Tom Cannavan, Wine Pages (January 2020)
About this WINE
Davide Rosso took over from his father, Giovanni, in the early 2000s. He has since risen quickly in reputation as one of the region’s greatest producers, with some of the most desirable vineyards in Barolo, showcasing the vivid terroir of his beloved hometown. The steep spine of Serralunga d’Alba creates wines of authority, power and raw minerality, which need a careful hand to reveal their intricacies. Davide’s Barolo di Commune di Serralunga d’Alba gives us a wide-angle view of this calcareous terroir and gleaming 2018 vintage personality. But it is his range of single vineyards that demonstrates his sensitivity and skill; his pride for Serralunga d’Alba only magnifies the details of these crus, resulting in wines of rare class and sophistication.
The magnificent white soils of Serralunga d’Alba enhance this remarkable release. The 2018 vintage did not have the extreme weather of 2017, and the wines are finer, calmer and more expressive because of it. Water, sun and temperate aligned, enabling Davide and winemaker Andrea to create wines with perfume, pleasure and physical presence. The wines are composed with the typical austerity we know from Serralunga, woven with the silkiness of tannins. Davide’s Vigna Rionda vineyard is one of the most sought-after in the region, and has become a trophy for many collectors. But in 2018, his Serra and Cerretta crus both yielded exceptional wines of brightness and charm, brimming with Serralunga’s enduring mineral tension.
Langhe is an all-encompassing zone lying due south of Alba and the River Tanaro in the province of Cuneo. Barolo and Barbaresco both lie within its boundaries.
Langhe is also the name of a regional DOC zone, which is used to classify wines made outside of the traditional Piemontese varietal scheme (Nebbiollo, Barbera, Cortese etc). Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc wines from the region are, for example, classified as Langhe DOC.
Effectively the ‘second wine’ of Piedmont’s great Barolo and Barbarescos, the Langhe Nebbiolo DOC is the only way Langhe producers can declassify their Barolo or Barbaresco fruit or wines to make an early-drinking style.
Langhe Nebbiolo can be released onto the market as soon as practicably possible either as a fresh, fruity wine made solely in stainless-steel, or later on having been aged in oak. The Langhe Nebbiolo DOC was created in 1994 along with a plethora of other Langhe DOC wines (so diluting their significance).
Unlike Nebbiolo d’Alba, Langhe Nebbiolo can be cut with 15 percent other red indigenous varieties, such as Barbera or Dolcetto. Leading, quality producers of Barolo and Barbaresco are more inclined to use 100 percent Nebbiolo, recognising its role as a stepping stone, using the fruit from vines that are either too young or poorly situated.
Larger producers tend to use the Langhe Nebbiolo DOC as a valve, declassifying wines destined for Barolo or Barbaresco when the market is difficult. Confusingly Langhe Nebbiolo can also be the declassified wine of Nebbiolo d’Alba.
Recommended producers: Giovanni Rosso di Davide Rosso , Mario Fontana , Ferdinando Principiano
Nebbiolo is the grape behind the Barolo and Barbaresco wines and is hardly ever seen outside the confines of Piedmont. It takes its name from "nebbia" which is Italian for fog, a frequent phenomenon in the region.
A notoriously pernickety grape, it requires sheltered south-facing sites and performs best on the well-drained calcareous marls to the north and south of Alba in the DOCG zones of Barbaresco and Barolo.
Langhe Nebbiolo is effectively the ‘second wine’ of Piedmont’s great Barolo & Barbarescos. This DOC is the only way Langhe producers can declassify their Barolo or Barbaresco fruit or wines to make an early-drinking style. Unlike Nebbiolo d’Alba, Langhe Nebbiolo can be cut with 15% other red indigenous varieties, such as Barbera or Dolcetto.
Nebbiolo flowers early and ripens late, so a long hang time, producing high levels of sugar, acidity and tannins; the challenge being to harvest the fruit with these three elements ripe and in balance. The best Barolos and Barbarescos are perfumed with aromas of tar, rose, mint, chocolate, liquorice and truffles. They age brilliantly and the very best need ten years to show at their best.