On my third day in Piedmont, I started off at Cascina Roccalini. I'm visiting 20 or so Piedmont producers while I'm here, casting the net a little wider than the Barolo and Barbaresco DOCGs, to Gavi, Roero, Dogliani and Asti. My first day here, I tasted at Renato Ratti, Oddero and Pio Cesare. On Day 2, I visited Massolino, Giuseppe Rinaldi and G.D. Vajra.
More clouds on Wednesday, as I made my way from La Morra toward Barbaresco. My first visit was with Paolo Veglio of Cascina Roccalini and his Italian distributor (and my translator) Christian Bucci.
I was impressed with the Cascina Roccalini Barbera d'Alba 2008, so wanted to meet the man behind the wine and see how he is working.
Veglio is a true artisan. He farms 11 acres, mostly Nebbiolo from the Roccalini cru just below the house and cellar. The property has been in the family since 1931; the oldest plantings of Nebbiolo date from 1961 and the youngest were planted in '02. There are also a little more than 8.5 acres of hazelnut trees.
Until 2004, he sold the entire grape crop to other producers. In 2004 Veglio vinified half, then the entire crop the following year.
There's nothing fancy here. The Dolcetto and classic Barbera see nothing but stainless steel. The Barbera Superiore is aged for a short period in cask. The Barbarescos also see large, neutral oak casks for two years.
The malolactic conversion is very late and the Nebbiolo is racked only before the assemblage and bottling. There is no fining or filtration, just a long, natural clarification and stabilization.
The Dolcetto 2009 exudes floral and raspberry notes, very fresh and direct. It will be in the United States next spring. The Barbera 2009 was bottled in September. Very pure and fragrant, its violet, black currant and plum flavors were beautifully integrated with the silky texture, all fresh and long.
There are three casks of Barbaresco 2009 in the Roccalini cellar. Cask No. 9 offered an incredibly pure, alluring nose of strawberry and rose. It was less evolved on the palate, elegant, balanced and fresh, a wine of finesse. Cask No. 8 was less aromatic, with a cherry note. It revealed more weight and dense tannins. The final cask, No. 7, evoked both strawberry and cherry aromas followed by rich, pure, sweet fruit on an elegant, firm frame.
We all preferred the aromas of No. 9 and the palate of No. 7. Nonetheless, it was clear that the 2009 Barbaresco has fine potential.
A tank sample of the 2008 Barbaresco (it will be bottled before Christmas) filled the mouth with red fruits and a touch of licorice and tar, all backed by a solid structure, with fine tannins. It's still a bit awkward, yet long in the aftertaste.
The 2007 will be the next release in the U.S. Veglio sold all his 2006 in bulk because "It didn't give me any emotion." The '07 featured a gorgeous nose of cherry, strawberry and floral perfume with a touch of herbs. It has the trademark Roccalini elegance and finesse, with a mineral finish.
This is an estate to watch.
Tom J Wilson — Canada — November 24, 2010 8:29pm ET
Franco Ziliani — Italy — November 25, 2010 6:00am ET
Tom J Wilson — Canada — November 25, 2010 9:09pm ET
Bruce Sanderson — New York — November 26, 2010 4:44pm ET
Terence Hughes — New Yok, NY, USA — November 27, 2010 11:30am ET
Jeremiah Morehouse — Sacramento CA — November 27, 2010 6:06pm ET
Terence Hughes — New Yok, NY, USA — November 27, 2010 11:40pm ET
Jeremiah Morehouse — Sacramento CA — November 28, 2010 4:20pm ET
Terence Hughes — New Yok, NY, USA — November 29, 2010 8:30am ET
Bruce Sanderson — New York — November 29, 2010 9:15am ET
Jeremiah Morehouse — Sacramento CA — November 29, 2010 4:24pm ET
Terence Hughes — New Yok, NY, USA — December 2, 2010 9:01am ET
Jeremiah Morehouse — Sacramento CA — December 2, 2010 4:28pm ET
Terence Hughes — New Yok, NY, USA — December 24, 2010 9:54am ET
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