Piero Busso tending to his grapes
Piero and Pieroguido Busso took us across the road to the Cru Albesani vineyard, where they call their parcel the Borgese vineyard because it surrounds their cantina and house. On a foggy and drizzly afternoon we went to check the grapes for rot, after four days of rain, but all in all the fruit looked good. The vineyards were filled with small berry Nebbiolo grapes that still needed a little more sun before they could be harvested. We then took a steep drive to the Gallina vineyard, and I was so impressed with the meticulous care that goes into their farming. Father and son are in the vineyards daily to check the grapes and remove leaves so the fruit can ripen perfectly. With grass and weeds growing beneath the vines, and soft organic soils under foot, one can see clearly the application of their natural approach to winegrowing.
As we walked Borgese-Albesani vineyard - my favorite because of its family history - Piero told us that Guido Busso had planted the vineyard in 1945 before establishing the winery in 1953. Tragically his life was cut short when he was 32 and Piero only four-years-old. This vineyard still represents Guido’s vision, which became a reality first with Piero, and now Pieroguido as the third generation.
After our trek in the vineyards we were welcomed into their cantina for a beautiful dinner with the Busso family. Piero's wife Lucia served traditional food from Piemonte. We started with local cheeses and salami served with the classic Grissini or bread sticks. The Insalata di Carne Cruda, which is raw veal prepared with lemon, garlic and olive oil, was paired with Piero Busso Langhe Bianco 2012 (Chardonnay/Sauvignon Blanc) and Piero Busso Langhe Nebbiolo 2012, which is 60% from the Gallina vineyard. Next, Lucia served Insalata Russa - minced vegetables with mayonnaise, which was followed by the Barbarescos, starting with the Mondino 2011 from the Balluri vineyard. This wine was stunning with layers of red fruit and perfect structure. The Borgese-Albesani 2011 was delicate with rose petals and strawberries, and a perfect pairing with the amazing egg pasta ravioli filled with veal that came next. The wines of Barbaresco match the heartiness of the Piemontese fare. And since I've never had the pleasure of tasting older Barbarescos it was a true experience to taste the 1999 Mondino, 1997 and 1994 Barbaresco from Piero Busso. These wines were still complex with bright fruit and earthiness. It was unbelievable to see how well these wines age.
After the meal, we blind tasted three wines from Piero's cellar. This is always fun to do with a group of wine professionals.
Hirsch "East Ridge" Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast 2010 (Georgia Sugerman identified this down to the vintage.)
Gaja Barbaresco 2004
Conterno "Cascina Francia" Barolo 2006
We capped off our unforgettable day with foosball in the cellars while sipping on Barbaresco. The spirit of the Busso family is evident in each bottle of wine. This is a trip I'll cherish forever.
For more on the wines of Piero Busso, read here.