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Roagna Barolo la Rocca e la Pira 2004
With its great structure and elegance, this wine can be matched with red meat, stew meat, ripe cheese and pasta.
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Alfredo and Luca, father and son, now take care of the property. In 1990, they were able to purchase two slices of renowned vineyard sites of Castiglione Falletto in Barolo, la Pira and le Rocche. These came with a 15th farm house they renovated and which became Casa Roagna, a bed and breakfast overlooking the vines
The Roagna like to describe their style as traditional and innovative. Luca was born in 1980, and is still pursuing a high degree in oenology. But he sees his academic studies as a way to understand intellectually all the practices he has observed on the terrain and in the cellar, as implemented by his grandfather Giovanni Roagna, father Alfredo and mother, Luigina.
In 2003, Luca initiated a new venture. He hopes to make a wine from each of the great cru sites in Barolo. He has begun with Vigna Rionda, in Serralunga d’Alba, where he has bought grapes from an old contadino who has worked the vineyard all his life in more or less organic fashion (no herbicides, minimal treatments.). We have yet to see which other cru from which Luca has managed to find some fruit, but he will continue.
All of the the vines in Barbaresco and Barolo are worked organically, no herbicide was ever used here, grass grows between the rows, and only copper and sulfur solutions are used for treatment.
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 hilltops, is one full of history and romance of 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 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.