2010 Ettore Germano Dolcetto d'Alba "Pradone"
 
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Sergio Germano and the Vineyards of Ettore Germano Tight Belts in Serralunga

Since 2004, when Sergio Germano's Barolos catapulted the gentle giant of Serralunga into the top tier of Piemontese winemakers, the single vineyard "Cerretta," "Prapo," and old vine "Lazzarito" have become more and more difficult to lay one's hands on. With Parker and Galloni steadily raising the bar, dropping 92-93 point raves on these terrifically complex Burgundian renderings, eighty percent of the Germano Barolo production is now ticketed for the export market.

But if Barolo is what's drawn the attention of critics and importers, locally, it's always been Germano's exquisitely juicy, single vineyard Dolcettos that have raised eyebrows. As many in the region pull out Dolcetto planted on hillsides where Nebbiolo can also flourish, Sergio sticks to his guns, continuing to push out a few hundred cases per year of a handful of single vineyard bottlings that redefine the variety.

Dolcetto "Lorenzino" is darkly concentrated, if back on its heels and understated. The "Pra di Po" is harder and more muscular, a chewy, briary take on the variety. But Sergio's calling card is "Pradone," drawn from a 45-year-old patch that abuts Lazzarito. Rich, compact, infused with a gorgeous blend of raspberry, black cherry and underbrush, this exquisite, one-of-a-kind Dolcetto seems to marry Moulin-à-Vent flash with signature Piemontese structure.

We first met Sergio in 2008, on the eve of the release of a trio of darkly concentrated 2004 Baroli that would send critics reeling. Before the rest of the import world saw what was coming, we wrote stories about the 2004 "Cerretta" and "Prapo," treating a few hundred members to a taste of Sergio's genius. But as to the Dolcettos, Sergio was stingy. Production was tiny. Local demand dwarfed supply. WineAccess would have to take a back seat.

Last week, we received an email from the giant of Serralunga. Sergio described the trials and tribulations of a most difficult 2012 harvest in northern Italy. He confirmed our allocation for the 2008 Barolos, twenty-five cases of each are ready for pickup whenever convenient. But then he tacked on a quick paragraph that speaks more loudly than the front page of WSJ to Italy's short-term economic future.

Sergio's 2008 Barolos are entirely pre-sold, ticketed for collector cellars from Tokyo to Central Park. But as to what many believe to be Piemonte's juiciest red wine bargain -- the 2010 Dolcetto "Pradone" -- with Italy teetering, the locals have tightened their belts.

The 2010 Dolcetto D'Alba "Pradone" is exquisite. Brilliant deep ruby to the edge, with luscious aromas of crushed small red fruits, black cherry, earth and underbrush. As has been the case since we first tasted this old vine beauty, the attack is rich and marvelously juicy, profoundly concentrated for the variety, the perfect marriage of primary fruit opulence and signature Serralunga cut.

In one of the strangest wine markets in memory, 1200 bottles of the 2010 Dolcetto "Pradone" remain in the Serralunga cellar. Sergio sharpened his pencil. Then, we did the same.


Tasting Notes

2010 Ettore Germano Dolcetto d'Alba "Pradone"
"Deepest ruby to the edge. Luscious aromas of crushed raspberries, black cherry, laced with underbrush. Rich and juicy on the attack, packed with red fruit preserves, tinged with anise and sweet herbs. Fabulous concentration for the variety; a logical mix of superb Moulin-à-Vent, bracketed by Serralunga limestone cut. Drink now for its primary fruit opulence or age for 3-5 years in a cool cellar."
-- WineAccess Travel Log

*Important Shipping Information
    • This is a Pre-Arrival Offer: Weather permitting, wine will begin shipping upon arrival, in January, 2012.

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