Comparison Tasting: Vallana Campi Raudii 1955 and 2014

Synopsis, Our Opinion: Two wines we recommend without reservation and would buy again in a heart beat.

Producer/Winery: Antonio Vallana; Maggora, Italy.

Grape Variety: Nebbiolo.

Geographic Appellation,, Region, Country: Piedmont, Italy.

Vintage: 1955 and 2014.

Price: $159.95 (1955); $14.40 (2014 with a 10% mixed case discount)

Purchased From: The Woodland Hills Wine Company; Woodland Hills, California and The Caviste Wine Shop; Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

Paired With: Venison and pork meatloaf with Madeira sauce, hasselback potatoes and beets from the garden.


    Preface: We had current vintages of Vallana Campi Raudii several times in the past (see: Vallana Campi Raudii 2012, Vallana Spanna 2012 and Vallana Gattinara 2006.) and when we found the same wine with the same label from a 1955 vintage we simply couldn’t resist buying a bottle and doing a comparison tasting. Nebbiolo keeps well and the bottle appeared to be at its normal full level so we took a chance and bought it. Below is what we discovered when we tasted it side-by-side with the 2014 vintage of the same wine. It was a real treat and there is nothing like “OLD” Nebbiolo.

    Both bottles were opened one hour before drinking, tasted and we made the decision not to decant them.

    2014 vintage: Clear, dark garnet color with a lighter color rim. Quite strong cherry dominated aroma intermixed with damp earth and sweet tobacco. Dry, rustic and robust mouth feel, light to medium body and a 150-grit texture. Strong earthy fruity flavors of cherry, cranberry and raspberry. Plenty of bright acidity, strong yet integrated firm tannins and a long mouth filling bitter and spicy fruit finish. This was a WOW Nebbiolo that really delivered the bold, tannic and acidic qualities in spades and at a bargain price. Side-by-side with the 1955 is was light, rowdy and unpretentious.

    1955 vintage: Clear, light garnet color that had a very noticeable brown tint and a lighter brownish rim. Strong leather aromas mixed with cherry, cinnamon, floral and the odor of fresh from the kiln clay pots we used in the nursery for grafting Japanese maples. Soft, almost silky and rich mouthfeel, medium to full body and a 200-grit texture. Strong complex flavors of cherry, anise, cranberry and ripe figs. Bright acidity, but MUCH less than we expected, fine grained tannins and a FANTASTIC plush finish that was filled with dark fruit, raisins, candied nuts & plums, figs and a touch of tar. It was laden with sediment on the last pour. Side-by-side with the 2014 it was rich, complex, elegant and memorable. And maybe most interesting, we rated both as four thumbs up…the 1955 was that much better!!!

    Just a small side note: Aside from tasting it’s interesting to see how the identical wine was packaged 59 years earlier. Both were in brown bottles, but the 1955 bottle had a flat bottom. In addition the 1955 came with two raffia tied tags (in the shape of a grape leaf) on the neck of the bottle. One had the Vallana winery telephone number and address while the other had the bottle number (10028).

Marina, Francis (a trained enologist with a Ph.D viticulture), and Miriam, the fifth generation who currently run the Vallana estate
Comments: Learn more about the Vallana and their wines.

See also: our reviews of other Vallana wines.

Alcohol Content: Both 13%

Closure: Foil covered 45mm Natural cork (1955); Aluminium covered 45mm Reconstructed cork (2014).

UPC Code: Not available.

Imported by: The Rare Wine Company; Vineburg, California (1955) and Piedmont Wine Imports; Durham, North Carolina (2014)