I have been looking for the wine of small local producers to showcase at the Herstmonceux dinner and it is difficult as there are so many to choose from. I have already decided that the excellent wines of Franco Rocca (“Albesani” Barbaresco 2007 and “Bricco Stepone” Barbera d’Alba Superiore 2008), Sciorio (“Beneficio” Barbera d’Asti 2009 and “Furmjia” Monferrato Rosso 2008 ) and Manera (Barbaresco 2008 and Favorita 2010) should feature, but I also wanted some wines from Barolo. With the help of our friends from www.theitalianwinetours.com I turned my attention there. They had a couple of suggestions so last week we visited Dario Stroppiana, whose wines I had earmarked from La Morra tastings, and Alberto Voerzio a relatively new, young and passionate producer. It was not a difficult decision to include their wines.
Dario Stroppiana’s “Altea” Barbera d’Alba Superiore 2008 is classic and typical of its genre . Extremely fruity with beautifully balanced acidity but a year in French barrique provides real body and hints of tobacco and tar. Their “Gabutti Bussia” Barolo 2008 from Monforte d’Alba is a pretty elegant wine for early drinking although it will also age well. Vinified in botte grande it has spice (cumin) with a strong passion/tropical fruit nose and taste. Both wines will be included. It was close call as we also loved their other 2 Baroli. The 2007 “San Giacomo” Barolo made form 50 year old vines, that is kept in tonneaux and barrique for a year before transfer to botte grande is also appealing but quite tannic for a 2007 and will benefit from further cellaring. Having said that it was spicy, aromatic and reminded us of fruit salad with soft, almost sweet tannins that do not overpower the fruit. The “Leonardo” Barolo 2007 is their entry level wine, made from young vines that are at most 15 years old. In 2009 some of the wine will be marketed as a cru, “Bricco Cogni. Simpler and very appealing with a lingering, elegant length.
Alberto Voerzio‘s first vintage was 2006 and his “La Serra” 2007 Barolo is simply stunning. The vines in this historic site in La Morra are up to 40 years old and this is where Alberto chooses to spend most of his time, tending the vines through all phases personally. He believes quite rightly that great wines are made in the vineyard and that work in the cantina is secondary. Everything is managed as naturally as possible with minimal chemical intervention and no added yeasts so fermentation is spontaneous. His passion and enthusiasm are contagious and he is as excited by his wines a we were. La Serra has everything you would expect from a great Barolo: smooth, balanced dry tannins with exceptional length. Spicy, floral, intense and new sensations in the glass every few minutes. Unfortunately he only made 1,200 bottles so there are a lot of unlucky people who won’t get to taste it. As a generalisation the 2007 vintage is forward and drinks well now but still has excellent ageing potential. His 2008 Langhe Nebbiolo will also be on show and is a very affordable, pleasurable introduction to my favourite grape.
Wines to be served at dinner will be those of Enzo Rapalino, La Ganghija:
Langhe Chardonnay 2010/11
Barbera d’Alba, 2009
I will also be adding a couple of wines from Claudio Rapalino but have yet to finalise details.