The Rocca family originates from Barbaresco. Bruno Rocca took charge of the family business when his father died in 1978, and decided that all the wine produced by the estate would from then on be sold in bottle. The family now has 15 hectares of vineyards. Stylistically, Bruno is a consummate modernist, making wines with great intensity of fruit while retaining the structure and elegance of the Langhe at its best.
The Nebbiolo grapes for this wine come from younger vines, grown in Bruno Rocca's vineyards in Neive, Cru San Cristoforo, Marcorino and Fausoni. The soil originates from the Tertiary Period or the Cenozoic Era of nearly 70 million years ago and is rich in limestone and micronutrients ideal for growing Nebbiolo. The Neive vineyard is particularly sandy and tufaceous, creating full-bodied wines with firm tannins.
The grapes were hand-harvested and selected in the vineyard. A second selection took place on the sorting table. Fermentation was carried out in stainless steel tanks and lasted 20-25 days. The wine was aged in French oak barriques for 18 months, and then spent eight months in bottle before release.
Intense garnet in colour, this wine has fruity aromas of blackberries, wild black cherries and plums with overtones of subtle rose, violet with hints of spice. Warm and elegant, the long-lasting flavours finish with a hint of cocoa.
The Conterno Fantino winery was founded in 1982 by Claudio Conterno and Guido Fantino. Today they cultivate 27 hectares of vines and produce about 140,000 bottles per year, split between the 4 varietals of Nebbiolo, Barbera, Dolcetto and Chardonnay. Over the years, the two founders have been joined by Alda, Fabio and Elisa Fantino in various roles. Environmental sustainability, preserving biodiversity, respect of the land and its heritage are the guiding principles in the vineyards, which are organically cultivated and certified by CCPB. The Conterno Fantino winery styles its wines with the primary goal of reflecting their own identity: from painstaking manual selection of fruit which is harvested by hand using small crates; from preserving the aromas of the vineyard with spontaneous fermentation from indigenous yeasts (no commercial yeast is used here); from the careful use of wood for the ageing of the wines to the minimal use of sulfites, right up to the bottle ageing. "Our wine is the offspring of the land in which the wines are cultivated, and once in the winery must be brought up, step by step, as if it were a member of the family. Our wine is one of us."
This wine is 100% Barbera.
A wine ruby red in appearance with cherry reflections. Elegantly scented with pleasant notes of cherry and sour cherry. Very rich extractions on the palate, persistent but simultaneously soft. Excellent served with roasted red and white meats, and strong cheeses such as: penne with stir-fried beef and red bell pepper, provencal lamb with Mediterranean vegetables, pistachio-crusted pork with plum sauce and fried leeks or spiced venison steaks with red-cabbage confit and red-wine sauce.
To see an information sheet for this wine that has been produced by the team at Conterno Fantino, please click on the blue link below.
Founded in 1982, Conterno Fantino testifies to the talent and vision of viticulturist Claudio Conterno (formerly of Giacomo Conterno) and his partner, oenologist Guido Fantino. These great wines start in exceptional vineyard sites at Monforte and are lovingly nurtured in the state-of-the-art winery at Bricco Bastia. This location is scenically set, dominating the most ancient section of Monforte and overlooked by the majestic sweep of the Alps.
Vigna del Gris, from Ginestra at 300m, is on a sandier portion of vineyard that faces south-east and favours delicacy and elegance.
Short maceration on skins, vinified in rotary fermenters and aged two years in French oak barrels from coopers Taransaud, Boutes and Quintessence, followed by 12 months in the bottle.
See blue link below for the fiche technique/technical note from Conterno Fantino.
“The 2010 Barolo Vigna del Gris is beautiful, layered and expressive. Sweet tobacco, mint, licorice, crushed flowers and plums meld together in a supple, gracious wine for the year. Sweet rose petals and mint add an attractive upper register of trademark aromatics and perfume as the wine opens up in the glass. The 2010 remains dense and compact, but it is impossible to miss that the tannins here are more refined than has typically been the case with the Gris in the past, which is probably the result of vines getting older. The 2010 needs time to unwind, but it is quite pretty and full of potential. Conterno Fantino gave the 2010 a year in 100% new French oak, followed by a year in a combination of equal parts barrique and cask".
