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Socre Barbaresco 2007
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
The decision to expand does not stop here. Rosella and Marco Piacentino have been enlarging the business also by planting new vines in the original vineyards in Barbaresco in the famous cru of Roncaglie. They have purchased other vineyards in Neviglie in Barbaresco and Cisterna d'Asti in Roero where they have planted Barbera, Croatina, Cabernet and Merlot.
Wines such as Croatina and Cisterna d'Asti were also a matter of interest and attention to Marco. Marco's idea is to keep local tradition alive in offering clients of Socre’ traditional varietals that offer a fresh alternative to the land's more renowned wines such as Barbera d'Alba, Barbera d'Asti, Langhe Nebbiolo and the raisined wine Camplongh, as well as a dry white wine called Via Nuova.
The vineyards of Socre in Barbaresco (about 3 hectares) are just below the wine cellar, and are the heart and soul of the estate. The land slopes downwards quite steeply, with western and southern exposure; the land's altitude is between 250 and 290m above sea level. The earth is mainly clayey, with a limestone base and sharp alkaline reaction.
The pride of Socre by far is again, the cru of Roncaglie Alto. As early as 1880, Roncaglie was already recognized as one of the best and most important areas for Barbaresco production, also mentioned in Lorenzo Fantini's fundamental publication on Viticulture and Oenology in the Province of Cuneo. Argilo-calcaire soils, perfect exposition (South and South-west), mild winds and great temperatures fluctuations, give rise to deep and elegant wines. The vineyards (with ages ranging rom 10 to 50 years) are planted with a density ranging from 4500 vines per ha up to 8000 vines per ha.
Roncaglie Alto is a very respected area just below the vineyard of the renowned Angelo Gaja vineyard called Sori' Tilden. Separating the two vineyards is the road from Alba before the hamlet of Tre Stelle bearing amazing views of the vineyards of Barbaresco. The vines of Roncaglie were planted in 1959 by Marco's grandfather Giovanni and are still bearing incredible fruit.
Guido Busatto has been brought in as the enologist in charge to help make the Socre a top player in the world of wines from the Le Langhe. Before this the Roncaglie cru has never taken advantage of how great this vineyard really is except for Angelo Gaja who has never named Roncaglie on his labels. Because of this, Roncaglie has not had the privilege in the past of displaying such honor on the front label by any estate. All this will change. The vineyards of Socre has huge potential in making world lass wines and this is exactly what Socre is capable of making…world class wines.
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 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.