“Tasting Report: Roero – beauty and the beast
It must be hard sometimes to look longingly across the river Tanaro towards the prosperous hills of Barbaresco and Barolo – but then somebody has to take responsibility for making crisp white wine to drink before (and possibly after) those majestic nebbiolo reds.
But whilst the Roero region is unequivocally committed to the production of white Roero Arneis (my two favorites being Vietti and Giacosa), there is a steadily improving offering of Roero Rosso, which the DOCG stipulates must contain a minimum of 95% of nebbiolo.
The Roero region is beautiful and the sandy soils combine with well-exposed, south-facing slopes to produce nebbiolo that is fragrant, fine and more lightly structured than the neighboring Barolo and Barbaresco areas. At their best, these are among the best-value reds made anywhere in Italy.
Among the 200-odd hectares in Roero planted to nebbiolo, the best wines are those that allow the terroir to dictate the agenda of the style. At their best they are alluringly fragrant and sweetly perfumed, nurturing nebbiolo’s aromatic charm.
And where ambition is often a source of improved quality, driven from both the vineyard and the winery, there is the odd case where ambition outstrips the real potential of the wine – oak being the main offender. Producers need to trust in their own terroir, realise that the style of nebbiolo in Roero is a thing of genuine beauty and work with an eye on precision and elegance.
These notes are from my tastings at the recent Nebbiolo Prima in Alba.
COUNTRY – Italy
REGION – Piedmont
VINTAGE – 2011
SCORE – 90
Crushed roses intermingled with baking spices, tarry notes, earth and dark cherries. The palate delivers herb-soaked dark cherry flavors, a layer of spices and ripe, open-knit tannins.”