The history of Roberto Voerzio, of his company and his wines is relatively recent, yet it is already rich in satisfaction and in excellent wines that elicit emotion after emotion.
Here’s the backstory. The winery was founded in 1986 in La Morra, a small town in the heart of the Langhe. Roberto has always been known for his exceptional Barolo, but believe me, even the bottles of Barbera leave their mark. Not to mention the Merlot and Dolcetto.
Roberto Voerzio is a vintner who loves to go against the tide and think outside the box. Every year he keeps trying to improve himself (now with the help of his son Davide) and the quality of his wines. In the “Barolo Story” Roberto Voerzio is considered a “modernist”, but the truth is that his wines possess a style of their own: he was in fact inspired by the “traditionalists” of Barolo, such as Bruno Giacosa, Giovanni Conterno and Giuseppe Rinaldi.
The guiding idea to get bottles of excellent Barolo is to keep each plant’s grape yield low, being able to maximize the quality of the basic product: i.e. the grapes themselves. If Roberto is not fully satisfied, a wine can also skip that vintage and not be released. It’s that simple.
Over the years, Voerzio has bought the most suitable plots of land in the best areas of the Langhe, particularly those in historical cru and in zones of reliable Barolo quality such as La Serra, Brunate, Cerequio, Sarmassa, Rocche dell’Annunziata, Fossati and Case Nere .
He devotes maniacal attention to each and every plant in his vineyards. Twenty years ago the idea of green harvest was still something too ‘avant-garde’ in Piedmont, a poor agricultural region, where the idea of removing grapes from the plant was seen as the equivalent of throwing away money. Voerzio was convinced otherwise and followed his instincts, pursuing a radical approach to low yields. Voerzio removes whole bunches from his plants, so that the transition between rows is literally littered with grapes. The clusters that remain are meticulously adjusted, eliminating the grapes towards the bottom and at the sides, where it is believed that there are more astringent tannins. The typical triangular shape of the Nebbiolo cluster is transformed into something smaller and rounded, lowering yields to a level never previously seen in Piedmont. Among other things, he was one of the first in Piedmont to adopt the “green harvest”, thinning the plants of less productive clusters (lower ones) to give greater vigor to others. Roberto collects from 500 to 700 grams of grapes per vine. The vineyards are cared for without the use of chemical fertilizers, herbicides or other products that interfere with the normal growth cycle. No wine is filtered. Yet Roberto refuses to define his wines as organic or biodynamic. Each bottle of Voerzio sports a feature tag illustrated by the artist Riccardo Assom, portraying the people in the vineyard as cartoonish caricatures, in bright pastel colors.
Another feature of his wines is that, other than the customary 0.75 liter bottles, the market also offers the 1.5-liter Magnum, the 3L Jeroboam, up to the 12-liter Balthazar as well. They are not cheap wines by any means.
Among the many excellent labels, I tasted and enjoyed the Barolo Fossati Case Nere Vintage 2003 DOCG, which was also the first vintage of this wine. Ten years before going out on the market: a Reserve. The wine is from 100% Nebbiolo grapes.
It exudes characteristic aromas of licorice, cinnamon, pink flowers, incense, juniper, pink pepper, all embroidered on a balmy fabric and nuances of leather and sweet tobacco. The scents are a really very fine bouquet. The way the wine flows in the mouth is at the same time slender and intense, with absolute softness and fineness in its tannins. Drinking this exciting Barolo, you really feel the love of the grower for his grapes. None excluded!
Some technical data: 24 months aging in oak barrels, 30% new and 70% used, then 8 months in stainless steel and 7 years in bottle before going to market. La Morra municipality. Yield per plant is 500 grams. 3,000 bottles produced.
Retail price: € 225 – $ 243; My rating: 95/100
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