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Elvio Cogno Montegrilli Nebbiolo 2013
After a long and fruitful partnership with Marcarini at La Morra, in 1990 Cogno bought a splendid historical farm in the family village and restored it to its former glory. Today the winery nestles in a breathtaking landscape between the hills and the sky. At sunset on clear days, a wonderful turquoise horizon frames the farm like a painting. Hence the name of this exceptional wine land: 'Petorchino', or blue feet.
The Cogno family has been making wine in the Langhe area for four generations: the values of history and tradition handed down by father Elvio are enhanced by the freshness and innovation introduced by his daughter Nadia and her husband Valter Fissore.
Even to this day, the Roero folklore lives on about witchcraft lurking behind its dramatic contours and obscure woods—but these stories only add to the region’s allure and charm. Actually today Roero winemakers are some of the most astute and motivated in Piedmont. While the white Arneis has attracted global attention for some time, now Roero Nebbiolo wines (elevated to the same DOCG status as Barolo and Barbaresco) are making a name for themselves. Keep an eye on any labeled with the vineyard, Valmaggiore, as Barolo producers have been investing here for years. If you’re looking for hidden gems, this is your region!
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 and 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.