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There’s a wonderful thirst-quenching freshness to the 2016 Barbaresco’s. Albino Rocca has delivered up an excellent range. Today we offer 4 of their wines. The Barbaresco Normale, Cru Ovello Loreto, Cru Ronchi, and, their hommage to a lost patriarch ‘Angelo’.

Here we see 2 blends and 2 Cru’s including their best Cru Ronchi which rests adjacent to Rabajà! Let the debate begin: Single Vineyard vs Cru! Personally, as long as the wine stands on its own two feet in the glass I couldn’t care less. The risk of blending is only if it results in a confused wine. The risk of a single vineyard wine, that it is somehow less complete than the sum of the parts of a blend.

With these four all are delicious. Critic reviews are below. My thoughts:

2016 Barbaresco – Excellent together wine, brooding, impressive élévage offers a layered wine that is greater than the sum of it’s parts which sees fruit coming from all of the parcels held by Albino Rocca. Tasting the individual vineyard wines I could see Cottà adding richness, Ronchi, line & length, Meruzzano freshness & structure based on the similar soils to the Montersino Cru. All in all a very approachable, playful yet sophisticated wine with lovely layered tannins


2016 Barbaresco ‘Ovello Vigna Loreto’ has a generosity and delicacy about it. A real elegance and fine tannins. This shows the beauty of the Ovello Cru. Cooler and more feminine than some of the warm sites.


2016 Barbaresco ‘Ronchi’ – Wow! Tagged as the best holding of the estate you can see why! Sitting below Montestefano and next to Rabajà Bas this is prime real estate. The cooler South-East facing aspect compared with Cottà South-West aspect offers up a cool freshness to the wine. The line and length of fruit and tannin is impressive. If you think the Barbaresco Normale is layerd, Ronchi steps up the ladder around 3 rungs! The darkness to the wine has a perfect foil in the energy and delicious acidity. Underlying perfume, slat, and liquorice adding complexity. Exceptional gear from 50-70 year old vines.


2016 Barbaresco ‘Angelo’ – In hommage to Angelo this goes back to his father’s days when blending was the norm. With only 2,000 bottles made, it is a blend of the very best parts of Ronchi 50%, Ovello ‘Loreto’ 25% and Montersino 25%. A truly beautiful blend. The gentle fruit handling and longer maceration or lunga macerazione (55 days here) has yielded a lovely perfume, a savoury core of fruit with delicacy and persistence. The tannins are wonderful. There’s a little truffle, a little liquorice, a little of lots of things coming to play. This is a wine worthy of being a hommage! Each parcel is picked separately, 3-4 days apart, and added to the same open wooden fermenter.


About Albino Rocca

It’s easy to forget that Nebbiolo, produced from great sites and mature vines can be a wickedly seductive wine to drink young. The late Angelo Rocca was a master at reminding us of this fact. His wines – and now those of this daughters – are plump, textural, seductive Barbaresco’s that are surprisingly forward yet clearly have the stuffing and powdery tannins to age. All of the Rocca wines are from Estate vineyards and all are grown 100 percent within the boundaries of the Barbaresco region (even the Dolcetto, Barbera, Nebbiolo d’Alba and Moscato!).

When Angelo Rocca tragically passed away in 2012 in a light plane accident, Barbaresco lost one of its most distinguished growers. It also lost a wonderful person and a deeply respected member of the Piemontese community. Rocca was a grower operating at the peak of his powers and producing the most exciting, terroir-intense wines of his career. His three daughters (Daniela, Monica and Paola) along with Angelo’s cellarmaster (and son-in-law) Carlo are determined to continue this legacy and so far they have not missed a beat.

The Rocca’s efforts to continually improve the quality of all of their Estate’s wines, has resulted in some superb offerings over the last few vintages. All of the wines are aged in large, neutral botti and remain contemporary in the sense that they are ripe, pure and meticulously made, but instead of any distracting new oak character you have solely the wonderful dark cherry, floral and savoury structured personality of Nebbiolo in all its Piemontese glory. Albino Rocca’s wines are not only outstanding examples of Barbaresco writ large, they are also very fairly priced.


“Paola, Monica and Daniela Rocca have unhesitatingly taken up the winemaking and moral legacy of their father Angelo following since his untimely death in 2012. They now continue with the story that won many fans thanks to above all to the happy combination of courteous affability permeating the Ronchi farm and the appealing, well-measured pace of the Estate’s Barbarescos.” Gambero Rosso 2015

“Albino Rocca is one of the most intriguing estates in Barbaresco right now.” Antonio Galloni, vinous.com


In the Vineyard

We didn’t discuss much about what’s happening in the vineyards. The pic’s of their vines look pretty. Anyways, what’s in the glass tastes delicious!

