Lano Langhe Nebbiolo – organic
Gianluigi Lano is a reserved, contemplative person. He understands the importance of his land and takes pride in what he has. This is why he chose to bottle his father’s grapes in 1993; no longer willing to sell them to the local cooperative. The weight of that decision is reflected in his fanatical farming standards and in the quality of his wines. With no family winemaker to look up to and no reputation to rest on, bottling his own wine would lay bare his hard work, skill, and conviction.
Lano Gianluigi farms the right way; his wines are recognized as true wines of terroir; long aging and typically vin de garde in style.
Where many Barbaresco producers underlying the current renaissance choose a style based more solely on fruit and generous structure, the wines of Lano Gianluigi are decidedly medium-bodied yet strictly structured- with great refinement and powdery tannin to complement the beautiful aromatic intensity. The Barbaresco Rocche Massalupo is for the true Barberesco connoisseur – as sculpted and precise as a steel beam – with the solidness to match. There is a regal restraint that is something to marvel at in youth and truly engage with as the develops with age. It’s difficult to consistently have wines throughout the range of such striking structure in medium-bodied, precise frames. The consistency of Lano Gianluigi is truly on par with more famous, elite Barbaresco producers.
This wine is declassified Barbaresco Rocche Massalupo. Traditionally, this wine is only 1/3 declassed Massalupo, but 2019 was a hot year and Gianluigi decided to declassify most of the fruit and make this cuvée 100% Massalupo. Fine tannin, an acidic backbone, and precise aromatics are finely woven into the fabric of the wine, rendering a complete wine of great pleasure. This is truly a standalone Nebbiolo as opposed to the introduction to it. This wine rewards well over five to 10 years of aging as the secondary aromas that make Nebbiolo so compelling become more present
Gianluigi, Daniela and Samuele (Son), preside over the vineyards and cellar. The family farm is next to the Rocche Massalupo cru, just down the hill from the village of Treiso. All vineyard parcels are a combination of calcareous clay and sand, with Nebbiolo generally planted on plots with a higher percentage of clay. The most important plots have vines between 30 and 50 years of age.
Organic certification was completed in 2018, however, their farming standards are much deeper. A green harvest is completed early in the season to concentrate growth on a small number of grape bunches. Cover crop between the vines is uninhibited in the summer, with periodic cutting between rows only to provide nutrients back to the soil. They do not even use natural fertilizer and no treatment of any kind is applied after the first week in July, ensuring a particularly pure and clean crop at harvest. This greatly increases risk, but it’s a decision that is consistent with their contemplative nature and strict farming standards. The family finds better balanced wine and smoother spontaneous fermentation when biodiversity is present in the vineyards. Samuele explained in detail how they use natural algae treatments to fight mildew, as an alternative to copper.
The family also allows ample canopy growth and rarely thins the canopy. If the canopy is too thick, chutes are tied together, preserving ripening capability while also promoting air circulation. As Samuele reiterates, farming decisions are always to foster the necessary biodiversity to support cellar practices that best showcase individual plots, such as spontaneous fermentation.
In the cellar, their goal is simplicity. Cement without temperature control is employed for primary and malolactic fermentation while old oak casks see most of the wines through a long, cool élevage (in the winter months, one is wise to bring a warm hat into the cellar). Cement is considered quite traditional and used by many of the finest producers in the Langhe; naturally regulating temperature. Use of sulfites is extremely low and only used for bottling or “rack and return” activity. All wine is bottled without fining or filtration.
The wines all share powdery tannin and medium body with well judged ripeness leading to fruit at the cooler end of the spectrum. Old vine Barbaresco Rocche Massalupo and single vineyard Barbera d’Alba are the cornerstone of a deeply serious range of wines made to keep, each with a transparency, intensity and intellect expected of Italy’s finest appellations.