Ca' Rome Barolo Vigna Cerretta 2010
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Ca' is short for "Casa": home. In fact, you wouldn't take Romano Marengo's for a winery at first. From the road, the house seems to exude a quiet air of comfort and family life. It is right at the top of a Langhe hill, surrounded by an endless vista of gently sloping country; a beautiful, restful home to grow children in, or to grow old in.
Then you walk up to the villa, turn the corner to its southern façade, and you see them. Terraced Nebbiolo vines, beautifully kept. The cool, clean air around you tingles with that brisk, zesty smell of must and oak you find wherever great wines are made: the Langhe hill we stand on is called Rabajà, Barbaresco's historical cru!
Here, after three decades of selecting fine wines, Romano set up a winery of his own in 1980, styling the range himself, and taking production to a yearly average of 2,500 cases.
The vineyards' total surface is now a little over 12 acres, partly located at Barbaresco, partly at Serralunga d'Alba, in Barolo territory. In spite of the winery's steady increase in size and importance, when you speak to Signor Marengo and his family (notably son Giuseppe, an oenology graduate, and daughter Paola, in charge of p.r. and marketing), you will find that first impression of Ca' Rome' - its quiet, country-home air, made for leisure and family life - had some truth in it, after all... You feel Romano grew his children and his wines with the same sterling discipline, the same sense of excellence and impeccable standards.
Ca' Rome' is a home: home to classic red wine-making, and to the very finest quality, in life as in wines.
The center of the production of the world’s most exclusive and age-worthy red wines made from Nebbiolo, the Barolo 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, 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 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 soils 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 Piemontese villages of Barolo and Barbaresco. This finicky grape needs a very particular soil type and climate in order to thrive. Outside of Italy, growers are still very much in the experimentation stage but some success has been achieved in parts of California. Tiny amounts are produced in Washington, Virginia, Mexico and Australia.
In the Glass
Nebbiolo at its best is an elegant variety with velveteen tannins, mouthwatering acidity and a captivating perfume. Common characteristcs of a well-made Nebbiolo can include roses, violets, licorice, sandalwood, spicebox, smoke, potpourri, black plum, red cherry and orange peel. Light brick in color, Nebbiolo is a more powerful wine than one might expect, and its firm tannins typically need time to mellow.
Nebbiolo’s love affair with food starts in Piedmont, which is home to the Slow Food movement and some of Italy’s best cuisine. The region is famous for its white truffles, wild boar ragu and tajarin pasta, all perfect companions to Nebbiolo.
If you can’t afford to drink Barolo and Barbaresco every night, try the more wallet-friendly, earlier-drinking Langhe Nebbiolo or Nebbiolo d'Alba. Also search out the fine offerings of the nearby Roero region. North of the Langhe and Roero, find earthy and rustic versions of the variety (known here as “Spanna”) in Ghemme and Gattinara.