94 points, Antonio Galloni, Jan 2014, Vinous Media
"The 2010 Barolo Vigna del Gris comes from 30-year-old vines and southeast exposures (not far from where the legendary Monfortino wine is made). A vein of sandy soil in the vineyard makes for special conditions that favor delicate aromas of blue flower, forest fruit, ash and brimstone. In essence, this is a sharply focused and linear expression that leaves a direct and long-lasting impact in the mouth. Drink: 2017-2028".
93 points, Monica Larner, 26 June 2014, Wine Advocate
This wine is from 4.5ha of land close to the Conterno Fantino winery. At just under 600m a.s.l. the vineyard is high for the Barolo region and average slope is consequently steep, at 25%. The composition of the soil is predominantly sandy (57%) which is ideal for the production of perfumed, floral Dolcetto with an attractive acid structure. The average age of the vines is 15 years, and over recent seasons quality has been improved through top grafting with small-berried, loose-bunched clones. Yields are low for Dolcetto, at slightly over 50 hl/ha.
The grapes are selected and picked by hand at the beginning of September. Alcoholic fermentation and maceration take place on the skins in stainless steel horizontal fermenters over 4 - 5 days. The wine is then aged for 8 months in stainless steel tanks before being bottled.
This wine is made from organically grown grapes certified by CCPB srl - Bologna
Mouthwatering acid structure and agreeably soft in texture. Displays lovely cherry, berry and floral flavours, with an earthy, barnyard note. Ready to drink.
Awarded 92 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their August 2019 review of the emerging 2015 Barolos (see blue link below).
Conterno Fantino stands at the summit of 21st-Century Barolo, both literally and figuratively. From its stunning winery atop the Monforte d’Alba hill, this alliance of the Fantino and Conterno families produces a range of wines that are both unmistakably modern in approach, and also utterly respectful of the region’s wine-growing heritage. Established by Guido Fantino and brothers Diego and Claudio Conterno, the business now also includes Guido’s son, Fabio, ensuring the involvement of a second generation in a winery that has already accumulated a sizeable heritage. That heritage is centred on vineyards that balance the need for Nebbiolo with plantings of Barbera, Dolcetto, Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. The 23 hectares have developed from Ginestra, one of the oldest named vineyards in this part of the world. The use of short maceration and French barriques places Conterno Fantino in the vanguard of Barolo modernism, with power and backbone to support the trademark texture, elegance and freshness. Meanwhile, Monprà’s blend of Nebbiolo, Barbera and a pinch of Cabernet Sauvignon takes Langhe Rosso to new levels.
See blue link below for the fiche technique/technical note from the team at Conterno Fantino.
This Barolo comes from the famous cru of the same name in Monteforte, an historic vineyard that is considered one of the finest for growing Nebbiolo. An attractive nose of roses, tar and ripe black fruits. This Barolo is of a more elegant, refined style with very fine tannins resulting in a silky texture.
The Fontanafredda estate was bought in 1858 by Vittorio Emanuele II as a gift to his mistress Rosa Vercellana, also known as "La bela Rosin". Later, it was handed down to their children, Maria Vittoria and Emanuele Alberto, Count of Mirafiori and Fontanafredda. After several changes of ownership Fontanafredda is once again in the hands of Piedmont natives. In 2017 Fontanafredda was named “European Winery of the Year” by the prestigious American magazine Wine Enthusiast.
Relying on the most advanced models for sustainable agriculture (organic, integrated and biodynamic), they have adopted the agricultural disciplinary guidelines of Vino Libero which defines the vineyard-cultivation techniques they use whilst striving to both reduce the environmental impact and safeguard human health.
The fermentation is done in a traditional way and is carried out for an average of 8-10 days in stainless steel vats at a controlled temperature (30-31°C) with a floating cap and frequent pumping over of the must. The must is then left on the skins for several days to optimize the extraction of the polyphenolic substances and to help the malolactic fermentation get underway. This wine ages for at least two years in large casks made of oak (from Slavonia and mid-France), followed by no less then twelve months in the bottle.
The results of lengthy ageing, above-all on account of their natural qualities, these robust, well-bodied wines are packed with structure and are well capable of withstanding the test of time. Barolo has an attractive ruby-red colour with garnet highlights which become orange with the passing of time. Its bouquet is clean, full and intense, with the wine's typical traces of withered flowers, dry leaves and underbrush. Ideal with rich red meats as well as medium and mature cheeses, this is also a perfect after-dinner wine.
