Reporting from a tasting arranged by a friend who frequently visits Piedmont. Normally he visits producers on the Langhe side of the river, but he has also followed Valfaccenda for some time, so he decided to have a tasting around this producer. With the help of a few friends, we pooled together a nice bunch of Roero wines, both white and red.
What surprised me here was how ripe and sunny the 2016 vintage seemed to be in Roero. In Langhe (at least in Barolo and Barbaresco) the wines might’ve been a bit on the ripe side, but still definitely brisk, structured and classically styled in character. Definitely not as solar as those from the hot 2015 or 2017 vintages. However, as we had multiple 2016 Roeros here, it seems that at least in those parts the wines were definitely not as classically styled as in Langhe. These wines were quite rich and sweetly-fruited, some even pruney in character - something I didn’t really expect!
Anyways, for those who don’t know Valfaccenda; it’s a small winery founded in 2010, operated by Luca Faccenda and Carolina Roggero. Loca works as the viticulturalist and Carolina as the winemaker. The name comes from the Valfaccenda valley in Roero, where the winery is located in. They operate on a minimum interventionist philosophy, but partly because they are so small - they own and rent a total of 3,5 hectares (9 acres) of vineyards that are farmed organically. The wines are fermented spontaneously, the reds see long maceration times and whites age for a long time over the lees, the wines are pressed in a traditional basket press, no new oak is used and the wines are bottled unfined, unfiltered and with a tiny bit of SO2.
2019 Proprietà Sperino Piemonte Rosa del Rosa - Italy, Piedmont, Piemonte DOC (11.6.2022)
A blend of Nebbiolo (90%) and Vespolina (10%) sourced from 45-90 yo vineyards in Lessona and Bramaterra, harvested in late September. Macerated with the skins for 8 hours, then aged for 5 months on the fine lees. Bottled in early March 2020. 13% alcohol, 5 g/l residual sugar, 6 g/l acidity and pH 3,31. Tasted blind.
Pale onion-skin color. Quite restrained and slightly waxy nose with somewhat closed aromas of nectarine, some appley notes and a little bit of almond paste. The wine is juicy, balanced and somewhat round on the palate with a medium body and somewhat off-dry feel. There are dry-ish flavors of strawberries, some mealy yellow apple, a little bit of waxy richness, light cantaloupe notes and a hint of sweet almonds paste. High acidity and the tiniest tannic grip giving the mouthfeel some extra firmness. The medium-long finish is juicy, soft and very gently grippy with slightly off-dry flavors of peach, some ripe red apple, a little bit of almond, light cantaloupe notes and a hint of wild strawberry.
A nice, juicy and easy little rosé. I was surprised by the sweetness of the taste; other people thought the rosé was just lovely, but to me, it seemed surprisingly sweet, almost off-dry - slightly distracting from the pleasure. Later on it turned out to be that the wine wasn't really off-dry, but at 5 g/l of residual sugar it wasn't bone-dry either. Fortunately the wine is high in acidity, so even though the sugar shows a tiny bit, the wine isn't lacking in freshness or balance. It is maybe a bit simple and lacking in intensity, but otherwise a nice little drop. Perhaps a bit pricey for the quality at 16€, though.
2019 Valfaccenda Roero Arneis - Italy, Piedmont, Alba, Roero (11.6.2022)
A blend of organically farmed Arneis grapes sourced from the younger vines in two vineyards in Roero. The harvest is conducted in three tries, each about a week apart: the first, early harvest collects about 20% of the fruit from the richest soils, producing the biggest grapes - these grapes are used for acidity and minerality; the second harvest collects about 50% of the fruit - these grapes are used for fruit and body; the third, late harvest collects about 30% of the fruit from the poorest soils, producing the smallest grapes with thick skins - these grapes are used for depth, complexity and texture. The first two harvests are destemmed and vinified in stainless steel tanks where they are fermented spontaneously with a pied de cuve. The third harvest is destemmed, crushed and vinified in old oak vats, where the wine is fermented spontaneously on the grape skins. After about 10-15 days of maceration the wine is pressed off the skins, from where the wine continues to ferment to complete dryness, followed by spontaneous MLF. All the lots age on the fine lees until the spring. In April 2020 the lots are blended together and the wine is racked periodically off the lees in order to let it clarify naturally. Bottled unfined and unfiltered in summer 2020. 13% alcohol, 4,8 g/l acidity.