In the Winery

They keep it really simple. There’s been a shift toward oak Tine (open fermenters) from stainless. They’ve always used large oak botti for maturation from Stockinger. Occasionally when a new one is introduced and little oak lift may be evident, as if the case with the Cottà from 2016. Macertions show thought and good touch making wines with excellent mouthfeel.

The Creation of ‘Angelo’

Following the premature death of Angelo in a plane crash, a special wine was created in his name. This is its story.

The 2016 Vintage at Albino Rocca

2016 has come at just the right time. We have a number of winemakers with incredible experience and wine wisdom. The vineyards in Barbaresco & Barolo are in the best condition they’ve been in with incredible detail going into their care.

Combined we have a situation where vignerons are in the best possible position to make the most of the great fruit yielded by the 2016 harvest!

When you compare the 2015 & 2016 vintages you see the difference between a warmer vintage with a shorter ripening period and a cooler one with the longest ripening period in memory.

Nebbiolo responds beautifully to a cooler longer ripening. Once it reaches sugar level high enough to make a wine around 14-14.5% alcohol the sugar levels stop increasing, it tends to hold its acid and the tannins so important to the insane mouthfeel of Nebbiolo ripen and increase in depth.

Such vintages tend to offer wines with more perfume, energy, and, vitality.

Where in the World is Albino Rocca

Albino Rocca’s Barbaresco Vineyards are in the Crus of Montersino in the far South, Ovello on the north resting on the banks of the Tanaro, in Ronchi facing the cooler South East adjacent to Rabaja Bas, and, Cotta facing South West opposite Ronchi and Rabaja. They also have holdings in the Roero for their Langhe Nebbiolo and Alba right next to Barbaresco for their Nebbiolo d’Alba.

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About the Wines

2016 Barbaresco

In addition to its classic source–a parcel of old vines in Meruzzano–Rocca’s Barbaresco now takes in young vine fruit from three Barbaresco cru parcels: Ovello, Ronchi and Cottà, the latter rooted in the sandy soils of Neive. Since 2010, the Rocca’s decision to allow a much longer maceration (now three weeks on skins), and to mature their wines exclusively in large Stockinger botti has paid obvious dividends, as has the choice to take the wines out of wood after 20 months (previously 24).

92 Points

The 2016 Barbaresco is a gorgeous entry-level wine in this range. Dark and fleshy, the 2016 offers terrific depth as well as plenty of character, which is great to see in its peer group. Black cherry, plum, mocha, leather, spice and licorice all meld together. One of the more open wines in the range, the Barbaresco will also give readers an idea of what to expect. This is an absolutely delicious wine in its peer group and price range. The straight Barbaresco is a blend from Meruzzano and young vine fruit from Ronchi.

Antonio Galloni

95 Points

I tasted through all the 2016 Barbaresco wines from Albino Rocca yesterday, and this, the least expensive, was one of my two favourite wines (the other was Ovello). It’s a blend of old vines from Meruzzano (Alba), Ovello & Ronchi (Barbaresco) and Cottà (Neive).

Such high perfume and expression of Barbaresco in a top vintage we have here. Greets you with light touch, raspberry, almond meal, liquorice root. Softness, red fruits of clarity and vibrance, fine powdery tannin set through its core, a quiet succulence and good length. Fragrance and spice in aftertaste. So lovely. 94 points easy, maybe 95. Why not eh?

Gary Walsh

2016 Barbaresco Ovello Vigna LoretoThe Loreto vineyard is located on the west side of the Geographical Mention “Ovello”, in the heart of the historic area of Barbaresco. Vinified separately for the first time in the 1980’s tells another story of Barbaresco, first a wine full of harmony accompanied by intensity, structure and warmth. Barbaresco’s Ovello cru spans a ridge, with both slopes of the crest planted to vines. Within this large cru there are several delimited parcels of vines, of which Rocca’s ‘Vigna Loreto’ is one. It is a tiny plot that is effectively what we would call a monopole. Although this plot sits on the sunnier, southwestern face of the ridge, it also directly faces the cooling influence of the Tanaro river, so the nights here are much cooler. Clay and limestone soils here are also more sandy and light than the rest of Ovello, giving wines of far more finesse. On the other hand, vines from Loreto must be cropped at 10 hl/hl less than other Ovello vines (if it is to be bottled under the Loreto name), so the Rocca wine, by comparison, is no shrinking violet, gifting a wine that is typically more supple and textural than the Rocca’s nearby Ronchi cru and certainly denser than the Montersino cru. Rocca’s vines here are around 45 years old and the fruit was first vinified as a separate bottling in 1980. Today the Ovello cru makes roughly 200 cases in a typical year.

