Judging from the appearance of the winery, a post-modern building with something of the appearance of a flying saucer dominating the intersection of roads leading to Monforte, Domenico Clerico should be an arch modernist. Construction was started in 2007 and the wine has been made here since 2011. The building at ground level has a spacious tasting room, and the cellar extends three storeys underground.
One of the Barolo Boys, Domenico had various work experiences, including a period with olive oil, before he decided to join his father, who was a grower selling grapes to the coop. “The first revolution was in the vineyard when he introduced green harvest, while his father was away on holiday, and his father was not so happy when he counted his grapes. The second revolution was introducing new barriques in the cellar. After a few vintages, his father felt the wines were better and handed over the operation,” is how they now tell the story at the winery. As well as inheriting vineyards, Domenico bought some in 1982, 1990, and 1992. In 2006 he rented a vineyard in Serralunga. “If you love Barolo you have to love Serralunga,” says winemaker Oscar Arrivabene.
Today there are ten wines: Dolcetto, Barbera, Langhe Nebbiolo (from a single vineyard), a Nebbiolo-Barbera blend, and six Barolos, which include one blend and five single vineyard wines. The Barolo tout court is a blend, and is aged in a mixture of French barriques and Solvenian botti. It is based on selection. “We taste from barrel. Everything that is ready to drink goes into the blended Barolo. Anything that is too oaky is discarded. The rest go into the single vineyard wines,” says Oscar .
From different parts of Monforte, Ciabot Mentin and Pajana come from Ginestra, Bricotto comes from Bussia, and Percristina comes from Mosconi. Aeroplanservaj comes from the vineyard in Serralunga. The single vineyard wines are aged for 24-30 months in barriques, with around 80% new, except for Percristina which then has an extra 24 months in Slovenian botti. Two Langhe wines, Capsime-e and Arte and effectively declassified from Barolo, although Arte also includes a small proportion of Barbera.
The style here is strong (you would expect no less from Monforte). This is most evident with the Ciabot Mentin, then the Aeroplanservaj—”The Serralunga tannins are special Serralunga gives an impression that the fruit is rounder, but it isn’t—it’s just that the tannins are different.” There’s a definite masculine impression reflecting the area. The wines are a very fine example of a modernist who has stayed true to modernism.