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Boca, “Plinius I”

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Boca, “Plinius I”

Plinius was born of an accidental circumstance: a batch of Nebbiolo for Boca had been fermented in an open steel tank. But it was an insulated tank: after 4-5 days of fermentation, the temperatures were sky-high and continued to rise, the musts had gone crazy and reached 38 degrees. In all the oenology manuals, they say that above 35 degrees fermentation stops. And indeed, having reached the peak of 38 degrees, it stopped, with still 12 grams of residual sugar per litre. On the thirtieth day, Christoph racked and put the wine in a warm place (another move forbidden by the manuals, because at such times there is a risk of acetic development). From October 2007 to the following January, the wine rested at a constant 20 degrees Celsius, until in January the Babo degrees had dropped to zero, so that all the sugars were slowly consumed: on tasting, Künzli says, it looked like an oxidised Montepulciano, with hints of cooked plums… But never give up, because from then on, on tasting, the wine slowly improved, and the notes of cooked plums disappeared. Until, in the third year, it was decided to extend the stay in wood. In the fourth year, the wine was still ‘moving’ in the barrel, causing a few rare bubbles to rise from the filler. One more year in wood, to arrive at five. Mellowed by a vespolina blend (it is therefore a Boca to all intents and purposes), and a long soak in the bottle, here is this marvel. Künzli sums up the Plinius story in three words: respect, project, expectation.

Appellation: Boca DOC

Type: Red Wine

Blend: 85% Nebbiolo, 15% Vespolina

Wine Details:

Tasting Notes:
Color: Intense ruby-red with a red-orange rim.
Bouquet: Airy, light on the nose, sea-mist minerality, the well-matured wild berries of the normale Boca but a touch less leather and a bit more finesse. It has the citrus note (at time grapefruit, then bergamot, then blood orange), and a layer of bitter herbs and Mediterranean scrub. Finally, somewhere in the back there is a mentholated breeze reminiscent of mint.
Taste: Flavors are reminiscent of well-matured wild berries, tobacco and leather with hints of balsamic and nuanced citrus note. Power and silky elegance develop in the mouth which plays with a slightly noble-bitter finish. The complexity of taste allows one to discover new facets over and over again.
Alcohol: 14.0%.
Serving Suggestion: Serve at a 16-17°C (61-63°F) in a tall, fairly wide goblet.
Pairing: Red and white meats, especially roasted pork, game birds, rabbit, stuffed pasta in brown or butter sauces, mushroom and truffle dishes, medium-aged dry cheeses.

Vinyard Notes:
Production Area: The Boca wine region in Novara situated between Valle Sesia and the lake of Orta in the Lower Alps.
Vineyards: From two vineyards, Traversagna – 40-year-old vines at 400-450 meters (1,300 to 1,475 feet) a.s.l. Le Piane (the old vineyard of Antonio Cerri) – over 60-years-old Guyot-trained vines at 420-500 meters (1,375 – 1,700 feet) a.s.l.
Soil: Mineral gravel, porphyry soil – highly acidic

Winemaking Notes:
Harvest: Middle of October.
Vinification: Maceration on the skins for 30 days both in open wooden vats and in stainless with punching down 3 times per day. No yeasts added.
Fermentation: High temperature
Aging: 60-months in big 2000 liter barrels; then 24 months in the bottles in the winery. Not filtered or refined.