Aurelio Settimo Rocche Barolo 1997
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Until 1962 they used to practice mixed farming, working the land (vineyards, fruit trees, hazelnuts) and breeding animals (hens, rabbits, cows). The grapes were sold to big local wineries, and just a small amount remained for the family to produce wine for themselves, friends and relatives.
At the end of the 1950s, Aurelio’s father began bottling some of the wine under the Settimo Domenico label. Aurelio had understood how special this land really was, however, and when Domenico died in 1962 he decided to specialize in wine-growing.
Mixed farming and animal breeding were abandoned, the vineyards were extended, and the Aurelio Settimo label was introduced during 1962.
Though fraught with difficulties, this was the beginning of a new challenge, and a new home and winery were built amidst the family vineyards.
Until 1974, when Aurelio began extending the winery, 50% of the grapes grown on the estate continued to be sold to the larger local wineries. But since the 1974 vintage all the production has been vinified on site.
The Settimo family has continued to maintain a traditional product line, in particular as regards Barolo.
The center of the production of the world’s most exclusive and age-worthy red wines made from Nebbiolo, the Barolo wine region includes five core townships: La Morra, Monforte d’Alba, Serralunga d’Alba, Castiglione Falletto and the Barolo village itself, as well as a few outlying villages. The landscape of Barolo, characterized by prominent and castle-topped hills, is full of history and romance centered on the Nebbiolo grape. Its wines, with the signature “tar and roses” aromas, have a deceptively light garnet color but full presence on the palate and plenty of tannins and acidity. In a well-made Barolo wine, one can expect to find complexity and good evolution with notes of, for example, strawberry, cherry, plum, leather, truffle, anise, fresh and dried herbs, tobacco and violets.
There are two predominant soil types here, which distinguish Barolo from the lesser surrounding areas. Compact and fertile Tortonian sandy marls define the vineyards farthest west and at higher elevations. Typically the Barolo wines coming from this side, from La Morra and Barolo, can be approachable relatively early on in their evolution and represent the “feminine” side of Barolo, often closer in style to Barbaresco with elegant perfume and fresh fruit.
On the eastern side of the Barolo wine region, Helvetian soils of compressed sandstone and chalks are less fertile, producing wines with intense body, power and structured tannins. This more “masculine” style comes from Monforte d’Alba and Serralunga d’Alba. The township of Castiglione Falletto covers a spine with both soil types.
The best Barolo wines need 10-15 years before they are ready to drink, and can further age for several decades.
Responsible for some of the most elegant and age-worthy wines in the world, Nebbiolo, named for the ubiquitous autumnal fog (called nebbia in Italian), is the star variety of northern Italy’s Piedmont region. Grown throughout the area, as well as in the neighboring Valle d’Aosta and Valtellina, it reaches its highest potential in the Piedmontese villages of Barolo, Barbaresco and Roero. Outside of Italy, growers are still very much in the experimentation stage but some success has been achieved in parts of California. Somm Secret—If you’re new to Nebbiolo, start with a charming, wallet-friendly, early-drinking Langhe Nebbiolo or Nebbiolo d'Alba.