Roberto Voerzio says his 2014 Barolo wines will be extraordinary, but, will require patience! The yields are around 50% of an average vintage, due to the cool, wet spring (flowering) and then a hailstorm in June. Hail so early in the season did not affect the quality, however Roberto’s already very low yields were decimated. The excellent conditions in September allowed the Nebbiolo vineyards to ripen perfectly, resulting in elegant and long-lived wines with excellent acidity and complexity of aroma and flavour. Reminiscent, Roberto says, of his Barolos from 1992, 1993 and 1994, which, at the time, were not considered great vintages, but which now are looking amazing!
Roberto and Davide are also releasing their 2013 Barolo Torriglione Riserva declaring 2013 as one of their best vintages to date, and comparable stylistically to 1999.
Last, but, by no means least we have the 2008 10 Anni Riserva Fossati Case Nere Barolo – the 2008s on release were strikingly fruit rich, structured and dense. The Riserva with 10 years of age on it already, have become beautifully silken, and are outstanding value with an additional 6 years of age on it compared to the current release. It’s from 2 vineyards Fossati and Case Nere, they attached to the La Serra and Cerquio vineyards. This additional time is spent in bottle not oak. So, the wine doesn’t see any extra wood, just time in the cellar. This takes it into the window I like drinking Barolo in 10-20 years of age.
About Roberto Voerzio
I had the great pleasure of spending a few hours with Roberto Voerzio tasting through his entire range at the end of 2015. He speaks little English and my Italian is average. Together we spoke enough French to open a revealing dialogue. In many ways he reminded me of Doc. from Yarra Yering. Take a look at the footage from this rare opportunity in the Wine Bites Mag – Roberto Voerzio Winemaker Session. It covers his 2011 Baroli and 2004 Barbera and Riserva. Roberto discusses the vineyards for each wine, his viticultural and winemaking philosophies, the controversies of modernist vs traditionalist winemaking in Barolo and much more.
Extreme passion and dedication to quality.
In the Vineyard
Constantly pushing to grow better grapes and make better wine. Seeking harmony, sophistication, purity, layers and layers of aroma and flavour. His vineyards are tended as though they were his children. Yields are minuscule. He works to drive the roots of his vines deep into the ground, and, feeds them with compost, according to each vines individual need, rather than applying chemical fertiliser. You can see the mid-row trenching and composting below. With great pride, he holds tiny bunches of Nebbiolo destined for his Barolo.
In addition to making his beautiful, sophisticated Baroli he makes stunning Dolcetto and Barbera. In fact his Barbera has been wine of the night on several occassions at Piedmonte themed wine sessions. Roberto’s top Barbera, the Barbera d’Alba Riserva Pozzo Annunziata La Morra is only available in magnum, this is how Roberto believes it should be drunk. “I’m bottling it in a magnum, because this a Barbera for an occassion.” Let’s face it magnums are more fun! Unlike many growers who replanted prime vineyards from Barbera to Nebbiolo, Roberto has kept his planting of Barbera in some of his best sites. It’s planted to a high density, with 4 canes in a goblet.
After bunch thinning early in the season and removal of the lower portion of the bunches later in the season, each vine yields around 500g per vine.
Follow the links if you’d like to try Roberto’s Dolcetto, Barbera, and, Langhe Nebbiolo. You can read all about each of the varieties and how they compare in our Compare & Contrast Wine Bite: “Roberto Voerzio’s Wine School”
Tips for Drinking these Wines
🌡Temp: 16°C. We tend to drink reds an edge warm. There’s nothing wrong with chucking the bottles in the fridge for 15minutes to drop a few degrees off them. If they end up too cold they’ll warm up quickly in the glass.
🍷Decanting: All of these wines will benefit from being thrown in a decanter, particularly in their youth. If you’re using a Coravin or other wine preserver, pour enough into each glass to be able to try them over the course of several hours. These young reds will open up and be more expressive with a bit of time in the glass.
⏳Time: I love trying good wines stand alone, with food, and, often the next day. It gives them the chance to shine and ensures you don’t miss a good wine through impatience or fail to bring out it’s best by not marrying them to food.
🕯Cellaring: Barolo 8 years from the vintage up to 20 years.
🥩🍝🍕🍳Food Match: Just think Piedmontese, braises, rich tomato based ragù, truffles, beef, quail, lamb, wild boar, rabbit. Beef carpaccio with egg yolk and truffle oil! Head south and pair it with a pizza and you’ll go to a happy place. They make for excellent BBQ wines too.
The Best 2 Options for Preserving your Wine:
- Grab a Coravin wine preserver.
