As one of the most prestigious wines in the history of the Italian wine industry, it should come as no surprise than many producers have tried their hands at making Barolo. After all, a wine that carried the moniker of the Wine of Kings is almost always going to maintain its popularity based on reputation alone.
However, that does not mean that a lack of quality can ever be accepted. That’s why it truly takes something special for a company to not only make Barolo, but to do so consistently and to a high enough standard that it can be truly recognized as one of the best of the best.
Happily for today’s featured producer, over a century of hard work has truly paid off and resulted in the development of a reputation for creating some truly fine examples of a wine for which there are many amazing vintages.
To celebrate that achievement, we will first look at the road that Marziano Abbona walked to get to where it is today, before looking at a Barolo that we truly feel will knock your socks off.
The story of this most amazing winery finds its origins in the early 1900s, when the hard work of the first Marziano Abbona, alongside his son Celso, first allowed the wines they produced to begin achieving acclaim.
Though rooted in tradition, the duo were also unafraid of taking chances in an effort to progress the wine and the industry surrounding it. For example, Celso was the first person in his generation to recognize the potential offered by the region of Dogliano and his hard work resulted in the production of Dolcetto grapes that are of an extremely high standard.
Together with his father and, later on, other members of the family, Celso created the prestigious Bricco Doriolo vineyard to further cultivate this grape and create one of the most acclaimed crus in the history of Italy. In fact, this particular wine is so ingrained in the in the work of Celso that the company’s flagship wine is named Papa Celso in honor of his work. Together this father and son tandem worked to establish the company that later generations would be able to build on.
The next generation took over Celso’s work upon his passing in 1964, with his sons Marziano and Enrico carrying through with the work ethic delivered by their father during some difficult years for the company. Through the 1960s, 70s, and 80s, the duo guided the family business and expanded it from the traditional farm it had been into a full-blown winery with the potential to grow into something much more.
It was under their stewardship that the first bottles of Dolcetto to carry the family name were produced and the brothers continued investing into the land that their father had worked so hard to cultivate, creating the foundation on which future expansion would be able to happen.
This expansion began at the beginning of the 1980s, when the brothers began to look further afield in their efforts to truly discover the potential their winery had. It was during this period that they began looking towards the Langhe, which presented a brand new challenge to them.
That challenge was Barolo, a wine with a sterling reputation. It would take a great deal of hard work and dedication to achieve supremacy with a wine that was already being made by so many amazing producers, but the brothers rose to the task with the purchase and cultivation of Monforte d’Alba and Novello.
The duo conducted extensive research before making their purchases, locating vineyards that had great potential for the growth of the Nebbiolo grape that is so vital to production of the King of Wines. Over time, the company would develop just as strong a reputation for its production of Barolo as it has for Dolcetto, with the gamble made by the two brothers paying off handily.
As the new millennium approached, the death of Enrico in 1999 threatened to place a damper on the company’s efforts. However, in the very same year, Mara Abbona, the daughter of Marziano, entered the company and quickly set about building upon the brothers’ vision alongside her father.
Marziano, for his part, continued his research into the Barolo region and purchased a number of specially chosen estates that would allow for the cultivation of even better Nebbiolo grapes. By the end of the 1990s, the company had developed such a strong reputation that it was able to build a brand new winery to lie at the center of its multiple vineyards and its reputation as a producer of Dolcetto and Barolo was secured.
Today, the company continues its experimentation and has even begin producing Chardonnay and Pinot Nero, to sit alongside the amazing red wines that it has built its reputation on. In 2008, Marziano’s younger daughter, Chiara, entered the family business and, together with her sister, is spearheading the company’s growth and transition into the digital age.
Now, with all of that being said, let’s take a look at one of the Barolos that stand as a testament to the hard work and dedication that has defined the Abbona family for over a century.
Available for a remarkably reasonable price, the 2012 vintage of Abbona Barolo crackles with an undertone that demonstrates just how important the work that Marziano and Enrico Abbona placed into locating the perfect vineyards for their efforts.
The stunning aroma offers the slightest hints of toast alongside a strong note of the Porcini mushrooms that are native to the lands.
This is complemented on the palate, where the wine unveils the black cherry flavouring that is so typical of great Barolos, alongside smaller notes of mocha and star anise that really set the wine off and make it feel unique, even amongst such sturdy competition.
In the Abbona Barolo 2012, the company has created a Barolo that is not only accessible to the larger public, but is also fully fit to carry the moniker of the King of Wines.