Youthful, luminous yellow-green color. The nose feels a bit restrained but also a bit toasty and slightly reductive with distinctive aromas of gunpowder smoke, some fresh apple, a little bit of herby greenness, light nutty notes of slivered almonds, a hint of sappy white fruit, a touch of brioche and a curious whiff of smoke-cured ham. The wine is ripe, somewhat concentrated and a bit round on the palate with a medium-to-moderately full body and quite intense flavors of fresh yellow fruits, some nutty notes of slivered almonds, a little bit of ripe white peach, light sweeter notes of juicy greengages and nectarines, a perhaps autolytic hint of brioche or toast and a sappy touch of herbal spice. The medium-to-moderately high acidity lends sense of balance to the wine, but the structure remains a bit soft. The finish is ripe, rich and juicy with a long, complex aftertaste of sweet nectarines and ripe greengages, some nutty notes of slivered almonds, a little bit of herby spices, light toasty nuances of oven-fresh pastries and a mineral hint of salinity.
A nice, textural and somewhat concentrated Arneis with quite a bit of depth, character and gras. The acidity feels a tad low for my preference here, as I prefer the zippier style of Arneis, but then again, Arneis isn't a variety particularly high in acidity and making an Arneis that is high in acidity yet doesn't feel unripe is always a demanding task - I appreciate how the Valfaccenda couple attempt to tackle this problem by the use of several tries. Perhaps this vintage could've benefited from a larger proportion of early-harvested grapes? All in all, this is a lovely and quite distinctive Arneis from the richer end of the spectrum. Solid value at 19€, but probably not worth the 32,90€ at which it retails around here.
2019 Valfaccenda Vindabagna - Italy, Piedmont, Vino da Tavola (11.6.2022)
This is the entry-level Vino da Tavola of Valfaccenda. A col fonco wine made from the fruit sourced from the youngest Arneis vines of Valfaccenda. About 10% of whole Arneis bunches are added to fermenting direct-press must for carbonic maceration, and after approximately two weeks - before the fermentation has run fully dry - the bunches are pressed so that all the remaining sugar in them will get fermented. Bottled unfined and unfiltered into 1-liter bottles. 12,5% alcohol.
Moderately cloudy yet somewhat translucent peachy-yellow color. Funky, sweet and quite quirky nose with aromas of grapefruit soda, some leesy notes of yeast, a little bit of tangerine marmalade, light candied notes of gummi bears, a hint of apple jam, a touch of leathery funk and a whiff of papaya. The wine feels dry, simple and subtly fizzy on the palate with a light body and linear yet slightly funky flavors of mushy peaches, some grapefruit soda, light leesy notes of years, a little bit of candied primary fruit, a hint of waxy funk and a touch of apple jam. Good, high acidity. The finish is dry, linear and juicy with a rather short aftertaste of white peach and fresh, crunchy apple, some sweeter notes of apple jam, light leesy notes of yeast, a little bit of salty minerality and a hint of exotic fruit cocktail.
A fun, simple and slightly funky col fondo white that doesn't try to take itself serious - quite evident already in the large 1-liter bottle - and drinks really well. Doesn't offer much in the way of interest, this is more like a simple sipper that goes with equally simple fare or drinks mighty well on its own on a hot summer's day - perhaps with an ice cube or two. It's a wine that isn't aiming to get any high points and it's perfectly all right.
2018 Valfaccenda Roero Loreto Riserva - Italy, Piedmont, Alba, Roero (11.6.2022)
Organically farmed Arneis grapes sourced from the oldest vines in Madonna di Loreto vineyard in Roero. The fruit is destemmed and vinified in stainless steel tanks where they are fermented spontaneously with a pied de cuve, after which the wine is moved to old oak vats, where the wine is aged on the fine lees. 13% alcohol.