- Watch this video, “Stop the Wine-ocide” Kaani 2012 – My Deep Dark Secret, one of my first, about saving open bottles of wine from the drain, sorry about the quality, but, the message is still there.
Nebbiolo, pronounced NEH-bee-oh-low, is such a unique variety. The name is derived from the Italian word Nebbia meaning fog. To theories for the name exist. The first that it refers to the fog that the vineyards of the Langhe are often immersed in. Second that the natural bloom that covers the grapes gives them a foggy appearance. Given the latter applies to most red grapes I prefer the former! There are 4 main clones of which Nebbiolo Lampia dominates over Nebbiolo Michet, Rosé (now proven to be a different variety), and, Bolla.
Where is it grown?
Southern central and north Piemonte: Langhe including Verduno, Roero, Ast, Carema, Biella, Novara and Vercelli. It is also grown in the lower parts of the Valle d’Aosta where it is known as Picotendroi, and, Lombardy amongst others.
What does it taste like?
The ultimate case of not judging a book by its cover, Nebbiolo, at first appears pale in colour, old wines can have the appearance of rusty tap water.
Then you smell it! The aroma of most red wines is dominated by fruit characters. In contrast, Nebbiolo’s aroma is typically a mix of complex secondary aroma, earthy, tary, spice, rose, citrus peel, woody herbs like rosemary, liquorice, phenol, dark chocolate, tabacco, truffles, leather, and, dark cherry fruit, often more evident on the palate. You’ll see this difference immediately comparing the Barbera and Dolcetto in this trilogy.
Good Nebbiolo has a core of fruit running the length of your tongue, along with layers of those same secondary characters. Nebbiolo’s grape tannins give it a distinct texture, that for those who have not tried it before can seem hard, and, unyielding. Look for the quality and depth of tannin.
Achieving well balance tannin, alcohol, and, acidity makes for great Nebbiolo.
More than most other Italian wines, Nebbiolo, demands food to be at it’s best. A little fat and salt, enhance the texture and bring out the flavours.
Where in the World do Voerzio’s Wines Come From?
Voerzio’s vineyards are in the communes of La Morra and La Serra withing greater Barolo.
The 2013 Vintage
Roberto Voerzio says “2013 must be considered among the excellent vintages”. He adds” The wines of this harvest are very rich in all aspects: the colour, the smell, the taste and the body. They are complex, with very velvety and silky tannins, and we could compare them to the harvest 1999, and we rate it personally at 97-99/100.”
The 2014 Vintage
Roberto Voerzio’s 2014 Barolos are gorgeous. The cool vintage and Voerzio’s own move toward a more restrained style have resulted in a set of barolos that speak more to nuance than the sheer textural lushness readers have come to expect. But Barolo doesn’t need power or huge fruit to develop well in bottle, as Voerzio proved many years ago with his 1991s and 1992s.
From James Suckling:
I honestly didn’t think it was possible for 2014 to produce so many outstanding bottles of Barolo. Granted that it didn’t perform like recent top vintages, such as 2010 to 2013, in the market but it did make some solid and delicious bottles despite the climate difficulties.
The problem with the vintage 2014 was the cold and wet growing season in the summer, particularly July. I remember being in Barolo and Barbaresco in mid-July, and the weather was cold and rainy. The weather problems were almost biblical in nature with flash floods and hail storms. One storm even took the paint off my car!
James and Bruna Giacosa of Bruno Giacosa, from the village Neive in the Langhe region. Bruno Giacosa is one of the leading producers of Barbaresco and Barolo wines.
Nevertheless, it was amazing to see what the Barolo producers have bottled in 2014. Some say it is an exceptional vintage. And rumors have it that the legendary winery Giacomo Conterno is bottling all of its production from 2014 as his coveted Barolo Monfortino. “It’s an excellent year,” says Bruna Giacosa, head of the revered Barolo family. “We made fantastic wines.”
Indeed, if I had just judged the vintage on the wines of the top producers — such as Conterno (Giacomo and Aldo), Roberto Vorezio, Bruno Giacosa, Pio Cesare and Paolo Scavino — I would say that it was another excellent year. However, generally speaking, the Barolos made in 2014 are scored two to three points less than the same wines in a more highly reputed year.
The 2008 Vintage
Over the last 12 months, I’ve had the great fortune to try an array of top end Barolo from 2008. Often the passage of time is required to truly guage the quality of a vintage. After all, these wines are built to spend time in bottle. The wines of Giacomo Conterno & Mascarello were both spectacular with excellent fruit density, balance, poise and harmony. A common thread amongst the 2008’s I’ve devoured.
Your tongue will thank you!
*Wines are offered Pre-Arrival. 50% payment due on allocation in early April, balance on delivery in early July.