Nicoletta Bocca has been the driving force at San Fereolo since she acquired the property in 1992, during which time she has mastered the terroir of her Valdibà subzone and completed the conversion to certified biodynamic (Demeter). This estate is among the greatest references for the terroir of Dogliani, which is located immediately south of Barolo in the Langhe. The Dogliani DOCG is home to some of the greatest Dolcetto vineyards in Piedmont, and this appellation accounts for the majority of the estate’s 12 hectares under vine. The oldest Dolcetto vines were planted in 1936, while the youngest date back to 1978. The finest sources are destined for the flagship San Fereolo cuvée, while the balance of the Dolcetto vines comprise the Valdibà bottling. In addition to the Dolcetto holdings, San Fereolo has several important parcels of Barbera, which are assembled with a touch of Nebbiolo for a Langhe Rosso cuvée known as Austri. Rounding out the holdings are additional small Nebbiolo parcels, as well as an unusual north-facing plot of Riesling and Gewurztraminer immediately adjacent to the hilltop estate.
In the cellar, the white wine, which is a Langhe Bianco known as Coste di Riavolo, sees a 5-day maceration, followed by spontaneous fermentation and 24 to 30 months in a variety of old barrels that range in size from 5hl to 25hl. An additional year in bottle precedes its release into the market. The Valdibà is classified as DOCG Dogliani and vinified completely in steel tank, following a 10-day maceration. It is bottled after roughly 12 months, then spends several more months in bottle before release. The only 100% Nebbiolo cuvee is the Il Provinciale Langhe Nebbiolo, which sees a full 30-day maceration in large wood vat before 2-3 years in large barrel. The wine is sourced in equal parts from a prime parcel in the heart of Serralunga d’Alba and a hillside plot in Dogliani.
Both the San Fereolo and Austri undergo 15-20 day macerations in large wood vats, followed by spontaneous fermentation without temperature control. If a vat approaches higher temperatures (33 degrees), the must is racked into tank to cool it down before being returned to the wood vat. An elevage of 3 years in large barrel precedes 3 to 4 years in bottle prior to release, thus the wines are not released for a full 8 years after harvest.
I'll Drink to That!: Episode 359: Nicoletta Bocca
Italian Wine Geek: Discovering San Fereolo