Youthful and almost colorless, pale whitish-green color. Ripe, juicy and slightly funky nose with aromas of bretty leather, some apple sauce, a little bit of banana, light volatile notes of nail polish, a hint of fresh pineapple and a touch of honeydew melon. The wine feels ripe, concentrated and quite substantial on the palate with a full body and rather dry flavors of ripe red apple, some lifted notes of nail polish, a little bit of phenolic spice and wild waxy character, light bretty nuances of leather, juicy hints of white peach and greengage and a touch of stony minerality. The mouthfeel is a bit viscous and there might be a tiniest hint of residual sugar giving the wine some sense of richness and fruity sweetness. The moderately high acidity keeps the wine somewhat in balance, but a big wine like this could use a bit more. The finish is rich, juicy and somewhat round with a slightly sweet-toned aftertaste of white peach and greengage, some bretty notes of leather and phenolic spice, a little bit of ripe banana, light volatile nuances of nail polish and a crunchy hint of fresh pineapple.
A very big, substantial and impressive Roero Arneis that is packing tons of fruit and flavor, but ultimately comes across as a bit heavy and clumsy, thanks to its rather concentrated overall character and relatively modest acidity. Furthermore, the slightest hint of sweetness also takes a small toll on the freshness here. While the wine doesn't feel excessively ripe (and the alcohol is nicely in check), the wine is still a bit too much of everything for my taste - I prefer Arneis whites with more freshness and precision. This is more like a wannabe-Viognier made from Arneis grapes. I hope the wines from cooler vintages would show more sense of freshness and zip.
2014 Valfaccenda Arzigh - Italy, Piedmont, Vino da Tavola (11.6.2022)
"Arzigh" means "risk" in Piedmontese. 100% Arneis from the ripest grapes sourced from vineyards planted in the 1950's. The wine is vinified in whole bunches, fermented spontaneously and macerated with the skins for 7-10 days in stainless steel tanks, and aged for two years in old tonneaux. Bottled unfiltered. 14% alcohol.
Pale-to-medium deep iced tea color. Sweet, juicy and slightly waxy nose with slightly restrained aromas of dark oolong tea, some peachy tones, a little bit of leathery funk, light resinous phenolic notes and a hint of woody old oak spice. The wine is clean, firm and lively on the palate with a medium-to-moderately full body and dry, complex flavors of honeycomb, some fresh nectarine and tangerine tones, a little bit of dark oolong tea, light leathery tones, a hint of waxy funk and a touch of savory oak spice. The overall feel is enjoyably structured, thanks to the high acidity and well-behaved tannins that feel quite mellow at first, but slowly grow in intensity. The finish is juicy, textural and moderately grippy with savory flavors of resinous phenolic character, some wild waxy notes, a little bit of fresh nectarine, light leathery nuances, a hint of black tea and a sweeter touch of tangerine.
A wonderfully harmonious, nuanced and rather serious orange wine with great sense of structure and lovely depth of flavor. I had understood 2014 was a rather miserable vintage in Piedmont (apart from Barbaresco), but this wine turned out to be wonderfully fresh, bold and not lacking one bit in structure, freshness or intensity. On the contrary, tasted among more recent Valfaccenda wines (from hotter vintages), this wine was remarkably fresh and poised in comparison, not suffering one bit from the softness and heaviness some more recent vintages have shown. All in all, a terrific wine that is drinking really well right now, but will most likely continue to evolve and improve for years more. Recommended!
2017 Valfaccenda Lila' Bianch - Italy, Piedmont, Vino da Tavola (11.6.2022)
100% organically farmed Arneis fermented with the skins. 14,5% alcohol.
