Luigi Baudana, Barolo, 2012, Italy
Luigi Baudana is one of the smallest active wineries in Serralunga d’Alba and the entire Barolo region. With only 2,6 hectares (6.4 acres) farmed in some of the prime crus of the village, this can rightly be considered a true garagiste producer. For over 30 years, Luigi and his wife Fiorina carried on the family’s heritage in Serralunga d’Alba. They cared for their vineyards with the same tenderness of their own love.
The Baudanas and the Vairas (of G.D. Vajra fame) met in 2008, at a time Luigi and Fiorina were considering retirement. It was a very secretive first meeting across the Tanaro river on a silent Monday night. Many more discrete encounters followed throughout the summer while walking vineyards and barrel-tasting together. The sympathy and human bond that was established over those many hours led the Vaira family to suggest they could become the ‘guardians’ of Luigi and Fiorina’s history rather than just taking over their land.
This is why the old cellar is still operating today, to vinify and age the Baudana Barolos. The Baudana name lives on through each bottle. As of the 2009 vintage, the Vaira family has been at the helm of Baudana’s mere 4.1 hectares—2.6 of which are Barolo, 1.5. Through impeccable farming keen interpretation of vintage, and a gentle, slow, traditional approach in the tiny cellar (open-top fermentations, long cappello sommerso macerations), the Vairas are able to highlight the nuances of the Baudana and Cerretta crus, which despite being adjacent to one another, can offer fascinating differences in the glass.