The Loreto vineyard is located on the west side of the Geographical Mention “Ovello”, in the heart of the historic area of Barbaresco. Vinified separately for the first time in the 1980’s tells another story of Barbaresco, first a wine full of harmony accompanied by intensity, structure and warmth.

Barbaresco’s Ovello cru spans a ridge, with both slopes of the crest planted to vines. Within this large cru there are several delimited parcels of vines, of which Rocca’s ‘Vigna Loreto’ is one. It is a tiny plot that is effectively what we would call a monopole. Although this plot sits on the sunnier, southwestern face of the ridge, it also directly faces the cooling influence of the Tanaro river, so the nights here are much cooler. Clay and limestone soils here are also more sandy and light than the rest of Ovello, giving wines of far more finesse. On the other hand, vines from Loreto must be cropped at 10 hl/hl less than other Ovello vines (if it is to be bottled under the Loreto name), so the Rocca wine, by comparison, is no shrinking violet, gifting a wine that is typically more supple and textural than the Rocca’s nearby Ronchi cru and certainly denser than the Montersino cru. Rocca’s vines here are around 45 years old and the fruit was first vinified as a separate bottling in 1980. Today the Ovello cru makes roughly 200 cases in a typical year.

95 Points

A wine of density and power, the 2016 Barbaresco Ovello Vigna Loreto is marked by its vertical build and overall sense of structure. Dense and pliant in its first impression, the 2016 has plenty of muscle lying in the background. Iron, smoke, wild berry, hard candy, spice and sweet floral notes all develop. Time in the glass brings out a more aromatic side of the wine's personality to complete things very nicely. The incisive Ovello tannins naturally need time to soften, but all the elements are in the right place.

Antonio Galloni

96 Points

Enticing aromas of star anise, blue flower, wild berry, menthol and a whiff of new leather all come together on this gorgeous elegantly structured red. The full-bodied creamy palate doles out ripe Marasca cherry, raspberry compote, baking spice, licorice and tobacco framed in fine-grained tannins that offer seamless support. It's balanced, with fresh acidity. Drink 2022–2035.

Kerin O'Keefe

96 Points

We had a bottle of this last September, at the wonderful Armando al Pantheon, and I loved it. I tasted it again yesterday at a very well run trade event, and loved it again, though might I say, tiny pours of Nebbiolo don’t really work very well for me, or indeed any red wine. I’m not sure if it’s a limitation on my part, with regards to tasting ability, but I like some volume in the glass to get a good whiff, and also to swill it around my mouth in equal quantity, then come back to it a little later. As a result, when greeted with a tiny glass of something, I give it a good sniff, then throw the lot into my mouth, and spit or swallow as the impulse takes me. So I’m a one hit wonder with regards to this tasting.

Spiced cherry, flowers, succulence, pure red fruit and subtle earthy flavours, delicious tannin falls like snow on a window sill, long too, with tannin pushing it out and promising a big future. Just lovely. So classic.

Gary Walsh

2016 Barbaresco Ronchi


Ronchi vineyard is the Cru that best represents our winery. Our winery is located on the top of this vineyard.
Ronchi is the oldest and largest part of our estate extending almost 3 hectars with excellent south – east exposure with limestone and clay soil rich in minerals and stratified with layers of “tufo”. It was planted over 50 years ago with some vines over 70 years old.
This vineyard has the ideal combination of age, soil characteristics and exposure and produces wines with rich aromas, excellent structure, complexity and longevity.
Our Barbaresco Ronchi is aged 20 months in 20-hectoliter Austrian and German oak barrels.
Barbaresco Riserva Ronchi is also produced from this vineyard with a very limited production and is made exclusively in the best years.