Clear, pale amber color. Rich, sweet and quite expressive nose with somewhat sauvage aromas of caramel, some bretty notes of leather, a little bit of oolong tea, light lifted nuances of nail polish, sweet hints of honey and acacia honey and a touch of sweet oak spice. The wine is ripe, broad and slightly sweet-toned on the palate with a full body and rich, somewhat wild flavors of caramel oak, some lifted notes of nail polish, light bruised apple tones, a little bit of savory spice and resinous phenolic character, a hint of honeyed sweetness and a touch of almost Bourbon-like oak spice. The soft medium acidity doesn't lend much sense of structure or freshness to the wine, but at least the medium tannins bring some firmness to the mouthfeel. The finish is long, juicy and gently grippy with bold, slightly sweetish flavors of Bourbon-like caramel oak, some bruised apple tones, a little bit of honeyed sweetness, light crunchy notes of fresh nectarines, a resinous hint of phenolic spice and a volatile touch of nail polish.
A rich, bold and quite round orange wine that had a surprisingly noticeable streak of caramel oak - an element that has been completely absent in all other Valfaccends Arneis wines I've tasted. Unlike the wonderfully savory, bright and serious Arzigh 2014 I tasted alongside, this 2017 was quite clumsy, soft and sweet-toned in comparison, coming across as perhaps more impactful in overall character, but lacking all the sense of freshness, structure and harmony that made me think 2014 Arzigh was so wonderful. I don't know what Valfaccenda has done with the oak here, but I thought it really didn't go that well together with the overall fruit profile. Maybe some additional aging will help? Nevertheless, this seemed a bit too ripe and heavy for my preference. Interesting, but not a winner, unfortunately.
2019 Valfaccenda Vindabeive - Italy, Piedmont, Vino da Tavola (11.6.2022)
This is the entry-level Vino da Tavola Nebbiolo of Valfaccenda. A semi-carbonic wine made from the fruit sourced from the youngest Nebbiolo vines of Valfaccenda. About 50% of whole Nebbiolo bunches are fermenting by carbonic maceration, the remaining portion crushed. After approximately five days the wine is pressed of the skins and left to ferment to full dryness in stainless steel tanks. Aged on the lees for a few months. Bottled unfined and unfiltered into 1-liter bottles. 12,5% alcohol.
Pale, translucent cherry-red color. Youthful and fruity but also surprisingly fresh and fruity nose of wild strawberries, some cherry tones, a little bit of redcurrant and a hint of rose hips. The wine is ripe yet dry and crunchy on the palate with a medium body and a tiniest hint of CO2 fizz. There are bright flavors of wild strawberries, some juicy redcurrants, a little bit of fresh white peach, light candied primary notes of raspberry marmalades and a hint of earthy spice. The overall feel is quite soft and very open-knit with its medium acidity and mellow, sparse tannins. The medium-long finish is juicy, linear and very gently grippy with a quite simple aftertaste of ripe wild strawberries, some cherries, a little bit of brambly raspberry and a primary hint of red-fruited marmalade candies.
A simple, soft and pleasant vino rosso. A very unpretentious effort and completely unapologetic at that. This is not a wine made to get high scores, this is a simple contadino wine made to be drunk cool or chilled in larger amounts - hence the 1-liter bottle - with very simple fare or just on its own. A drinking wine, not a geeky wine.
2017 Matteo Correggia Barbera d'Alba Superiore Marun - Italy, Piedmont, Alba, Barbera d'Alba Superiore (11.6.2022)
A single-vineyard Barbera from the lieu-dit Marun. Fermented and macerated with the skins for 8-10 days in stainless steel. Aged for at least 4 months in 3000-liter oak botti and partly used barriques. Total production 17,000 bottles. 15% alcohol.
