So, finding yourself priced out of Langhe Nebbiolos? Well fret not because you can certainly get your Italian fix with some very smart Roero wines.
Roero is a hilly region north of the Paesana municipal in Southern Piedmont. The quiet neighbour to Alba and Langhe, there are wonderful Nebbiolos and Barberas being produced here, but this area is best known for its native white grape, Arneis. Roero DOC red wines generally contain 95% or more of Nebbiolo, topped up with Arneis. These must be aged for at least 20 months in the winery’s cellars, with a minimum of 6 months in oak barrels. The Riservas must be aged for at least 32 months. The Roero Arneis is 100% varietal, and you can find Arneis Spumante being produced too. Interestingly, due to the overlap of boundries, Barbera d’Alba and Moscato d’Asti is produced in the Roero region too.
One of the more renown producers of this district is Matteo Correggia. It has been just over a decade since Matteo passed away, and his family have maintained and continued growing the family business, together with winemaker Luca Rostango. Giovanni Correggia was recently in Melbourne, and I attended a tasting at Bellota where I had the opportunity to chat with him and taste some of the 2011 Correggias. The 2011 vintage for Roero was slightly accelerated by the above average temperatures of April – July. However, the warm daytime was contrasted by the cool nights, and the good rains from the earlier seasonal rains meant that the vines were not parched in the heat. Consistent ripening was achieved for Barbera and Nebbiolo, and with a bit of late rain, produced some very fine wines. The early ripening Arneis yield was lower, and do reveal elements of ripeness reflecting the warm vintage.
Correggia Roero Arneis 2013, Roero, Piedmont, Italy
$30 from PWS. The Arneis was hand-harvested at the start of September, lightly pressed into stainless steel vats where it aged on lees for 6 months. Pale straw yellow colour, the minerality stood out on the nose, along with softer lemon citrus, green pear, grass and crushed rock. Ripe, steely flavours of waxy lemon fruit, with a fair amount of acidity. Very nicely formed, a snappy precise drink with a long finish. Drink now – 2016. 88-89/100.
Correggia Barbera d’Alba 2011, Roero, Piedmont, Italy
$35 from PWS. Plantings at 5000/hectare, fruit picked at the end of September benefited from the late showers. Juice was left on macerated skins for 5-7 days, then delestage (rack and return) and punching of cap was used to steer this wine in a fruit-driven direction. Ageing in barriques for 12 months, 6 months in stainless steel vats, then a further 6 months in the bottle. The end product is deliciously loaded with fruit, easy to drink and the tannin level restrained. Medium+ purple ruby colour, sweet aromas of Cherry Ripe, smoky sausage and waxy plum skins. A medium+ bodied wine with high acidity, flavours of red cherry, raspberry while the softer tannins do well to make this easy drinking. Great with cured meats. Drink now – 2016. 89-90/100.
Correggia Roero Nebbiolo 2011, Roero, Piedmont, Italy
$35 from PWS. Plantings at 4500/hectare, hand harvested between end-Sept and mid-Oct. Ageing in new Slovenian and old barriques for 12 months, then in stainless steel vats for 8 months. The wine has a medium ruby colour, with an expressive strawberry aroma, warm fuzzy spice and lifted florals. A wine that would be a great introduction to Nebbiolo as there is a moderate tannin load that doesn’t tip the scales, and that is balanced with the med+ acidity. Lovely strawberry and rhubarb flavours, touch of pepperish tingle on the long aftertaste. Drink now – 2020. 90/100.
Correggia La Val dei Preti Nebbiolo Roero DOCG 2011, Roero, Piedmont, Italy
$60 from PWS. Plantings at 6000 vines/hectare of 60 to 80 years old. Hand harvested between end-Sept and mid-Oct. Maceration on skins for 6-8 days, fermentation in 50% new oak barriques for 18 months before final blending in steel vats. ~12,000 btls producd. Medium+ ruby colour, with youthful aromas of dark cherry, plum, smoky tobacco, hints of leather and truffle. A medium-bodied wine, with youthful grippy tannins, earthy features of cherry fruit, dark chocolate, plum skins. A generous mouthfeel, on a long lingering finish. Meatballs doused with sweet tomato sauce and shaved Manchego with this please!! Drink now – 2022+. 92/100.
Correggia Barbera Bricco Marun 2011, Roero, Piedmont, Italy
$55 from PWS. Fruit was hand-harvest at end-Sept, 6-8 days maceration on skins, with delestage and cap punching, fermentation in 60% new barriques for 18 months, before final blending in stainless steel vats. ~14,000 btls produced. Medium+ to intense ruby with a purple hue. Youthful aromas of baked dark berries, savoury cassis, sweet clove and spice. Rich flavours of blackberry and dark currants, there is a med+ load of fine, sleek tannins. Long, pleasing finish that lingers. Drink now – 2025. 92/100.
Correggia Roche d’Ampsej 2005, Roero, Piedmont, Italy
$90 from PWS. 5000 vines/hectare yielding 40 hl/hectare. Fruit was hand harvested between end-Sept to mid-Oct. 6-8 days of maceration on the skins with frequent delestage and cap punching. Ageing in 100% new barriques for 18 months, blended in stainless steel vats then further 24 months of ageing in the bottle. ~6000 btls produced. A very fine and pretty wine with some age to it. Med+ ruby colour, with enticingly fresh and youthful aromas of light cherry, baked blueberry tart, rounded sweet spice profile with a hint of shaved coconut. The fine tannins are still clearly present, slightly masking the high acidity perhaps but aren’t a distraction from the flavours of cherry fruit, plum and cocoa. Smooth finish, there is quite some mileage left in this tank! Would be fantastic with some warm thinly sliced roasted meats or goats cheese. Drink now – 2020. 93/100.