Elvio Cogno Bordini Barbaresco 2010
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
The Cogno family has been making wine for four generations in Piedmont. In 1990, Elvio Cogno left a long and fruitful partnership with the venerable Barolo producer Marcarini at La Morra and bought a splendid, historic 18th-century farmhouse on the top of Bricco Ravera, a hill near Novello in the Langhe area. (Novello is one of the 11 communes in which Barolo is produced.) The farm was surrounded by 11 hectares (27.18 acres) of steeply sloped vineyards. Elvio restored the manor, converted the old granaries to wine cellars and founded his eponymous winery. For the next 20 years he devoted himself to the winemaking traditions handed down to him by his father and grandfather.
Elvio, in turn, has now passed the torch to his daughter, Nadia, and her husband, Valter Fissore, who has worked beside Elvio for 25 years. Following in the footsteps of Elvio the maestro, Elvio Cogno winery continues to produce elegant wines without altering the traditions, styles and flavors of the Langhe, with its breathtaking quilted landscape and unique grape varieties.
The Elvio Cogno winery sits at the top of Bricco Ravera, a hill near Novello in the Langhe area of Piedmont, one of the 11 communes in which Barolo is produced. Ravera is the finest cru of Novello, encircling the top of the hill and the winery, reaching a 380-meter (1,246-foot) elevation, with breathtaking views in all directions. At sunset on clear days, a turquoise horizon frames the farm, hence the name “Petorchino,” or “blue feet,” for this vineyard land.
A wine that most perfectly conveys the spirit and essence of its place, Barbaresco is true reflection of terroir. Its star grape, like that in the neighboring Barolo region, is Nebbiolo. Four townships within the Barbaresco zone can produce Barbaresco: the actual village of Barbaresco, as well as Neive, Treiso and San Rocco Seno d'Elvio.
Broadly speaking there are more similarities in the soils of Barbaresco and Barolo than there are differences. Barbaresco’s soils are approximately of the same two major soil types as Barolo: blue-grey marl of the Tortonion epoch, producing more fragile and aromatic characteristics, and Helvetian white yellow marl, which produces wines with more structure and tannins.
Nebbiolo ripens earlier in Barbaresco than in Barolo, primarily due to the vineyards’ proximity to the Tanaro River and lower elevations. While the wines here are still powerful, Barbaresco expresses a more feminine side of Nebbiolo, often with softer tannins, delicate fruit and an elegant perfume. Typical in a well-made Barbaresco are expressions of rose petal, cherry, strawberry, violets, smoke and spice. These wines need a few years before they reach their peak, the best of which need over a decade or longer. Bottle aging adds more savory characteristics, such as earth, iron and dried fruit.
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.