Le Piane 2011 Boca
Le Piane's 2011 Boca is simply dazzling. Rich, translucent and remarkably vivid, the 2011 encapsulates all the reasons the wines from Alto Piemonte are so compelling. Sweet red cherry, rose petal, chalk, blood orange and mint are front and center, but it is the wine's superb textural polish that elevates it among some pretty lofty company among the great wines of Italy. The flavors are bold and pungent, but there is also striking depth to the fruit that ensures the savory notes aren't overpowering. This is simply a magical bottle. That's all there is to it.
Le Piane’s Boca usually consists of about 85% Nebbiolo with 15% Vespolina. Vespolina produces low yields, but gives the wine a distinct aromatic signature with bright notes of spice and dried rose hip. It also adds textural volume to the wines. The Nebbiolo grape, on the other hand, is responsible for the wine’s razor-sharp focus, energy and structure.
At the top of their game, these wines compete with Barolo and Barbaresco in terms of elegance, territorial typicity and longevity. These are some of Piedmont’s most expressive, soulful wines.
The Boca appellation in the province of Novara makes wines that are 70% to 90% Nebbiolo, also known as Spanna in this part of Piedmont. Two other indigenous grapes, Vespolina and Uva Rara, can represent up to 30% of a Boca blend. The wines see 34 months of aging, 18 of which must be in oak. A Boca Riserva must age for 46 months (with 24 months in oak).
One producer looms largest and is almost exclusively responsible for the under-the-radar cult following Boca enjoys today. That producer is Le Piane, run by a Swiss-born vintner named Christoph Künzli. The estate was founded by Antonio Cerri, an old-school artisan who created the blueprint for these exciting and eccentric wines, thanks to his sheer passion and determination.
The magic of Le Piane is that the singular vision of one vintner happened to perfectly align with the vintner who would follow. Both men, Antonio Cerri and Christoph Künzli, operate on a seamless continuum of style, approach and execution. To understand Boca, you must start with Le Piane.
Christoph Künzli and his enologist friend Alexander Trolf acquired Le Piane from the 80-year-old Cerri in 1998. The Piedmont-born Chianti Classico winemaker Paolo De Marchi of Isole e Olena introduced his friend Christoph Künzli to the Boca appellation and to Le Piane. That friendship inspired Christoph Künzli to pursue and safeguard the Boca wine identity.