It was just nine years ago that Olek Bondonio started making his own wine. He relocated to his parent’s summer home in Barbaresco, “La Berchialla”, which has been in the family for over 200 years. However Olek is the first to dedicate himself entirely to the land and the vines that cover it. Since the winery’s conception in 2005 he has remained committed to working with the least amount of chemical input, both in the vineyard and in the cellar. This groundwork makes for healthy fruit that allows him to adopt a hands off approach after harvest - he works strictly with indigenous yeasts and minimal additions of sulphur. Traditional vinification methods are favoured, producing wines that are indicative of fruit and place.
There’s not many Barbarescos quite like these offerings from Bondonio, and while they speak of place, they have a kinship, perhaps, with the wines of Foillard for their wild and unfettered beauty, silty tannin, and distinct personality. Less polish. More verity. This is perfumed and earthy, wild mint and aniseed, ripe cherry, damp earth and curry spices. Rich in tannin and tactile grip, freshness with ripe raspberry and strawberry, charisma and chunky length. It feels like vineyard to glass. It’s a wonderful expression of Nebbiolo. The words just tumbled out; it must be good. And it’s pretty good drinking now. Tasted: April 2020; Alcohol: 14%; Price: $130; Closure: Cork; Drink: 2020-2027+; Rated: 95 Points; Gary Walsh; The Wine Front
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