Bel Colle: A Producer Of Genuine Wines From Piedmont

Brothers Franco Pontiglione, Carlo Pontiglione, and Giuseppe Priola founded Bel Colle winery in the late 1970s. Over the decades their work with nebbiolo has stood at the center of their operation, and their Barolos and Barbarescos have been lauded and sought-after. In particular, their work with the Monvigliero vineyard (which some have referred to as the "Grand Cru" of the Verduno area of Barolo) has garnered notice. In addition to nebbiolo-based wines, Bel Colle has also gotten attention for working with the somewhat rare pelaverga. This grape was brought to the area in the 17th century and today a mere 37 acres remain in Verduno, which is considered the ideal place to grow it. Pelaverga produces a wine meant for younger consumption than Barolo or Barbaresco.

A couple of years back Bel Colle was purchased by Luca Bosio, a producer from the nearby Asti section of Piedmont. Over a recent dinner with Bel Colle's export director, we tasted through an impressive lineup of their wines, including a mini-vertical of their "Simposio" Barolo.

Bel Colle 2015 Verduno Pelaverga ($30)
A mere 1,600 cases of this unique wine were produced. It's aged in stainless steel for six months prior to bottling and sees no oak at all. Violet aromas dot the nose, and red cherry flavors follow. Sour red fruit, black pepper, and firm acid are evident on the finish. The color and weight bring to mind pinot noir. This wine will work wonderfully with charcuterie and is a great wine with which to surprise friends.

Bel Colle 2011 Barolo D.O.C.G. "Simposio" ($55)
The "Simposio" Barolo comes from vines with an average age of 50 years, grown 200 to 300 feet above sea level. Thirty-six months in oak is followed by six months in barrel prior to release. Bright black raspberry is evident from the first whiff to the last sip. Plums, spice, and green tea notes linger on the finish. This Barolo is the product of a warm vintage, and will be best enjoyed in five years or more.

Bel Colle 2012 Barolo D.O.C.G. "Simposio" ($55)
Aromas of earth, mushrooms, and cherry are all on display here. The refined palate shows off raspberry alongside spice and wisps of black tea. Chicory and bits of pomegranate emerge on the finish. Drink this one over the next 10 to 12 years.

Bel Colle 2013 Barolo D.O.C.G. "Simposio" ($55)
Black raspberry and copious spices leap from the nose in this Barolo. The firm, layered palate shows off savory herbs, dark fruit in droves, and a hint of espresso. Cinnamon and bits of clove join in on the long, prodigious finish. Firm acid and beefy tannins provide terrific structure. Drink this impressive Barolo over the next 25 years.

Bel Colle 2009 Barolo D.O.C.G. Monvigliero ($75)
These vines average 50 years old and are grown with southern exposure. The massive nose is marked by a huge burst of violets and ripe red fruit. A core of red and black fruit defines the palate. The impressive finish shows off earth, chicory, mushrooms, and continued sweet red and black fruits.

Bel Colle 2011 Barbaresco D.O.C.G. Roncaglie ($55)

The fruit comes from vineyards in the town of Treiso, noted for exceptional Barbareso production. Barrel-aging takes place in French oak for two years followed by six months in the bottle. Savory herbs and floral characteristics emerge on the nose. The palate is stuffed with velvety red cherry, spice notes and a dollop of espresso. A core of earthiness defines the lengthy finish, and firm tannins and acid provide lovely framework. Drink this one over the next 20 years. Health experts seems to agree that wine in moderation can be beneficial to your health. Here are 20 reasons why you should drink a glass of wine every day.

The meal and wines that are the subject of this review were provided at no cost to the writer.