Dark, youthful and fully opaque inky blackish-red color. Somewhat restrained and quite dark-toned nose with brooding aromas of blueberries and sweet black cherries, some savory wood spice, a little bit of toasty mocha oak, light boozy nuances of alcohol and a sunny hint of boysenberry jam. The wine is ripe, round and somewhat sweet-toned on the palate with dark-toned flavors of juicy black cherries, some solar notes of wizened dark plums, a little bit of toasty mocha oak, light raisiny nuances, a lifted sweet hint of VA and a touch of blueberry jam. The high alcohol lends quite a bit of warmth to the palate. The wine would be quite heavy and ponderous if it weren't for the rather high acidity and surprisingly grippy (for a Barbera) medium-plus tannins that lend some nice sense of firmness and structure to the wine. The finish is juicy, sweetly-fruited and rather hot with some tannic grip and long, rich flavors of sweet dark plums and soft black cherries, some raisiny tones, a little bit of volatile balsamic lift, light boysenberry jam tones and a hint of blueberry juice,
Although this was a firm and quite seriously structured effort for a Barbera, the overall feel was still way too heavy and sunny for my taste - while somewhat balanced, the excessively high alcohol dominated quite a bit and the wine was lacking freshness, which I consider a vital aspect of a good Barbera. This is a burly and quite clumsy wine that unfortunately bears the signs of the hot and dry 2017 vintage, making it feel as if the wine was made with baked fruit, thanks to its at times almost raisiny and pruney flavors and slightly boozy alcohol. I want my Barbera to be a fresh, vibrant and crunchy wine, not an Amarone. This is not a bad wine, just something I myself didn't enjoy.
2018 Valfaccenda Roero - Italy, Piedmont, Alba, Roero (11.6.2022)
100% Nebbiolo, mostly destemmed but partly vinified in whole bunches (10-30%) that undergo carbonic maceration. Fermented and macerated with the skins for a couple of weeks, then pressed into big, old oak casks. Aged for 10-12 months, bottled unfined and unfiltered. 13,5% alcohol.
Pale, clean and very translucent raspberry-red color. Clean, open and slightly primary nose with fruit-driven aromas of brambly raspberries and dusty cherries, some youthful strawberry jelly tones, a little bit of licorice root and a sharp hint of tart red berries. The wine feels ripe, round and juicy on the palate with youthful flavors of sweet black cherries, some ripe raspberry tones, a little bit of licorice root, light wild strawberry notes and a primary hint of candied red fruits. The overall feel is quite balanced despite the general roundness, thanks to the moderately high acidity and moderately grippy medium tannins. The finish is rich and quite grippy with a moderately long aftertaste or ripe red-toned berries, some licorice root notes, a little bit of sweet white fruit, light brambly raspberry nuances and a hint of juicy black cherry.
A nice and juicy Nebbiolo that is quite noticeably ripe - thanks to the solar 2018 vintage - but also very balanced and firm, despite all the ripeness. The overall style is perhaps a bit straightforward and - probably thanks to its youth - very fruit-forward, but still thoroughly enjoyable, thanks to the balanced structure and especially to the firmness that the tannins bring. Priced more or less according to its quality at 28€.
2016 Matteo Correggia Roero - Italy, Piedmont, Alba, Roero (11.6.2022)
100% Nebbiolo. Macerated for a week with the skins in stainless steel tanks, aged for a minimum of 6 months in oak casks. 14,5% alcohol.
Luminous, clear and rather deep yet quite transparent ruby-red color with a youthful garnet hue. The nose feels ripe, brooding and quite sweetly-fruited with solar aromas of juicy black cherries, some black raspberries, a little bit of almost marmaladey red fruit, light boozy notes of alcohol heat and a hint of savory spices. The wine is light-to-medium-bodied on the palate with a very juicy and somewhat round overall feel. There are somewhat sweetish flavors of ripe raspberries and sweet black cherries, some strawberry notes, a little bit of juicy dark plum, light gravelly mineral nuances of a hint of fresh dark forest fruit. The overall feel is a bit on the soft and sweet side, thanks to the medium acidity - although the quite firm and ample tannins lend quite a bit of grip to the wine. The finish is long, warm and quite grippy with very ripe yet rather savory flavors of sweet black cherries, some fresh dark plums, a little bit of gravelly minerality, light red-toned marmaladey notes and a hint of brambly black raspberry.
A nice and enjoyably tannic Nebbiolo, although I must admit I was quite surprised by the rather ripe, sunny and sweet-toned overall character of the wine. After all, 2016 was known as a very classically style and not so warm vintage on the Langhe side, so I was expecting this wine to show freshness, precision and savory fruit. Instead this was very juicy, sweetly-fruited and relatively low in acidity - something I was not expecting from a 2016 Nebbiolo. All things considered, this was a pretty great, balanced and vibrant wine, but with higher acidity and less ripe and sweetly-fruited overall character, this could've been so much more. A good wine, but ultimately nothing truly great.
