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You’ve heard this song before, but every time it comes on, it merits a listen: When you see a “Langhe Nebbiolo” on SommSelect, pounce on it. There are lots of them out there, but we’re constantly sifting through the masses in search of standouts like today’s gem from Cascina delle Rose. It’s a simple (and irresistible) proposition: organically farmed Nebbiolo from the Barbaresco DOCG, crafted by a heritage producer, shipped across the ocean and landing on your table for under $40. As if that weren’t enough, Cascina delle Rose is a tiny, family-run estate headed up by one of Barbaresco’s earliest female proprietors—the indefatigable Giovanna Rizzolio. Talk about the stars aligning…this is one to stock up on!
Yet another point of distinction here is that Cascina delle Rose is tiny—the entire estate, first purchased by Giovanna Rizzolio’s grandparents in 1948, measures just five hectares, with a little over three of those dedicated to Nebbiolo, Barbera, and Dolcetto grapes. The Rizzolio family was in the textile business, which Giovanna spent some time in, but by 1983 she was over it and had saved up enough money to buy the family getaway in Barbaresco from her parents. At that time, she was among a precious few women heading up a wine estate in the region, doing lots of the manual work herself and releasing her first wines in 1992. Since then, her husband, Italo Sobrino, and their two sons, Davide and Riccardo, have joined her in the business. In all, they’re producing about 30,000 bottles of wine a year, with Davide, a graduate of Alba’s highly regarded school of enology, heading up winemaking (his first vintage was 2004).
Among the most prized Nebbiolo vineyards in the Cascina delle Rose collection are parcels within the “Rio Sordo” and “Tre Stelle” MGAs (crus), from which some fruit is sourced for this exceptional Langhe Nebbiolo bottling. This is an example of a Langhe Nebbiolo that comes tantalizingly close to Barbaresco in terms of structure and complexity, and yet it is aged only in steel tanks before bottling. This helps take a little sting out of the tannins, and at 14%, the a.b.v. is downright modest by today’s standards.
In the glass, this woodsy 2021 shines a deep cranberry-red and greets you with a basketful of red berry aromas—cherry, raspberry, currant—before layering in hints of dried orange peel, black tea, leather, underbrush, and rose petals. It is medium-plus in body and mouth-wateringly tangy, with modest alcohol and well-modulated tannins that grip but not too hard: If you were so inclined, you could age this for a few years to really take it to the next level, but it will deliver plenty of post-4th fireworks after a 30-minute decant. Serve it at 60 degrees in Burgundy stems and you’ve got a perfect wine for a cookout with friends. Check out the attached recipe for braciole the next time you fire up the grill and then you’ll see this wine really shine. It was made for this. Enjoy!
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