One of the great joys of operating a website that is dedicated solely to the discovery and promotion of great Italian wines is that you occasionally come across companies who don’t have the reputation that many of the heavy hitters in the industry enjoy, but are still capable of producing wines that can set your soul alight and remind you that passion and an appreciation for the techniques used to create wine are all that is needed to create a truly great vintage.
Andrea Oberto is one such winemaker. From humble origins, this family run business has been able to create some truly enchanting wines that have captivated those who have been lucky enough to taste them. Unfortunately, that number is far too few in our books, particularly outside of its native Italy, so today we will be taking a look at the story of this wonderful winemaker and one of the wines that we believe everybody should try to get a taste for what they have to offer.
The story of Andrea Oberto is presented as an old fashioned yarn in some respects by his son, though it is one that is more than capable of wowing everybody who hears it. It is the story of a mine who developed a passion for Italian wine and became determined to create his own in any way that he could, just to find out if he was able.
The story is simple and follows the trail of a man who started his life working in humble professions that never hinted at his talents for creating wines that would be capable of captivating anybody who drank them. While his background in farming may have given him a slightly better understanding of the land and what it has to offer, his work as a lorry driver is never going to be associated with the wine industry, barring the potential that he worked to deliver bottles of wine for other people.
Still, this passionate man still managed to work exhausting hours and then find time to cultivate the vines on a 3 hectare plot of land that he maintained for himself. This plot was inherited from his father and allowed Andrea to start experimenting with a number of ideas that he had in regards to winemaking.
The plot also served a practical purpose, as many of the grapes that were grown there would be sold to the local cooperative winery and used to make wines that would then be sold on to private clients, rather than mass produced as most wines are in the current era. This gave Andrea a good gauge for determining the quality of the grapes that he was able to produce, as people who are willing to order wine privately, rather than purchase it from more renowned suppliers, would only do so if the quality of the wine they received was up to par.
This led the family and Andrea to making the decision of expanding their vineyards in an effort to create their own wines using the grapes that they had worked so hard to grow. Instead of selling them to the local wine cooperative, the grapes were instead used to create wines by the family and their vineyard soon expanded from three hectares to sixteen, allowing them to fill more than 100,000 bottles per year with their wonderful wines.
Through it all, Andrea has maintained his passion for the land that helped him to achieve his dream. Instead of outsourcing the farming work that is required in order to grow grapes of such immeasurable quality, Andrea continues to work on the land that his father cultivated and he turned into such an astonishing success. By remaining faithful to the countryside that has given him so much in his life, Andrea is able to create wines that demonstrate that passion and dedication are just as important to the wine industry as a longstanding lineage.
This passion runs in the family and, as Andrea has begun to age, his son Fabio has now been tasked with helping to take his father’s dream to the next level. He has seen Andrea achieve everything that he hoped for through simple hard work and sacrifice, achieving a level of success that he has only dreamed about in the process. His small vineyard has gone from growing grapes for others wines to growing grapes for the thousands of bottles that the family produce each year, all of which have received critical acclaim for their outstanding quality.
Fabio now faces a challenge to continue to work of a man who he calls “extraordinary,” continuing to create wines that live up to the exceptionally high standards that Andrea has set while also hoping to continue to expand the business and ensure that it achieves an even high level of recognition in the future.
It is a challenge that Fabio accepts wholeheartedly with the aim of using the values that his father taught him in order to continue his father’s work with the same level of drive and passion that he saw growing up. If the recent vintages released by the company are any indication, the family business is in very good hands indeed.
Barolo has long been recognised as one of the greatest red wines produced in Italy, with Andrea Oberto putting his own spin on the classic with his Oberto Barolo Albarella 2011.
The wine features a bright red garnet colouring that will enchant the drinker, especially when they hold the glass up to the light and take note of the interesting orange shades that permeate the darker reds.
Once brought to the nose, the wine exhibits a bouquet of tobacco, dried flowers and China Calissaia bark, making it one of the most complex and interesting examples of Barolo in recent memory. This fleshy aroma only serves to tantalise the drinker more, hinting at the amazing flavour they are about to experience.
Once introduced to the palette, the wine demonstrates a firm structure that is the result of many years of work, with a moderate acidity that makes the wine pleasant to drink, offering a challenge without being overly complex.