2016 Matteo Correggia Roero La Val Dei Preti - Italy, Piedmont, Alba, Roero (11.6.2022)
100% Roero Nebbiolo, macerated with the skins for 10-12 days. Aged for 18 months in old botti casks (about half) and barriques (mainly old, a small portion is new). Total production 9207 bottles. 15% alcohol.
Youthful, quite deep, slightly translucent black cherry color. Rich, dark-toned nose with very solar aromas of almost raisiny dark fruit, some wizened dark berry tones, a little bit of powdered salty liquorice, light crunchy notes of fresh redcurrants and a floral hint of crushed rose petals. The wine is juicy, dense and somewhat evolved on the palate with a full body and quite concentrated flavors of wizened red cherries, some sweet strawberry tones, a little bit of dark pruney fruit, light savory wood nuances, a hint of alcohol heat and a touch of meaty umami. The overall feel is silky, quite sunny and rather warm with a rather tightly-knit structure, thanks to the high acidity and quite assertive and noticeably grippy tannins. The finish is ripe, long and very tannic with a healthy dose of tannic grip and bold flavors of juicy red cherries, some strawberry tones, a little bit of wizened red plums, light meaty nuances of umami and a hint of almost pruney dried dark fruit. The high alcohol makes the wine end on a rather warm note.
A bold, powerful and very structure-driven Roero Nebbiolo that has gotten a bit too much on the ripe side. The wine is exceptionally fresh and structured for a wine that is so ripe - exhibiting 15% alcohol and rather sweet, almost pruney fruit flavors - but unfortunately that isn't enough to keep the wine in balance. The overall feel is powerful, impressive and very impactful, no matter how you look at it, but I prefer Nebbiolo with more freshness, less alcohol heat and more savory tones. This is getting just way too sunny for my preference, even if the structure here is right on point. All in all, a fine wine - but with a bit less ripeness and lower alcohol, this could be so much better. Perhaps some aging might bring some additional finesse to the wine, but with the somewhat pruney fruit flavors, I'd be careful.
2012 Cascina Val del Prete Roero Bricco Medica - Italy, Piedmont, Alba, Roero (11.6.2022)
The grapes are sourced from a biodynamically farmed 11-yo Nebbiolo vineyard. Fermented with natural yeasts, the maceration is carried over as long as it takes for the wine to ferment dry, which is 25 to 40 days, depending on the vintage. Aged for 16 months in concrete and 6 months in bottles before release. Lot number L09/14. 14,5% alcohol.
Quite translucent blackish-red color with an evolved maroon hue. The nose feels odd, slightly dull and a bit aldehydic with aromas of green apple slices, some dusty earthy notes, a little bit of old barn, light cherry tones, a hint of old dry wood and a lifted touch of nail polish. The wine is ripe, juicy and full-bodied on the palate with somewhat evolved and slightly dull flavors of earth and wizened black cherries, some dusty earthy notes, a little bit of aldehydic green apple, a hint of juicy dark berry and a touch of balsamic VA. The wine is still very sinewy and structured, thanks to its moderately high acidity and assertive, noticeably grippy tannins. The finish is somewhat evolved, quite tightly-knit and noticeably tannic with a bit dull flavors of wizened black cherries, some meaty notes of umami, a little bit of leathery funk, light dusty notes of earth, an aldehydic hint of green apple and a touch of gravelly minerality.
There was something badly wrong here. The wine didn't really seem like corked, just dusty and dull without any obvious TCA aromas. Instead it had some aldehydic nuances of green apple slices, further contributing to the weirdness and unpleasantness of this wine. In the past this has been the most lovely Nebbiolo I can get at 24,97€, but this time the wine was a bit let-down. I wonder what on earth had gone wrong with this bottle? A poor-quality cork?
