Please note:

We are not taking orders for delivery at present. More Information.

Silvano Bolmida

Our Exhibition Barolo warrant-holder is an irrepressible talker but what he has to say is gripping. The Society's Paul Trelford tries to get a word in edgeways

Silvano Bolmida

‘If I sit down and do nothing,’ says Silvano Bolmida, the man behind The Society's Exhibition Barolo. ‘I produce traditionally, exactly like my father.’

Talking to him at his base in Monforte d’Alba you quickly realise that the option of doing nothing is not one that has ever crossed Silvano’s mind.

He oozes a burning passion for his craft and an infectious energy. My notes from our visit are something of a blur as Silvano raced us round his small somewhat cramped cellars bounding over barrels and tanks offering us various experimental samples. I readily confess that I didn’t follow everything he was doing or sometimes why he was trying to do it, but his passion and enthusiasm swept me right along.

If a part of me had in mind that ‘sustainable viticulture’ was in some way laid-back and non-interventionist in its approach then Silvano quickly disavowed me of this view. He seems to have made it his life’s work to push Mother Nature to the absolute max but, crucially, in a sustainable way: ‘Not like a hippy’.

Who knew, for instance, that something as prosaic as bicarbonate of soda kills mould and for a mere €1 a kilo rather than the few hundred charged for commercial fungicides? Or that essence of seaweed stimulates oidium, non-destructively tricking the vine into defending itself?

As for fixing nitrogen and boosting production there is nowt as keen as mustard, which he plants in his five hectares, along with alfalfa and spent grapes are returned, post vinification, to the vineyard to enrich the bacterial content of the soil. All this is delivered with a unique blend of impatience and burning, but matter-of-fact, passion.

Perhaps his most telling quote among the many I jotted down is that ‘The real cost of organic is what you don’t harvest’. Currently on the lab table are vinegar sprays, but esoteric as that sounds, its magic bullet properties are well documented. Silvano likes to keep abreast of what others are doing, through online forums and to experiment technically and scientifically.

His biggest win is to have been able to cut, through good husbandry, his total sulphur levels to the bone, at around a third of the EU red-wine maximum, and not much more than half of the permitted level for wines labelled as organic.

This may have been facilitated by another of his preoccupations, UV light, which he believes is a much worse enemy than heat and must be carefully managed with green harvesting and often cutting his bunches in half to facilitate quicker ripening without too much skin damage.

The Tasting

Apologies if the notes are rather shorthand in nature but Silvano is a man in a hurry!

Barolo Bussia 2015
Still on its skins. Bussia is a very large vineyard, on sandy soil. No added SO2. Juicy and fragrant. We also tried Barbera from tank. Pretty, intense and perfumed.

Barolo Bussia 2014
From barrique, with no added sulphur either. 75-day maceration (skins go back into vineyard). Beginning to gather momentum.

Barolo Bussia 2013
Still in barrel. 60-day maturation. First vintage with no SO2. Beginning to taste like Barolo.

Barolo Bussia Riserva 2011
Bottled 4th May. Intensely perfumed, rich, meaty nose, mouthfilling stuff. Lovely now.

Barolo Bussia Riserva 2010
Gorgeous aroma. Complete, beautiful wine. Huge finish. Young but approachable.

Barolo Bussia Riserva 2000
More closed, very tannic.

Barbera Concha del Grillo 2014 ex barrel
Glorious bouquet, juicy-fruity 80-day skin maceration. Still knitting on palate but great finish.

Barbera Concha del Grillo 2013 bottled May
Nicely settled, again very juicy but less exuberant and more elegant than 2014. One senses it will always be thus.

DOC Langhe Nebbiolo Frales 2013
Named for Silvano’s children, Francisco and Alessandra, this is a very stylish blend of 60% nebbiolo and 40% barbera, but tastes very much like a baby Barolo. It’s fermented 85% traditionally, 15% by carbonic maceration, through the addition of the unpressed grapes to the vat.

Selecting the lastest Exhibition Barolo

The Society’s Exhibition Barolo 2012
One of Silvano’s 2011 experimental vats had proved to be the perfect inaugural Exhibition and we were hoping for a repeat performance. Three 2012 Riservas were presented from his Bussia vineyards. We bought as much as we could of the second. A gloriously rich and balanced Barolo with the classic nebbiolo bouquet and rounded, smooth tannins. Already lovely, this will last perhaps another decade.

Where to go next?

Barolo Vintages >

Return to Trip Overview >

More from this trip

Trip homepage >

Other recent buyer trips

Burgundy 2016

Burgundy 2016

Assessing Burgundy

Freddy Bulmer joins buyer for Burgundy Toby Morrhall for the last leg of his trip to assess wines from the 2015 vintage. He shares his thoughts on tasting you Burgundy and why it holds more mystery for him than Bordeaux and introduces us to some of the growers he met.

View full trip
Revisiting the Rhône

Rhône 2016

Revisiting the Rhône

Buyer Marcel Williams reminisces about witnessing and helping to bring in the 2016 harvest.

View full trip
Cape Expectations

South Africa 2016: Part 2

The Cape in a new light

A new generation has brought a new energy to the Cape's winelands, making this not just one of the most beautiful regions to visit, but also one of the most exciting.

View full trip
Out of Angers

Loire 2017: Part II

Out of Angers

Buyer Jo Locke MW and News & Content Editor Jo Goodman head out of the trade fair in Angers and into the cellars of some of our key suppliers in the region: Gratien & Meyer in Saumur, the Bougrier family in their brand new winery and the hewn-out tuffeau caves in Vouvray, Chinon and Touraine-Chenonceaux.

