Neal Rosenthal has worked with the Brovias for decades, since he imported the 1978, one of the great years of the last half century for sure. The farming here by the Brovia sisters Cristina & Elena and Elena's husband, Alex, is natural, using zero chemicals in the vineyard. This approach continues in the cellar where the indigenous-yeast fermentations in old, glass-lined concrete tanks took about a month this vintage. Always a pretty old-fashioned house, Brovia has recommitted to more traditional elevage. In 2008 they reintroduced large Slavonian casks for the first 18 months of aging, followed by another year and a half in French oak (previously, the wood was all French; both are 30hL).But the best part is the family's vineyards. With holdings in Altenasso (Garblèt Sue'), Villero, and Rocche di Castiglione, Brovia underscores Castiglione Falletto's crossroads nature. Standing at the meeting point of Serralunga's Helvetian limestone soils of in the east and the sandier Tortonian ones to the west, CF vineyards vary enormously, and Brovia's bottlings offer a unique annual survey of what's happening in the zone.And, as if that weren't enough, there are the vines in Serralunga at Brea, a cru that was featured in Renato Ratti's famous '70s-era map of Barolo's top sites, but which fell off collectors' radar for many decades. Preeminent cartographer and Barolo expert Alessandro Masnaghetti credits the Brovias with returning Brea to its former high regard.
"The 2015 Barolo Garblèt Sue' is dense and powerful in the glass. A rush of black cherry, plum, lavender, iron and sage literally burst from the glass. Ample, full-bodied and intense, the Garblèt Sue' is another stellar wine in this range. The typically incisive Garblèt Sue' tannins are nearly buried by the sheer richness of the fruit. Today, the Garblèt Sue' is distinguished by its wild, feral profile and huge core of fruit. In this vintage, the Garblèt is the overachiever in the range relative to how it shows in most vintages."
Garblèt Sue, also known as “Altenasso,” is a subsection of the cru of Fiasco in Castiglione Falletto. Soils here are of sand and clay-limestone marl, but they are richer and less well-drained than those higher on the hill in Fiasco proper. Brovia owns 0.7 hectares of western-exposed Nebbiolo here, planted between 1970 and 1979, and situated at 250 meters altitude (their lowest-altitude cru holding). If “Garblèt Sue” typically shows a hair’s breadth less complexity than its two Castiglione Falletto brethren, it compensates with a generous, exuberant personality and a tendency to drink better earlier. If anything, it punches above its weight class in 2015, offering a core of luscious fruit, an alluring wildness reminiscent of a great “Villero” (see below), and beautifully cushioned tannins.