Producer Focus: Ascheri
It was on a freezing cold January afternoon in foggy, grey London that we first came across Dottore (Doctor) Matteo Ascheri and his wonderful wines. Our Head Buyer Mark Faber was in London attending the Master of Wine Seminar, and he, as well as our European correspondent Alistair Cooper MW, were attending various trade shows to measure the UK market (and, let's be honest, drink some great wines!).
Dr Ascheri cut an impressive figure at well over 6 foot, a huge barrel chest and a deep basso voice. But it's his wines that were the most attention-grabbing. From his Langhe Nebbiolo (one of the best introductions to the wines of Piedmont to be found in the country in our opinion) all the way up to his single vineyard 'Pisapola' and 'Sorano' Cru wines, the quality simply floored us. We were at a loss as to why these wines had not made it to Australian shores before, but were so happy to be the ones to do so!
In March, we visited the Ascheri winery, located just north of the town of Barolo, Italy. Here, Dr Ascheri is building a 5 Star Hotel and spa to bring more people to the region andto promote 'Oenotourism' (tourism with a focus on wine). It was here that he mentioned his 'other job' as the head of the Consorzio di Barolo e Barbaresco (Consortium of Barolo and Barbaresco) - the governing body of the entire region that makes all the decisions of the area, and is responsible for maintaining the high quality of the wines.
Despite being such an important man, he was incredibly modest about his role as well as his wines - perhaps this was why he has yet to be snapped up by a big importer? Whatever the reason, we are so very proud to offer you the wines of Dottore Matteo Ascheri and his family. This is Barolo with an eye to the future while paying homage to the past.
Ascheri has more of a modern polish than some neighbouring wineries, and this translates directly into wines that are enjoyable in their youth (rare for this region), will cellar for decades AND be enjoyable every day in between!
Not trying to be a baby Barolo - very elegant and pretty floral nose, blue and red fruits - not too much tar or earthy spices. Round, plush and generous on the palate with bright frame of acidity and chalk dust tannins - all of which is high, but the fruit weight lifts to match it. Beautiful black olive tapenade finish. Absolutely delicious. - 94pts, Mark Faber
A blend of 3 vineyards. Cocoa nibs, smoke, black earth, hints of truffle and a bright Campari/blood orange lift through it all. FLavours of complex soy, salt and earthy spices. Searing blade of acidity balances the firm but not chalky or bitter tannins. Amazing levels of complexity and intensity. Balanced despite relative youth- pretty and brooding at the same time. - 95pts, Mark Faber
More intense red colour. Heady ripe red fruits jump from the glass, then anise and earthy herbs, some oak assistance, and a green bean note. Ripe, round and plush, immediately enjoyable with warm 14.5% abv. Cinnamon spices, cedar and woody tannins. Lacks intensity and longevity of 2013, but only just, and this is splitting hairs. Immediately enjoyable. - 96pts, Mark Faber
Very deep, dark and brooding. Sanguine, tarry but with gorgeous concentrated rose petal. Blazing acidity, sinewy tannins, earthy, ferrous finish, everything tuned up but kept finely in balance. What a wine! - 98pts, Mark Faber