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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.