View full trip
Browse all >

Members' Comments (0)

There are no comments for this article.

Want more inspiration?

Sign up for a carefully-curated selection of recipes, guides, in-depth expertise and much more.

Our website uses cookies with the aim of providing you with a better service. By using this website you consent to The Wine Society using cookies in accordance with our policy.


4.4. Cookie Policy

By using The Wine Society website, you agree to cookies being used in accordance with the policy outlined below. If you do not agree to this, you must alter your browser settings to turn off cookies or block those types which are unacceptable to you or cease using the website.

The Wine Society uses cookies to enable easy navigation and shopping on the website. We take the privacy of all who use our website very seriously and ensure that our use of cookies complies with current EU legislation. The following guide outlines what cookies are, the types of cookies used on The Society's website and how they work.

You may alter your browser settings to turn off cookies or block those types which are unacceptable to you, but this will cause difficulties when accessing and using some areas of the site. Instructions on how to do this can also be found below.

4.4.1. What are 'Cookies'?

  • Most major websites use cookies.
  • A cookie is a very small data file placed on your hard drive by a web page server. It is essentially your access card, and cannot be executed as code or deliver viruses. It is uniquely yours and can only be read by the server that gave it to you.
  • Cookies cannot be used by themselves to identify you.
  • The purpose of a basic cookie is to tell the server that you returned to that web page or have items in your basket. Without cookies, websites and their servers have no memory. A cookie, like a key, enables swift passage from one place to the next.
  • Without a cookie every time you open a new web page the server where that page is stored will treat you like a completely new visitor.
  • More recently, cookies have also been used to collect information about the user which allows a profile of their preferences and interests to be created so that they can be served with interest-based rather than generic information about available goods and services.

4.4.2. How do Cookies help The Wine Society?

Cookies allow our website to function effectively. Cookies also help us to arrange content to match your preferred interests more quickly. We can learn what information is important to our visitors, and what isn't.

4.4.3. How does The Wine Society use cookies?

The Wine Society does not accept advertising from third parties and therefore, as a rule, does not serve third-party cookies. Exceptions to this include performance/analytical cookies (see below), used anonymously to improve the way our website works, the provision of personalised recommendations, and occasions when we may team up with suppliers to offer special discounts on goods or services.

The Society uses technology to track the patterns of behaviour of visitors to our site.

4.4.4. What type of cookies does The Wine Society use?

We use the following three types of cookies: Strictly Necessary Cookies
These cookies are required for the operation of our website, enabling you to move around the website and use its features, such as accessing secure areas of the website. Without these cookies, services like shopping baskets or e-billing cannot be provided. Under this heading, we currently use the following cookies:

  • Authentication Cookie and Anonymous Cookie
    These cookies remember that you are logged in to your account – without them, the website would repeatedly request your login details with each new page you visit during your time on our website. They are removed once your session has ended.
  • Session Cookie
    These cookies are used to remember who you are as you use our site: without them, the website would be unable to tell the difference between you and another Wine Society member and facilities such as your basket and the checkout process would therefore not be able to function. They too are removed once your session has ended. Functionality & Targeting/Tracking Cookies
These cookies are used to recognise you when you return to our website and to provide enhanced features. This allows us to personalise our content for you. Under this heading, we currently use the following cookies:

  • Unique User Cookie
    This cookie is used to:
    • store your share number in order to identify that you have visited the website before. Without this cookie, we would be unable to tell whether you are a member or not.
    • record your visit to the website, the pages you have visited and the links you have followed. We use this information to make our website, the content displayed on it and direct marketing communications we may send to you or contact you about more relevant to your interests.
    • This cookie expires after 13 months.
  • Peerius Cookies
    These third-party cookies are used to provide you with personalised recommendations based on your purchase and browsing history. They expire within 4 hours of your visit. Performance/analytical cookies
These cookies collect information about how visitors use a website, for instance which pages visitors go to most often, and if they get error messages from web pages. These cookies don't collect information which identifies a visitor. All information these cookies collect is aggregated and therefore anonymous. It is only used to improve how a website works. Under this heading, we currently use the following cookies:

  • Google Analytics Cookies
    These are third-party cookies to enable Google Analytics to monitor website traffic. All information is recorded anonymously. Using Google Analytics allows The Society to better understand how members use our site and monitor website traffic. Authentication Cookie
In order for us to ensure that your data remains secure it is necessary for us to verify that your session is authentic (i.e. it has not been compromised by a malicious user). We do this by storing an otherwise meaningless unique ID in a cookie for the duration of your visit. No personal information can be gained from this cookie.

4.4.5. How do you turn cookies off?

All modern browsers allow you to modify your cookie settings so that all cookies, or those types which are not acceptable to you, are blocked. However, please note that this may affect the successful functioning of the site, particularly if you block all cookies, including essential cookies. For example, In Internet Explorer, go to the Tools Menu, then go to Internet Options, then go to Privacy. Here you can change the rules your browser uses to accept cookies. You can find out more in the public sources mentioned below.

4.4.6. Learn more about cookies

4.4.7. Changes to our cookie policy

Any changes we may make to our cookie policy in the future will be posted on the website and, where appropriate, notified to you by email. Please check back frequently to see any updates and changes to our cookie policy.