The Fontanafredda estate was bought by King Vittorio Emanuele II as a gift to his mistress Rosa Vercellana, also known as "La bela Rosin". Later, it was handed down to their children, Maria Vittoria and Emanuele Alberto, Count of Mirafiori and Fontanafredda.
Only grapes of “controlled” origin are used at Fontanafredda. The estate vineyards, managed directly by their own technicians, cover a total of about 100 hectares (247 acres), cultivated mainly with Nebbiolo, Barbera, Dolcetto, and Moscato: the typical varieties of the Langhe. This production only satisfies 20% of the business’s yearly needs. Therefore, each year, during harvest, over four hundred local vine growers deliver their own grapes to Fontanafredda, respecting generations-old fiduciary relationships. These grapes are also grown according to the firm guidelines of Vino Libero which guarantee zero chemical residues. Thanks to these additional grapes, the company annually crushes about 6 million kilograms of grapes.
Once picked the grapes used in "Marne Brune" undergo fermentation with maceration for 10-12 days at a temperature of 28° C. It is then aged in barriques (oak from Allier) for 12 months followed by a period of 6-7 months in the bottle.
Nebbiolo "Marne Brune" stands out for its fragrance, which is already evident in its ruby-red colour of varying intensity depending on the vintage, and is confirmed on the nose by bouquets of flowers and wild fruit, and on the palate by its strong personality and dry taste.
The 2016 vintage was awarded 92 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their May 2019 review of affordable Barolo alternatives (see blue link below).
Aldo Vajra's wines are characterised by pristine flavours and clearly defined perfumes. These characters are attributable to the position of his vineyards at about 400 metres above sea level in the village of Vergne in the commune of Barolo. G.D. Vajra was established in 1972 and named after Aldo's father, Giuseppe Domenico Vajra. Aldo has been gradually increasing the area under vine to 60 hectares, of which 10 are Nebbiolo for Barolo, located in such strategic spots as Bricco delle Viole, Fossati, La Volta and Coste di Vergne. A traditionalist, Aldo adheres to old-style winemaking methods, though blends these with new techniques, such as temperature-controlled fermentation, to produce such superbly elegant wines.
These grapes come from young Nebbiolo vines in Vajra's own vineyards in the communes of Barolo and Novello. The vines are four to seven years old and will produce Barolo DOCG in several vintages time. This Nebbiolo is also enriched by grapes from the wonderful Roccabella vineyard in the commune of Sinio, planted on steep south-facing terraces.
The 2017 vintage saw a dry winter and freezing temperatures in April. The rest of spring and summer were very dry. Harvest started one week earlier than in 2016. Despite dry weather, which led to a 20% reduction in yield, the grapes were very healthy and rich in flavours and aromas.
Fermentation lasted 15-20 days, at temperatures no higher than 29-30ºC with indigenous yeast strains and traditional daily punch downs. Malolactic fermentation followed and the wine was then aged for six months largely in stainless steel tanks, with a small portion in neutral wood, before bottling.
This wine is made using 100% Nebbiolo.
The wine is bright ruby red in colour with intense notes of violet and rose, accompanied by the freshness of ripe red berry fruits on the nose. This is an elegant Nebbiolo with herbaceous notes and perfumes of roses and red berries complemented by silky tannins and delicate acidity.
Awarded 94 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their Italy 2019 supplement as part of an article on Barolo (see blue link below).
Aldo Vaira's wines are characterised by pristine flavours and clearly defined perfumes. These characters are attributable to the position of his vineyards at about 400 metres above sea level in the village of Vergne in the commune of Barolo. GD Vajra was established in 1972 and named after Aldo's father, Giuseppe Domenico. Aldo has been gradually increasing the area under vine to 60 hectares, of which 10 are Nebbiolo for Barolo, located in such strategic spots as Bricco delle Viole, Fossati, La Volta and Coste di Vergne. A traditionalist, Aldo adheres to old-style winemaking methods, though blends these with new techniques, such as temperature controlled fermentation, to produce such superbly elegant wines.
The 'Bricco delle Viole' vineyard is located at altitudes of 380-470 metres above sea level in the commune of Barolo and covers 4.79 hectares. One part of the vineyard is planted with vines which are now over 60 years old and yield less than 30 hectolitres per hectare. Its high altitude and long ripening season gives the wine an aromatic complexity and richness that is lacking in lower vineyards.