2017 Valfaccenda Roero Vigna Valmaggiore - Italy, Piedmont, Alba, Roero (11.6.2022)
Organically farmed Nebbiolo grapes sourced from the Valmaggiore cru planted in 1947 in Vezza d'Alba, Roero. Fermented spontaneously in concrete tanks and old wood vats, aged for 14 months in old 500-liter tonneaux. Bottled unfined and unfiltered. 13,5% alcohol.
Youthful and very translucent raspberry-red color with a little bit of haze. The nose feels juicy, youthful and very fruit-forward with sweet-toned aromas of raspberries, some primary notes of cocktail cherries and candied red fruits, a little bit of licorice, light strawberry nuances and a floral hint of roses. The wine is firm, youthful and somewhat extracted on the palate with a medium body and dry-ish flavors of juicy red cherries, some wild strawberries, a little bit of licorice, light solar notes of wizened red fruits, a primary hint of raspberry jellies and a floral touch of roses. The overall feel is quite stern and structured with its rather high acidity and ample, assertive tannins that make the wine feel quite tough and grippy. The finish is long, dry and tannic with intense flavors of sweet red cherries, some wizened red fruits, a little bit of wild strawberry, light nuances of licorice root, a hint of rose and a primary touch of raspberry candies.
This is a very ripe yet stern and tightly-knit Roero Nebbiolo that still feels a bit too young for its own good. The somewhat noticeable ripeness has turned the fruit department quite sweet and at times the flavors have even a slightly dried-fruit quality to them, but fortunately the wine is otherwise enjoyably balanced with its relatively high acidity and pretty moderate level of alcohol. At the moment the wine comes across as a bit too ripe and primary for my taste, but I suspect that with a handful of years in a cellar the wine will lose its candied fruit esters and hopefully with more age the wine will develop more savory tertiary flavors that will balance out those sweeter ripe-fruited notes. Although not a bullseye, I enjoyed this wine quite a lot and it shows great potential for future development.
2016 Matteo Correggia Roero Riserva Ròche d'Ampsèj - Italy, Piedmont, Alba, Roero (11.6.2022)
The flagship wine of Matteo Correggia: made with Nebbiolo fruit from the Ròche d'Ampsèj cru, partly (50%) macerated with the skins for 10-12 days in stainless steel, partly (the other 50%) for a whopping 60 days in "rolling" 600-liter tonneaux barrels (mainly new French oak). After the maceration the first half is left to age in new barriques, the other half in those tonneaux. After a minimum of 14 months, the wines are blended together and then aged for a further 24 months in bottles. Total production 6505 bottles. 14,5% alcohol.
Somewhat evolved and rather translucent reddish-maroon color that turns slightly syrupy-brown towards the rim. The nose feels sweet and relatively tertiary with aromas of ripe black cherries, some prunes, a little bit of dusty wood, light raisiny tones, a hint of gravelly minerality and a faint touch of toasty oak spice. The wine is ripe, juicy and surprisingly evolved on the palate with a full body and quite rich flavors of ripe sour cherries and stony minerality, some black raspberry tones, a little bit of dark pruney fruit, light meaty notes of umami, a hint of sweet strawberry and a touch of balsamico. The overall feel is quite sinewy and tightly-knit with the high acidity and quite assertive and noticeably grippy tannins. The finish is long, complex and tannic with a savory and quite developed aftertaste of sour cherries and wizened black cherries, some pruney tones, a little bit of licorice, light woody notes of savory oak spice, a hint of gravelly minerality and a touch of raisins.
This was an impressively structured, complex and enjoyably developed Roero Nebbiolo - but at the same time its evolved overall character was quite a surprise, as a 2016 Nebbiolo should be very youthful rather than tertiary. I wonder if 2016 was a very hot vintage in Roero (or just at Correggia's vineyards) since this was already the second 2016 Correggia that was surprisingly ripe, sweet and pruney in character. However, unlike the 2016 Matteo Correggia Val dei Preti, which was just very ripe, sweet and bordering on pruney because of the ripeness, this felt slightly less ripe in character, but similarly pruney in taste - however, this wine seemed more aged with tertiary dried-fruit character as well. I wonder if this is really the style of 2016 or if we had just a slightly premoxed bottle or something else. This was a good, impressive and thoroughly enjoyable wine, but this was drinking more like a 25-years old Nebbiolo, not one barely 5 years old!
