‘Trust me I am a wine merchant’. You don’t hear it very often, and you probably wouldn’t believe it if you did. However, there was once a time when all merchants had to know their wines – there wasn’t a raft of critics’ scores to fall back on to make your life easy, deferring the endorsement to someone else. You were asked for your opinion, and you needed to have an opinion preferably from first-hand experience, or at least prior experience of the same wine in different years. The sharing of wine knowledge was a key facet of traditional merchants, many of whom provided ideal training grounds for those who wanted to learn. That’s how it was for me, and I want Atlas to work in exactly the same way as that traditional model – tasting, sharing, understanding and having an opinion are central to what we do. Of course, we use critics’ scores in our offers, but they are supplementary. We taste widely and we aren’t afraid to venture a different opinion based on our own experience.
So, what has this all to do with this offer? I introduced our clients to a new estate in Barolo last year, namely the wines of Agostino Bosco. Andrea Bosco’s estate isn’t well-known, but I was really impressed by the 2018s that we offered towards the end of last year, as, to my mind, they captured the best the vintage had to offer. When I visited Andrea’s family estate in the hilltop village of La Morra, my view of his wines was elevated still further when we tasted 2018, 2019s, 2020s and 2021s. I was really taken with the purity of his wines – the fruit showed admirable precision and the winemaking a deft touch. To me, this was clearly a winemaker whose style was settled, who knew what he was setting out to do – the vineyards were beautifully and faithfully expressed across the four vintages.
Andrea owns a small estate with six hectares of vines, four and a half in the commune of La Morra and one and a half in Verduno. Among his holdings are two impressive parcels within Cru vineyards, namely La Serra in La Morra and Neirane in Verduno. He has augmented his estate with acquisitions in La Morra, which he blends to make a hugely impressive cuvée, his Barolo, Commune di La Morra. As I wrote last year, ‘for Andrea’s wines, I can’t bombard you with endorsements, scores and tasting notes from the wine world glitterati, but you can have my opinion and my notes from four weeks ago. Having spent several fascinating hours in his cellar, tasting every Barolo he made in 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021, I have absolutely no qualms in saying that Andrea deserves far greater recognition – across all these vintages his wines impressed me greatly, to the extent that I would count this as one of the most memorable tastings I have had in Barolo, encompassing, as it did, wine from barrel and bottle. And, if you consider that we visited 20 estates across Barolo and Barbaresco in a full week of tasting, I was not short of references to benchmark the quality of Andrea’s wines.’ I completely stand by those comments…this is an exciting estate and the 2019s are especially impressive.
Andrea’s wines are not tasted widely. Below I include my notes, and then, an alternative view from Antonio Galloni at vinous.com I find it odd that his notes and scores for the Bosco 2019s are, in most cases, behind those he issued for the 2018s. He scored Neirane 93 points in 2018, 91 in 2019, when I am clear on 2019 being a superior wine, as much as I like the 2018. I have no idea if he caught the wines on a difficult day, but my impression of them is very different. I have shown you both views below and you can make up your own mind!
I should add that the winemaking style is reassuringly traditional, with ageing taking place in large Slavonian oak botti for 24-26 months.
I recommend Andrea’s wines to those looking for classically produced Barolo with the emphasis on freshness and refinement. And in today’s market, where certain Barolo release prices are starting to step up in the face of increased demand, they remain outstanding value for money.
Please let us know of your interest.
All the best,