, an attachement to something infinite. I read it over and over - "since always," dot dot dot.
If I shut down the urge to think conceptually, I know it is rather tangible. It highlights that the Drocco family has been following organic measures for three generations, tending vines and hazelnut trees in the Langhe. It was Mauro Drocco's grandfather who first began selling wine in the 1940s. After taking over production from his father in the 90s, Mauro doubled down on the winery's commitment to organics by increasing vineyard space and intensifying low-intervention techniques. Camparo's holdings grew to include vines in their village of Diano D'Alba, as well as in La Morra and Grinzane Cavour. In 2000, they received their organic certification.
Mauro uses animal manure and compost for fertilizer. The winery lists "field beans, peas, rapeseed, mustard, rockets, sweet vetch, barley, [and] oats" as plants they grow in the vineyards to encourage healthy soils and to attract helpful insects that protect the vines and fruit against pests. Copper and sulphur use in the fields is limited. All grapes are picked by hand. In order to extend this purity into the wine, all juice is fermented with native yeasts. In the cellar, they use only large oak casks (25 hl) to age most of their red wines. The Dolcetto is aged only in stainless.
I've admittedly overthought this one sentence, but why not? It reinforces Camparo's partnership with their natural environment, whose efforts to find balance have truly existed "since always." The wines reflect this bond, and that provoked me. They are lively, with a freshness of fruit and earth, exhibiting excellent expressions of Piedmont's core grapes. All are drinking well today and would fit perfectly on the family table! David Hatzopoulos
The Boiolo is the only Barolo produced by our friend Mauro Drocco at Azienda Agricola Camparo, and it shows beautiful complexity. From 20-50 year old hand harvested Nebbiolo vines in La Morra, from slopes of south-eastern and southern exposure. The vineyard is planted on clay-calcareous, calcareous-siliceous and marl soils. Grapes are picked in October, before being pressed and fermented in stainless steel tanks. The wine ages in large French oak casks for 24 months before it is transferred to bottle, where it rests another year prior to release. On the nose, there are fresh black and red fruits, a touch of spicy licorice, and a savory aroma that conjures a bundle of dried green herbs. The palate has a bit of flesh, edges of tannic strength, and a clean line of acidity. Ripe black cherry hang above flavors of earth and dark stones. A very pleasurable wine, drinking well today. David Hatzopoulos
Camparo’s vibrant Nebbiolo comes from 20-40 year old vines (hand harvested) in Diano d’Alba, harvested in October. Vineyards are planted on eastern and south-eastern facing slopes of clay-calcareous, calcareous-siliceous, and marl. Fermentation takes place over 20-30 days in steel tanks, before the wine is aged for 12-18 months in oak casks. There are 6 more months of bottle aging before the wine is released. The result is a wine showing woodsy aromas on the nose, with fresh earth, and mix of plum, raspberry, and blackberry. The palate has similar dark fruits, along with a herbaceous edge. David Hatzopoulos
This family estate, run by third generation winegrower Mauro Drocco, has been certified organic since 2000. The grapes come from both Diano d’Alba and La Morra, from vines (40-50 years old) planted on eastern and south-eastern facing slopes. Grapes are hand harvested, then the wine ferments in stainless and spends 12-18 months in large oak casks before being cellared for 6 more months in bottle. Dark forest fruit, like cherry and blackberry, on the nose, along with accents of espresso, herbs, and flowers. The palate has a base of lively red fruit, nuanced by flavors of cocoa shell and dark minerals. David Hatzopoulos
According to Camparo's website: "Sorì means a vineyard with the best exposure to the sun in the local Piedmontese dialect." This wine is 100% Dolcetto from Diano d’Alba, which is where the estate’s winery is based. Grapes are handpicked from 30-40 year old vines on slopes of south-eastern and south-western exposure. The soil is complex mix of clay-calcareous, calcareous-siliceous and marl. The juice is fermented and aged in stainless steel, next resting for 12 months before being cellared for an additional 3-6 months in bottle. Fresh black and red fruits show on the nose, with hints crushed dark stones and violets. On the palate, there are flavors of wild cherry, with a touch of bitter skins, and blackberry. The mouthfeel is structured well with medium tannin. David Hatzopoulos