2016 Angelo Negro e Figli Roero Riserva Sudisfá - Italy, Piedmont, Alba, Roero (11.6.2022)
This wine is a reserve blend made from a selection of the best Nebbiolo grapes sourced from multiple Crus that don't go into the single-vineyard bottlings. Macerated with the skins for three to four weeks, aged for a total of 32 months in oak casks and bottles. 14,5% alcohol.
Youthful, luminous and quite translucent cherry-red color. Clean, youthful and slightly smoky nose with aromas of fresh cherries and brambly raspberries, some strawberry tones, a little bit of gravelly minerality, light floral nuances of roses, a hint of tar and a perhaps reductive touch of rubber. The wine is youthful, fresh and clean with a medium-to-moderately full body and ripe yet dry flavors of cherries and brambly black raspberries, some licorice root tones, a little bit of tar, light gravelly mineral notes, sweeter hints of wild strawberries and dark plums and a primary hint of Bassett's black wine gums. The wine is firm and rather tightly-knit yet balanced with its high acidity and rather grippy medium-plus tannins. The finish is long, dry and quite stern with rather noticeable tannic grip along with savory flavors of sour cherries and brambly black raspberries, some sweeter wild strawberry tones, a little bit of licorice root, light plummy nuances, a hint of savory wood spice and a faint dried-fruit touch of wizened dark fruits. The high alcohol manages to stay remarkably well out of sight.
A wonderfully pretty, harmonious and classically styled Nebbiolo that doesn't suffer from the softness or noticeable ripeness some contemporary Roeros can exhibit, but instead comes across as quite delicate yet not at all understated or wimpy - on the contrary, this feels light a lighter-end Barbaresco or even a "Burgundian" Barolo, yet packing the tannins one expects of an old-school Nebbiolo. Seeing how youthful the wine is at the moment, it is easy to predict bright future for this wine; let it wait for at least a few years more, but it feels like this will easily go for another 10-15 years or even more. A delightful and very well-made wine offering Barbaresco-or-Barolo-level quality from the often overlooked neighboring appellation. Highly recommended.
2011 Antica Cascina dei Conti di Roero Roero - Italy, Piedmont, Alba, Roero (11.6.2022)
Evolved, moderately translucent plummy red color with a rather developed maroon hue. The nose feels evolved and somewhat aged with layered, slightly sweetish and quite attractive aromas of cherry marmalade, some sweet raspberry tones, a little bit of raisiny dark fruit, light balsamic nuances, a floral hint of dried flowers, a touch of crêpes and a whiff of alcohol. The wine is ripe, evolved and textural with a moderately full body and somewhat tertiary yet still enjoyably juicy flavors of raisiny dark fruits and wizened black cherries, some licorice tones, a little bit of balsamic richness, light meaty notes of umami, a hint of blackberry jam and a touch of prunes. Typical of a Nebbiolo, the wine is high in acidity, with assertive and noticeably grippy yet not aggressive tannins. The finish is grippy, somewhat sweet and quite tertiary with lengthy, complex flavors of raisins and prunes, some wizened cherry tones, a little bit of red licorice, light floral notes of dried flowers, a hint of balsamic richness and a balancing touch of sour cherry bitterness.
Albeit quite tertiary, this was still a very lovely, balanced and rather noticeably structure-driven Nebbiolo. We were surprised how aged and tertiary the wine was, at the age of approx. 10 years, but then again, Roero Nebbiolos are said to be earlier-drinking wines. However, seeing how stern, structured and concentrated this wine was, more likely I would've thought of 30-yo Barolo than a 10-yo Roero, had this wine served to me blind. A nice and thoroughly enjoyable effort for the fans of Nebbiolos with age - just remember to serve some food with the wine, just to tame its quite formidable tannins!
Posted from CellarTracker