Curiosity may have killed the cat but in the case of Silvano Bolmida it has produced a string of world-class wines instead. His Barolo wine is certainly crafted with all the skill of a consummate winemaker but this skill is backed up by an almost forensic attention to detail and a desire to learn empirically from what happens in his vineyards and winery, and he leaves no stone unturned in his quest to understand the processes involved. This perfectionism shows itself when you taste the wines.
He set out on his own by taking on a few hectares from his father and brother-in-law in 1999, though he had learned his trade at the wine school at Alba and at another Barolo winery for ten years prior to that. His first release was in 2003.
He is based in Montforte d’Alba and cultivates his vineyards with environmental concerns very much to the fore, though he seeks no organic certification. His five hectares of Bussia vines are a great passion for him, back-breaking as the slopes are, and he works every inch personally, nurturing, observing and improving everything from the cover crops and canopy management to green harvesting in June and the manual harvesting of the grapes in September and October.
In the cellars he ferments for a long time with skin contact, resulting not in over-extracted tannic wines but in wines of finesse and smooth tannins that support the fruit without dominating, even in youth. A year in small oak barrels is followed by two in 3,000-litre botti before bottling without filtration. 14 months in bottle ensues and the wines are approachable even on release but have the structure to age beautifully. Only 6,000 bottles of the Barolo Bussia are produced from just under 14,000 square metres, a tiny amount that speaks volumes about the low yields and the attendant perfectionism of Silvano Bolmida.