In Piemonte, 2014 was a surprising year. It was cool and wet, so work in the vineyard was the key. Hail hit some vineyards and those who cropped too high or didn't work hard enough in the vineyard will have produced pretty poor wines. Those who did - including the team at GD Vajra - have made good wines with good colour and perfume and good levels of acidity.
Fermentation took place in stainless steel tanks at temperatures up to 31°C and lasted four weeks, with regular pumping over. The wine was then matured for 42-48 months in Slavonian oak barrels.
Brilliant ruby red, this Barolo has aromas of cherries, dark berries, violets and dried roses with nuances of citrus fruits and mint. On the palate, there are silky tannins. The wine is well balanced with a long delicately spiced finish.
Ths vineyard is situated in the western part of the Barolo area as the estate is located partly in the municipality of La Morra and partly in the municipality of Verduno. It is on the South-West and South-East facing slopes at an altitude of 350 m above sea level. Usual harvest time in the vineyard is between 15th and 30th September.
Fermentation takes place in stainless steel for about 6 days at 25°C. This preserves the delicate primary aromas of the grapes, giving the wine a fresh character.
This wine is ruby red in colour with violet nuances. It has a generous, persistent bouquet, with small red berries and cherry fruit nose. Round and persistent, the palate is well balanced. This is a harmonious, pleasant wine with great tipicity.
The 2015 vintage (no longer available) was awarded 92 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their May 2019 review of affordable Barolo alternatives (see blue link below).
This 23 hectare estate has been in the Massolino family since 1896. Since 1994 the style of the wines has undergone a subtle transformation. Winemaker Franco Massolino has done a wonderful job of marrying change with a respect for tradition, something that sets him apart from most of the younger producers in Barolo today. This is in part dictated by the nature of the vineyards that the Massolino family owns in the commune of Serralunga d'Alba - the source of some of the greatest, most structured, robust and long-lived Barolo wines.
The grapes for this wine came from several vineyards in Serralunga d'Alba, situated at 340 metres above sea level and covering 2.1 hectares. The vines are Guyot trained and are approximately 10-12 years old, planted at a density of 5,500 vines per hectare. Soils are mixed but predominantly limestone.
After 8-10 days of temperature-controlled fermentation (31-34ºC) in stainless-steel tanks, the wine was aged in traditional 'botti' or large casks for more than a year. Massolino's aim was to make an approachable style of Nebbiolo which can be enjoyed without overwhelming the drinker.
In the glass, this Nebbiolo has a ruby colour with a hint of purple. Notes of rose, raspberry and redcurrant are supported by cherry liqueur and subtle spices. On the palate, this wine shows gentle and elegant tannins, well balanced by bright acidity.
The 2013 vintage was awarded 92 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their Italy 2019 supplement as part of an article on Barbera (see blue link below).
A richly textured wine with nuances of coffee and chocolate together with red fruit flavours, elegant and beautifully balanced.
Michele Chiarlo is one of Piedmont's truly great winemakers. The family owns 60 hectares of vineyard in three of the classic growing areas - Langhe, Monferrato and Gavi and have access to a further 50 hectares through long-term relationships with their growers. Michele has insisted on total quality since his first vintage in 1956, an ethos which his sons Stefano and Alberto adopt today. The Chiarlo style is highly elegant, they make complex wines that can age for decades but above all reflect their provenance - some of the finest vineyard sites in Piedmont.
A not-excessively-cold winter, but heavy rain and snow created an abundant water reserve. A mild spring led into a warm summer with a complete absence of rain from mid-June until 10th August, which contributed to the grapes' perfect ripeness. September saw excellent diurnal temperature differences leading to the development of vibrant aromas and excellent phenological ripening of the red grapes. 2015 is being hailed as one of the greatest vintages of the last two decades.
The grapes come from the La Court vineyard. A prestigious site originating from the 1800s, the single parcel covers three hectares. The vineyard has a southeast to south western exposures at 240 metres above sea-level and produces very low yields. The vines are Guyot trained. The soils are designated as ‘Artisane Sands’ which consist of calcareous clay marl of sedimentary marine origin with high lime and sand content. They produce ample, intense and elegant wines with good structure and longevity. Manually harvested.