This famous, limestone-rich, Barbaresco cru runs along the southern belt of the appellation, near the town itself. The Rocca cellars are located just above this southeast-facing vineyard, one of the reasons the site has become synonymous with the name Albino Rocca. The Ronchi is also the oldest and largest holding of the Estate, extending to almost six hectares (three in Nebbiolo)–roughly a third of the total area of the cru. The Rocca’s Nebbiolo vines here are now aged between 50 and 70 years and the wines they are producing is something to behold. The quality makes sense–this is a vineyard that offers an ideal combination of vine age, deep clay and limestone soils and superb exposure (all southeast). It’s no surprise that it consistently produces some of the greatest wines of Barbaresco; wildly aromatic wines, rich in complexity and structure.

95 Points

The 2016 Barbaresco Ronchi brings together all the Albino Rocca signatures in a deep, fleshy wine loaded with personality. Sweet black cherry, plum, leather and spice all infuse this sumptuous, creamy Barbaresco with a good bit of richness to play off the tannins that lurk beneath. The 2016 carries its power with remarkable grace and balance. Orange peel, mint, sweet red cherry, spice and crushed flowers linger in a gorgeous Barbaresco that is at once translucent, powerful and deep.

Antonio Galloni

96 Points

Forest floor, new leather, underbrush and eucalyptus aromas mingle with a whiff of peppercorn. On the full-bodied, focused palate, tightly knit, noble tannins and bright acidity frame juicy Morello cherry, licorice, tobacco and a hint of truffle. Drink 2026–2036.

Kerin O'Keefe

94 Points

Boysenberries, cherry tart, blueberries and lavender introduce a very floral bouquet. Despite the initial, fragrant impression, this Barbaresco is deadly serious, coating the full-bodied palate in layers of structured tannins. Impressive, contrastive wine. Drink from 2024.

James Suckling

2016 Barbaresco 'Angelo'


“Angelo” is a special Barbaresco to our family, one in which we have dedicated in memory to our father Angelo. We first started to produce this wine in 2013 with the assembly of grapes produced in the many Nebbiolo vineyards cultivated in Barbaresco and San Rocco Seno d’Elvio. The vinification happens in a vertical oak fermenter, and will undergo an extended maceration with a submerged cap for a futher 50 days. This process will generate a traditional, rich and pleasant wine.

It was the idea of Albino Rocca (Angelo’s father) to vinify a selection of each Barbaresco Cru together to create this homage to his son, Angelo Rocca, the much-loved patriarch of the Estate who passed too early, before his own father. Simply put, Angelo is a small blend of fruit from selected parcels across the Estate, (but mostly Ronchi), that is given a lunga macerazione (55 days on skins using a submerged cap) in a single, large-format, specially designed, Stockinger wooden fermenter, and then aged for 24 months in one large Stockinger 1,000-litre cask. The 2015 is just the third release of this wine, and it’s a blend of 50% Ronchi, 25% Loreto and 25% Montersino. Having now tasted five vintages of this wine from bottle and cask, we have no hesitation in stating that it is already a true benchmark of the region. There is something old school that the long maceration has brought, something indescribably complex too, yet the wine is also magically fresh, pure and fine. It has been described by Galloni as a “Brunate of Barbaresco”, which gives you some insight into the quality on offer here.

97 Points

Cherry, kirsch and peony aromas and flavours are the main features fo this delicate red. These themes are accented by tar, tobacco and underbrush notes, showing an underpinning of mineral as this builds to a long finish. Beuatifully balanced, with white pepper aftertaste. Feb 29, 2020

Wine Spectator

96 Points

Rose petal, iris, dark-skinned berry and spice aromas mingle with balsamic notes of camphor on this fragrant, stunning red. Elegantly structured, the precise palate evokes cranberry, Marasca cherry, star anise and thyme set against tightly knit but refined tannins and bright acidity. It's a quintessential Barbaresco, with fantastic tension. Drink 2024–2036.

Kerin O'Keefe

94+ Points

The 2016 Barbaresco Angelo, the estate's top bottling, is a blend of 50% Ronchi, 25% Montersino and 25% Loreto, done entirely in cask. Reticent at first, the 2016 needs several hours of air to start opening up. A super-classic expression of Nebbiolo follows, with hints of menthol, leather, iron, violet spice and licorice that develop later. The 2016 remains a wine of fascinating contrasts. It is at times light on its feet, while at other moments it comes across as much more powerful.

Antonio Galloni

94 Points

Crystal-clear purity of fruit with everything ranging from rose petals to strawberries to dried cherries. Elegant and graceful, yet at the same time strong and strapping, this full-bodied Barbaresco zips with agile acidity through muscular tannins and deepness of flavor like a well-built athlete skating on ice. Drink from 2022.

James Suckling