I admit, a tour of all the producers of Barbaresco I miss it, even though I know those produced by some small companies that are still able to excite me. For this, when Babol Communication invited me to the Piedmontese press tour organized by Pellegrini SpA, a Bergamo-based distributor of high quality wines and spirits, I was really happy! I consider it a beautiful start to approach this fantastic enological reality among the Piedmontese wines! In particular we had the opportunity to visit the company of Bruno roca guided by his fabulous daughter Luisa… And it was nice to see such a close-knit father and daughter… it reminded me so much of my relationship with my beloved dad who recently passed away. Seeing them made me reflect how much a child is the luck of a parent and a parent the luck of a child, if he is able to give him everything he has built and, at the same time, teach him to walk on his own legs. Luisa made a really good impression on me: she is a capable girl, a brand ambassador of those that are really important in a company and that make a difference both in relations with the press and in B2B and B2C relations. I would have literally listened to it for hours!
We waited for Luisa to arrive in a splendid panoramic terrace overlooking the sea Barbaresco vineyards. Of course Langhe they are just magical! Bruno Rocca's terrace is spectacular and my heart as an interior designer imagined it in a succession of styles, from country chic to industrial! What splendid receptions could be held in a place like this! After all, the Bruno Rocca cellar is of rare beauty, all the architectural spaces are designed with style and precision. The architect was really great!
The Bruno Rocca winery owns 15 hectares of vineyard owned and produces 75.000 bottles every year, of which half of Nebbiolo. 60% of production is destined for the export market and the company is distributed mainly in Australia, Japan, Switzerland and the UK, but also in the United States, in particular in California, Texas, New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia. The 40% of production is destined for the Italian market and is entirely distributed by Pellegrini.
In the company there are no external consultants: Luisa's brother, Francesco, is a winemaker and with his dad Bruno they take care of everything!
Then I want to underline the cleanliness and order that exists everywhere, even in the work spaces and with the people who work. Personally, I firmly believe that cleanliness itself is synonymous with quality, and France teaches about this. I have toured in wineries all over the world and wherever I have found this management of spaces I have always drank very well!
Particularly the destemmer, a great investment made in 2012 that works the bunches vertically. The clusters arrive from the top and the grape is gently removed thanks to the vibrations, in this way the skin is preserved 100%. Furthermore, working in vibration, only perfectly ripe grapes are detached. Luisa opens the car: there are no motors inside. His brother punctured the machine to put a cannula into which nitrogen is injected: in this way, no sulphites are added at this stage of work. For the reserves there is not even the pressing, also because the Nebbiolo has a thin and delicate skin that breaks by itself during the "journey" to the wooden vat. All the yeasts used are indigenous. Each particle is vinified separately, each cru with its yeast. Well, I really liked this too!
The Rocca family is certainly in the municipality of Barbaresco at least since the 1834, the year in which Francesco was born, a farmer owner of houses, sites, vineyards and gorreti, all located in the municipal area. However, it is only around the mid-1900s that the name of the Rocca family is inextricably linked to the name of the most famous cru of these hills: the Rabajà. As you probably know, Barbaresco has always been considered the somewhat unlucky cousin of Barolo ... you know that guy who is always at the back in the class, with glasses at the bottom of a bottle and a long greasy hair ... almost. Add that 60 years ago it was not cool to make wine (And being a chef? Today they are as coveted stars as Hollywood actors, but do you remember them as they were considered the old cooks? A lot of effort and little celebrity!)! Luisa's grandparents lived next to the church… in short, in the town center! Grandfather cultivated two fields outside and dreamed of buying a house next to his land to be more comfortable. Now, 1 km with today's vehicles seems really nothing ... but 60 years ago to live outside the village in a place labeled by Montale himself as a "place of misery" certainly did not fight! And this is how the family moves, even with father Bruno born in 1951 and still very young. The grandfather has a great intuition: if he chooses the best soils, he will never have difficulty selling the grapes he produces. And this is how he buys an exceptional land: the Rabajà cru. But grandfather's prospects don't stop there: dad Bruno has to study, and he has to study something that guarantees him a solid future. For this he has to choose between medicine and accounting (to be a bank employee). His father chose accountancy, but already as a young man he had a passion for the vineyard and the cellar. Certainly the diploma helped him to find a job, and not just any job: Bruno Rocca in the 80s headed a small department in the marketing office of Ferrero, despite having no idea what he should do. The famous excellent job in which his grandfather hoped, which guaranteed him 150 million lire a year… a really big figure for the time! Each year he invested part of his earnings in a piece of cellar or in a piece of vineyard… until 1978, when he produced the first wine under his family name. Bruno Rocca certainly couldn't go to his neighbors in Barolo to learn how to make wine, so he decided to make the first trip to Burgundy. At that time his worry was the fermentation phase. On one of his trips he meets the tonnelier of Romanée-Conti and comes home with two barriques. Until the 90s it was possible to give even only partially their grapes to the Barbaresco Producers, but today the suppliers, in order to avoid delivering only the lower quality grapes, are obliged to give their entire production. So in 1994 Bruno Rocca leaves his place to Ferrero and starts "getting serious" in the world of wine. The result? A French barbaresco that, although it may not excite everyone, surely surprises for its perfection and its qualitative greatness.
And now it's time to talk about my tastings!
