Le Piane: Rediscovering a Piedmont Gem
©Le Piane

Le Piane: Rediscovering a Piedmont Gem

Le Piane house

Barolo, Barbaresco, when discussing Nebbiolo from Piedmont most people immediately think of these two celebrated regions. But in the years leading up to the end of the 19th century, Boca was equally as celebrated. Located in the Eastern most hills of Piedmont, Boca also lays claim to the vineyards with the highest elevation. But with the passage of time, the affects of two World Wars and economic hard times Boca was slowly forgotten. Now thanks to Christoph Künzli’s Le Piane, the region is experiencing resurgence.

When Christoph Künzli first visited the Boca region in the 1980’s fewer than 10 hectares (25 acres) of vineyards remained; some of which were held by celebrated winemaker Antonio Cerri. Cerri was at first reluctant to sell his holdings to Künzli, but given age and poor health he was eventually persuaded to sell on the condition that the regional traditions be maintained.

Le Piane Cellar

©Le Piane Cellar

Künzli, who makes wine “with his mouth,” eagerly agreed. Working with oenologist Alexander Tolf and a group of investors, Christoph slowly acquired additional parcels, a process complicated by small plot size and complicated inheritance laws. Through a series of over 90 transactions, the estate was slowly built to its current size of 6.5 hectares (16 acres), of which 2 (5 acres) are comprised of old vines.

Seeking to not only maintain the traditions but to produce the best possible tasting wine, Christoph learned the winemaking process through experience. These celebrated wines are of strong character with an elegant perfume and snappy acid structure. With the focus on acid rather than tannins, the wines are drinkable early but will age gracefully.

The Wines of Le Piane

  • Maggiorina 2012
  • Boca 2005
  • Boca 2007
  • Boca 2008
  • Campo delle Piane 1984
Le Piane Maggiorina 2012A field blend of Nebbiolo, Croatina and 10 other local varietals, including a few white grapes, this wine is characteristically mineral and spicy. Aged for one year in stainless steel the wine is crisp and clean. Very food friendly with strong notes of red-fruit, it is approachable and easy to drink.

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Le Piane Boca 2005 A blend of Nebbiolo and Vespolina, this wine is full and expressive with forest berries and pomegranate notes. Hints of tobacco and licorice add notes of spice for balance and depth. Full of power and silky elegance the innate complexity teases the senses.

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Le Piane Boca 200793 Points, The Wine Advocate. Dazzling flavor bursts onto the palate with notes of cherry, rose petals, mint and mountain herbs. Full in body, without being too weighty, the wine is smooth, round and effortlessly elegant.

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Le Piane Boca 200896 Points, The Wine Advocate. Classic in style, this Nebbiolo dominated blend delivers black cherries, grilled herbs, menthol, spice and licorice.  Vibrant and beautiful it is balanced between focus and power. Easy to drink now it will age effortlessly and with great grace.

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Le Piane 2009Along with the purchase of Antonio Cerri’s small vineyard in the hills above Boca came his cellars and their contents. From the casks quietly resting in his cellars the Campo delle Piane wines were born. These are among the last remaining bottles of wines produced by Antonio Cerri. The wines spent years aging in casks before being bottled by Christoph in two waves in the middle-1990s, and they unquestionably demonstrate the capacity of Boca wines to age. These are truly special bottles that offer a glimpse into a past that very nearly disappeared as well as an insight into what the future might hold for the wines of the reborn Le Piane estate.

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