The estate of Virna, owned for over a century by the Borgogno family, is situated in Barolo at the center of the Langhe. Virna today extends over 12 hectares of some of the most important crus in Barolo: Cannubi Boschis, Preda, Sarmassa, I Merli, San Giovanni, and Costa delle Rose. Virna Borgogno, having a rich family history with wine, and some of the finest vineyards in Barolo, began bottling under her own name decades ago. Her winery sits at the foot of the Cannubi Boschis hill, which marks the dividing line between two different types of soil. The Tortonian soil to the north and west (La Morra) is generally more compact marl mixed with sand, producing elegant, softer wines that are more approachable in their youth. The Helvetian soils, with loose, less fertile sandstone and limestone rich marl, are to the south and east (Serraglunga). Cannubi means “union” in dialect, and refers to the meeting of these two distinctive soil types. From her own vineyards on Cannubi Boschis and others around Barolo, Virna creates magnificent wines, primarily from the Nebbiolo grape. Her Barolos are long lived, structured wines that should be appreciated throughout their long lives. Virna herself is the very epitome of the Italian winemaker; her wines are all about the land, the history, and the traditions of her ancestors. She is the first woman in Italy to have received her degree in Winemaking Technique (Enologica Tecnica) from the University of Turin.
Virna's estate is located on Via Alba, just off the main road to Barolo, and very near the town of Castiglione Falletto. Her new winery sits just off the road and in front of her neighbor's winery. Her neighbor happens to be Luciano Sandrone, and they share the hill of Cannubi Boschis, along with experience and friendship. This very special land is, as mentioned, the union of two very different types of soil. The hill itself having been formed from the forces of these two distinctive plate colliding together, the result is a balanced soil perfect go creating long lived and beautiful Barolo. Virna also creates another single vineyard wine, from the increasingly famous Cru of Sarmassa. Her blended Barolo comes from vineyards across the region: Cannubi Boschis, Preda, Sarmassa, I Merli, San Giovanni, and Costa delle Rose. All of these vineyards possess unique characteristics that, when blended, create one of our favorite Barolos, surprisingly approachable in its youth, gaining complexity as it ages.
In the Cantina...
Virna combines tradition with feminine sensibility, education, and "know how" from growing up in a wine making family. Together with her sister, Ivana, the Borgogno women manage a meticulous cellar, fully renovated in 2001, combining tradition with clean, modern wine making practices. Virna uses both traditional Botti Grandi of Slovenian oak, as well as French oak barrique and tonneaux. Her Barolo is 100% traditional, with balance and beauty coming from the vineyards. Cannubi Boschis is 100% French oak, with a mix of neutral and new oak, and both 300 and 500 liter barrels. Sarmassa is aged in both Botti Grandi and French oak barrels.
To Virna, who has deep respect for tradition, innovation is worth exploring, and her ageing regiment is different for each wine, reflecting the very best expression of the land and the hand of the wine maker.