Roberto Voerzio is a passionate vigneron. He is the first Barolo winemaker to earn a perfect 100-point score, for his Barolo Brunate 1997. The 2007 harvest was his 21st and he currently farms 30 acres around the village of La Morra.
Voerzio is meticulous in the vineyards. He doubled the vine density from 4,000 to 8,000 vines per hectare (about 3,200 per acre), prunes short and green harvests to achieve one kilogram of grapes per vine, often less.
He is non-interventionist in the cellar, allowing the indigenous yeasts to ferment his Nebbiolo, Barbera, Dolcetto and Merlot in stainless steel tanks. After maoloactic fermentation, the wines (except the Dolcetto) are aged in barrique or 450-liter barrels. After the appropriate time in wood, the wines are put back into tank over the winter for final clarification and bottled unfined and unfiltered.
Voerzio made a delicious Dolcetto Priavino 2006, fresh and pure, with loads of cherry fruit. The Barbera d’Alba Vigneti Ceretto 2005 is still influenced by the oak and shows more austerity, higher acidity and good length. The Barbera d’Alba Pozzo dell’Annunziata 2004 is a serious red, very spicy, with cherry and currant flavors, fine balance and elegance.
There are seven Barolos from the 2004 harvest each reflecting the variations in elevation, exposure and soils. We started with La Serra, from a southeast-facing site at 990 to 1,155 feet in elevation, with limestone, clay and basalt soils. The wine is fragrant with floral, wild red berry notes and finesse, ending with a long mineral impression.
The Fossati Case Nere is a blend of two sites. Fossati has the same soils and elevation as La Serra; Case Nere is more like Cerequio—south-facing with limestone and clay. As a result, this wine has more power, more austerity and tannins than La Serra, very mouthfilling, with flavors of tar and iron.
The south-facing sites of Rocche dell’Annunziata and Torriglione contain white limestone and sand. This is fresh, round and full of cherry and licorice notes, with excellent balance and texture. The Cerequio shows refinement, combining the floral and red fruit aspects of La Serra with licorice and mineral flavors. It’s intense and long. The aromas show hints of mandarin orange or kumquat.
The Brunate is an aristocrat, intense, complex, with sweetness to its red and black fruit flavors and a long, dry, mineral aftertaste. It promises to be another great Brunate from Voerzio. The Sarmassa di Barolo exhibits the typical “tar and roses” combined with a round, concentrated profile. It has more power than Cerequio, with the mineral character of Brunate.
Voerzio’s Barolo Riserva Vecchie viti dei Capalot e delle Brunate, mostly from vines more than 50 years old, is perfumed, displaying floral, red fruits and a hint of orange peel. Sweet fruit fills the palate, with mineral on the back end, but the tannins are more rustic here.
“2004 is a great year with all the wines at the same level, from Dolcetto to the Barolo crus,” he explained. “I’m lucky to have the chance to work with the best terroirs in La Morra,” he added with a big grin. “From parcel to parcel, the exposure, the elevation and the soils are all slightly different.”
With a simple lunch of vitello tonnato, carne crudo and minestrone soup, we enjoyed the Brunate 1997. It’s a beauty, changing over time, with fragrant aromas of red fruits, flowers and mineral. At 10 years, it maintains impeccable balance between primary fruit flavors and mineral elements from the terroir. A few hours later it smelled of white truffles. A great Barolo.
James Suckling — — November 26, 2007 10:06am ET
Kim Sorensen — Denmark — November 26, 2007 5:47pm ET
Bruce Sanderson — New York — November 28, 2007 3:48am ET
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