The grapes were fermented on the skins in 55 hectolitre oak barrels for 15 days at controlled temperatures of between 27° to 30°C. A gentle shower system of submerging the cap was used to extract flavour, colour and structure. Malolactic fermentation took place in stainless steel tanks. The wine was refined for 30 months. Oak maturation lasted for 12 months: 50% in 55 hectolitre French oak barrels and 50% in Allier oak barriques, followed by a further 18 months in bottle prior to release.
An appealing and structured wine, which is complex and elegant with layers of black cherry, cocoa and coffee. Harmoniously balanced, it has a velvety palate and a long, silky finish. Its richness and elegance places it amongst the finest wines in Chiarlo's portfolio.
It all started way back in 1886, when Paolo Conterno founded the Casa della Ginestra, dedicated to the production of Nebbiolo, Barbera and Dolcetto wines. An indefatigable worker with a mind of great intuition, he devoted the most favourable parts of the Ginestra hillside to the growing of the grapes, subdividing them by type, exposure and terrain. Furthermore, he had the foresight to predict the existence of a market of connoisseurs of superior quality products, selling his own wine in wooden kegs and produced by himself in his own cellar. Paolo was succeeded by his son Carlo and his wife Giuseppina. The company was subsequently run by Paolo and Caterina Conterno and today the company is managed by their son Giorgio.
This wine is 100% Nebbiolo.
To see an excellent information sheet and tasting note for this wine from the team at Paolo Contino, please click on the blue link below.
Prunotto was founded in 1904 by Alfredo Prunotto under the name Ai Vini delle Langhe. In 1989, the Marchesi Antinori family began its collaboration with the Prunotto Company, at first handling distribution and later getting directly involved in the production process, maintaining the excellent level of quality which Alfredo Prunotto had always insisted upon.
This wine comes from vineyards in the townships of Monforte, Castiglione Falletto, and Serralunga. The soils from the Tortonian-Messinian period - the so-called “Sant’Agata fossil marls” - are particularly rich in calcareous clays and elements such as magnesium and manganese.
The 2014 vintage, despite the fact that it was one of the most difficult in terms of the management of the vineyards due to adverse meteorological conditions, gave some pleasurable surprises in terms of the grapes which were fermented thanks to a favourable final phase of the growing season. An early spring favoured a precocious renewal of the vegetative activity of the vines compared to the preceding vintage, but a rainy summer (well above average levels) favored fungal attacks which compromised the quality of the grapes.
Both the month of September and the month of October were unquestionably positive from the climatic point of view, with useful temperature swings between daytime warmth and evening and nighttime coolness, assisting the ripening of the grapes and the completion of their physiological maturity. For the red grapes, the common factor was the elevated quantity both of colouring material and structuring elements, with wines which were highly coloured and vibrant in their acidity.
The selected grape bunches were destemmed and pressed. The fermentation with skin contact lasted a total of ten days at maximum temperatures of 30° centigrade (86° Fahrenheit). The malolactic fermentation terminated before the end of the winter. The wine ages for at least 18 months in French oak casks. A further period of bottle ageing in the Prunotto cellars preceded commercial release.
This wine was made using 100% Nebbiolo.
The Prunotto Barolo 2014 is garnet red in colour with ample and complex aromas of violets and berry fruit. It has a full and velvety flavour and is very well balanced. Its structure and body make it an ideal match for meat and game dishes and for cheese.
We'd not claim this is our finest Barolo... but it's a great-value approach to this enigmatic DOCG, with enough age to have cracked the wine for drinking now.
The name Riva Leone is taken from the name of a wine merchant from Alba in Northern Italy, who at the beginning of 20th century decided to bottle the wine that he sold on tap to his clients. The house portrayed in the label shows his shop in the countryside of Alba.
Italian classics such as Gavi and Barbera have been around for many a year, but the advent and uptake of modern winemaking techniques by producers such as Riva Leone is bringing these great wines to the attention of a whole new audience.
Produced and bottled in a state of the art winery in Priocco, Riva Leone is a fantastic example of modern Italian winemaking at its best.
See blue link below for a technical note on this wine.
Classic brick rimmed color, garnet robe of an aged Nebbiolo and abounds in rich, long lasting complex flavors. The bouquet shows aromas and flavors of tar, dried cherries, lemon herb soap, dark roasted nuts, eucalyptus leaf, and peony petals in syrup with a tannic, vibrant, dry-yet-fruity and smooth finish evoking accents of persimmon, artisan parchment and ink, toffee, and mineral notes with bold tannins and moderate oak flavor on the finish.