• Time Turned Back: Roagna Barolo & Barbaresco
    Time Turned Back: Roagna Barolo & Barbaresco
    At Roagna, throwback methods on vinification and aging meet modern sophistication of grace and translucency. Articulating how Luca Roagna's wines deviate from other names in the unanimous top tier of Piedmont can be challenging. But, again, the beauty of Nebbiolo from these adjacent regions has always extended beyond common vocabulary. Luca's words ton the combination of limestone and sand strike at the heart of the mentality at Roagna:
    "You find more finesse, more elegance, less color, less alcohol, and when we have less color and alcohol, we are really happy." — Luca Roagna

    Longtime fans of Piedmont will recognize the enviable stable of prized vineyards here: Asili, Paje, Montefico, Gallina, Faset Pira, and Rocche. Native fermentation lasts ten days in large wood, finishing with a submerged cap ("cappello sommerso") for 60-90 days. Afterward, aging takes place in large, neutral botti. Instead of toasting by flame, casks are steamed to exclude any charring flavor. This cask aging takes place for 5 years before release.
    If you love taut Barolo and Barbaresco with intrinsic tannin melded into transparent wines of explosive aromatics ending with a wispy, ethereal ethos, you will be at the correct address.

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  • Starbright Secret: Piero Busso Barbaresco
    Starbright Secret: Piero Busso Barbaresco

    The 2016 vintage in Piedmont doesn't need an introduction, but the name Piero Busso might. Among the perfect vintage's success stories, Piero's Barbaresco from the Gallina cru has it all. The famous vineyard from Nieve is likely better known for Bruno Giacosa and Luca Roagna. Still, Piero's expression floored us for its immediacy yet age-worthy structure.

    This Gallina is all about perfume and bright aromatics, like the best 2016s show in spades. On the palate, a thrilling concentration of red berries with mint have loads of gripping intensity, and the finish is classic Barbaresco with that more dusty minerality finely woven through, compared to Barolo's broader tannic personality.

    A sense of grace and understated elegance jumps out of the glass. When we all tried our first sip in San Diego, we looked at each other and knew the obvious greatness captured in this 2016 rendition. While Piero Busso and his Gallina Barbaresco are always a match made in heaven, this exceptional vintage is drinking beautifully right now with so much upside in the cellar.


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