Tasting notes: Bricco del Drago
Deep, ruby-red with fine, nuanced aromas, reflecting the ideal interplay of Nebbiolo and Dolcetto. Notes of blueberries, plums and cherry with hints of dried herbs and sun baked earth. Taut, concentrated plum and black fruit on the palate alongside wild cherry and fresh redcurrants. There are also hints of spice, coffee, bitter chocolate and some complex savoury notes. A beautifully balanced wine with the concentration and structure to mature over a decade or more.
Full-bodied pasta dishes, hard, mature cheeses, or roasted red meats and game.
The Bricco del Drago (Dragon’s Hill) vineyards form part of Poderi Colla’s 25 hectare Cascine del Drago Estate, which is situated at seven kilometres from Alba in San Rocco Seno d’Elvio. The vineyards have a westerly aspect and are situated at between 330 to 400 metres above sea level. The vines are, on average, around 20 years old with a planting density of 5000 vines per hectare. Wine yield is 4000 litres per hectare. Harvest time falls between 20th and 30th September for Dolcetto and 1st to 10th October for Nebbiolo grapes. The soil gives the Dolcetto tremendous complexity and structure. The two grape varieties (Dolcetto and Nebbiolo) are vinified separately, due to the grapes ripening at different times. Maceration for Dolcetto lasts for 5-8 days at 25 degrees C, Nebbiolo for 10-12 days at 30 degrees C. The wines are then blended and undergo maturation in a combination of French and Slavonian oak (some new and some 2 year old) for 12 – 18 months depending on the vintage. The wine is then racked into stainless steel.
Established in 1993 by Tino Colla (brother of the legendry Beppe Colla) and his niece Federica, Poderi Colla is very much a family affair and continues the Colla family’s three centuries of winemaking heritage in northern Italy.Tino and Federica believe in a non-interventionist approach to winemaking, to give each wine a unique expression of site and vintage, and they take sustainability and the environment as seriously as their wines.
They produce wines from three outstanding sites in Alba and cover nearly the entire spectrum of Alba styles – using their own grapes from vineyards in Bricco del Drago, Tenuta Roncaglie (Barbaresco) and Tenuta Dardi le Rose (Barolo). The wines are balanced, rich and complex.
In 1980, Luciano Degiacomi, the original owner of the Cascine Drago vineyard, a pioneer of sustainable viticulture and friend of the Colla family, made this statement about his viticultural practices: “These wines are produced from grapes coming from traditionally farmed vineyards, with no chemical herbicides, defended from animal and vegetable pests using ‘Lotta Guidata’. This method (literally ‘controlled struggle’) allows healthy production, respecting the environment and human health, through the reduced and targeted use of the most appropriate treatments.” This ethos is still in force today.
The aim has always been to make the smallest impact on the environment and the purest possible wines. Since 1995, Colla has taken part in Piemonte’s agricultural environmental programme, modified with a more restrictive internal protocol governing integrated management and environmental sustainability. The use of fertiliser is limited and occasional, mainly organic, using worm compost produced by a small and entirely reliable firm. Only if vines are suffering from specific deficiencies does it use chemical fertilisers permitted for organic farming. Weed control is achieved by mechanical methods, except in rainy years or in steeper vineyards with older and more irregularly shaped vines where mechanical methods cannot be used and which would cause unnecessary air pollution and soil compaction. As for canopy management and green harvesting, all the work is done manually to balance and limit production and to facilitate aeration, thus curbing the formation of moulds that could damage the health of the grapes. Poderi Colla received SNQPI (Sistema di Qualità Nazionale Produzione Integrata) certification in 2019.