Above: Charles Scicolone (left) and Tom Maresca have been tasting and writing about Nebbiolo for more than three decades. The following is Tom’s response to Franco Ziliani’s editorial on new trends in oak aging in Langa.
Bravo, Franco! you are right on target about the gradually diminishing presence of new oak flavors in this year’s presentation of Alba wines. During the many visits to producers that I crammed into my always-too-short stay in Piemonte, I was struck over and over by how many former new-barrique advocates were now using second, third, and even fourth passage barrels, and/or switching to large botti and even the grand old-fashioned Slavonian-oak casks that were once the norm in the region. Perhaps we have economics to thank for this? New barriques are an expensive affectation, and times are hard. Or maybe the winemakers are finally listening to their customers, who have outgrown Pepsi-generation oaky wines? Let us hope it’s both.