Barbaresco DOCG 2016 - bruno rocca
[starting from 39 €]
100% Nebbiolo produced with grapes from the younger vines in the municipality of Neive, Cru San Cristoforo, Marcorino and Fausoni. The soil is mixed tuffaceous / clayey with some veins of sand. The vinification takes place in stainless steel for 20-25 days approx. Later it matures 18 months in French oak barrels.
👁 Intense transparent ruby red. Consistent, it forms close and very regular arches at the edges.
👃 Delicate and complex, with notes of rose flowers, black and white pepper, violet, earth, powdered coffee, graphite.
👄 Very rough, you feel that it is "infanticide" to drink it right now. Very fresh and with a slightly green tannin that still needs to be softened, it has different vegetal nuances. Long.
🔥 Wine made extremely well, certainly will be really enjoyable between at least 4-5 years.
“Currà” 2015, Barbaresco docg - bruno rocca
[starting from 77 €]
100% Nebbiolo produced with grapes from the Cru Currà, in the municipality of Neive. The soil is calcareous-clayey with Sant'Agata marl and sandstone rubble. The vinification takes place in stainless steel for 20-25 days approx. Later it matures 12 months in barriques and 12 months in large barrels, both of French oak.
👁 Intense and transparent ruby red, it forms very close and very regular arches where the alcohol drops very slowly.
👃 Delicate and very elegant, with notes of fresh strawberry, white pepper, milk chocolate, fresh hazelnut, violet, graphite, ground coffee, tuff.
👄 Wide, very fresh, with still green tannins that need to blend. Long fruity finish.
🔥 Surely it is an infanticide to drink it now, but it has great potential for evolution.
“Currà reserve” 2013, Barbaresco docg reserve - bruno rocca
[starting from 136 €]
100% Nebbiolo produced with grapes from the Cru Currà, in the municipality of Neive. The soil is calcareous-clayey with Sant'Agata marl and sandstone rubble. The vinification takes place in wooden vats for 25/28 days. Subsequently it ages from 24 to 36 months in French oak barrels.
👁 Ruby red with garnet hues, transparent and always very consistent.
👃 Very elegant and very delicate. Delicious evolved notes, in which I recognize pink pepper, dark chocolate, sour cherry, dry hay, Jamaican tobacco leaves, candied pear, toasted hazelnuts.
👄 Enter elegant, once again moved to the hardness with a tannin better blended than the Currà 2015, but still a little green. However, the pseudocaloric is very well measured, even with its large structure. The spicy finish is long.
🔥 Overall more delicate than Rabajà Riserva. Compared to the Currà 2015 it has kept the green tannin, but it has however rounded off a little. It is more closed and less ready than the Rabajà Riserva and it is necessary to understand how it will evolve. However it has a beautiful drinkability. It has lost its distinctive fruity notes due to spicy, vegetal and dry floral notes.
“Rabajà” 2015, Barbaresco docg - bruno rocca
[starting from 77 €]
100% Nebbiolo produced with grapes from the Rabajà cru in the municipality of Barbaresco. The soil is mixed clayey-tuff and sandy. The average age of the plants varies from 35 to 40 years. The vinification takes place in stainless steel for 7-10 days approx. Later it matures 12 months in French oak barrels, 80% new and 20% second pass.
👁 Intense ruby red and slightly more concentrated. Transparent, it seems slightly less consistent
👃 More intense than the Currà 2015. Masculine and strong notes, with an imprint of black pepper and undergrowth. Marasca cherries in spirit, wet bark, acid peat of wet sphagnum, candied chinotto.
👄 Intense, soft, very balanced, with a well-blended tannin. In the mouth it is very pleasant. Not particularly long, but very spicy. Great drink.
🔥 I found it more intense and more balanced than the 2015 Currà, in particular the tannin I found better blended convinced me. It loses a bit the finish in length compared to the 2015 Currà, but overall it is much more enjoyable!
“Rabajà reserve” 2013, barbaresco docg - bruno rocca
[starting from 136 €]
100% Nebbiolo produced with grapes from the Rabajà cru in the municipality of Barbaresco. The soil is mixed clayey-tuff and sandy. The average age of the plants varies from 35 to 40 years. The vinification takes place in wooden vats for 25/28 days. Subsequently it ages from 24 to 36 months in French oak barrels.
👁 Intense ruby red and more concentrated than the Currà Riserva.
👃 Delicate and elegant, with earthy notes always present, but finer than the 2015 Rabajà. I was struck by the particular smoky note that is distinctly felt, very pleasant. It also reminded me of rosemary. Then there are notes of black pepper "Seichuan gold", licorice, graphite, porcini mushroom, white truffle, 100% dark chocolate criollo and a delicious balsamic finish.
👄 It has a beautiful balance between softness and hardness. The protagonist, in addition to the important but amalgamated tannins, is the extraordinary flavor. Very long vegetal notes, important structure.
🔥 It reminded me of a pretty young Chateau Margaux that I drank during the wonderful lunch in the kitchen with the castle fireplace in April 2017. Definitely the best tasting wine!
What wines out of the ordinary, but above all what precision of execution!
Heartfelt thanks and cheers! 😍
PS Thanks once again to Sony Italia for the wonderful RX100M4 which allowed me to take beautiful photos in the cellar even in low light and without flash!