Last July I have had the opportunity to take part in an important national wine event. I have tasted about a hundred of Piedmont wines and thirty of the amazing Barolo DOCG. They were in good shape. However, only one wine has aroused the unanimous emotion of all of us tastes: the Barolo Pira Riserva 1996 of the company Roagna.You have to know that we all asked for an extra glass of wine to fix it better and remember what can become, greatly improving, a Barolo that comes from Nebbiolo grapes harvested 21 years ago.
But who are the Roagna? The Azienda Agricola I Paglieri (this is the social name), founded by them, is located in the municipality of Barbaresco (Cuneo) and the Roagna produces excellent labels of Barbaresco DOCG (always from Nebbiolo grapes). The vineyard Pira, from which comes the wine I have choosen, is located in the municipality of Castiglione Falletto, one of the “cradles” of the purest Barolo.
Roagna winery is today managed by Alberto Roagna and his son Luca, who represents the fifth generation of a family who has always been engaged in work in the vineyard and in the cellar. The first chief was the great-grandfather Vincenzo 150 years ago. He was the owner of a cellar in the center of the village of Barbaresco. But the Roagna are not traditional vintners: they are innovative producers, experts in their lands. They live to make wine, respecting tradition but at the same time trying to improve it.
Alberto and Luca work in harmony. To sum up their production philosophy they have drawn up a “Roagna Manifesto” in ten points. I report some of them: the use of old vines, the exclusive use of indigenous yeasts and long ripeness, the respect of biodiversity, the prohibition of pesticides and herbicides, it is necessary to maintain the olfactory and tasteful purity of wine, without notes of toasted oak. The Roagna is an extreme work of artisans: every bottle of wine is touched by one of the member of the family six times before leaving the cellar.
The key to the success of Roagna’s wines is – in my opinion – the choice of working the old vines, and the very deep roots. Thanks to this 2 reasons, they product grapes with great aromatic concentration. The soils are of sedimentary marine origin, with stratifications of limestone clays alternating with gray-blue rocks and sands.
The vineyard Pira, historian of Castiglione Falletto, is an exclusive geographical reference of Roagna since 1989, the year in which it was purchased.
Originated by the rocks disintegration, Pira has numerous alternating layers of white limestone rock, gray marne, blue marne, sands, with a high content of minerals such as iron. Reserve wines can be saleble in the markets about 10-15 years after the vintage date in quantities that do not exceed a few hundred bottles. Specifically, only 1974 bottles were produced from this Pira Riserva 1996. Aging occurs in large oak barrels.
Tasting notes. It is a thick wine, long-lasting and perfectly comfortable with the years spent. It opens on a beautiful bouquet of blackberry jam and blueberries, then dark chocolate, tobacco, fresh violet. Then still balsamic notes, cinnamon, cloves, myrtle. The taste is a thick feather (which is not contradictory), it feels the finely tanned, well-honed tannins, the freshness intact, combined with a softness that gives sprint to the sprint, dynamic and long. A discharge of emotions to remember for a long time. Think: this wine is 21 years old and is perfectly balanced!
Retail price: € 544 – $ 638. My rating: 98/100