De Forville, Nebbiolo d’Alba, “San Rocco”
De Forville, Nebbiolo d’Alba, “San Rocco”

De Forville, Nebbiolo d’Alba, “San Rocco”

Piedmont, Italy 2020 (750mL)
Regular price$32.00
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De Forville, Nebbiolo d’Alba, “San Rocco”

The De Forville family began producing wine in Barbaresco in the mid 1800s. Gioachino De Forville made Nebbiolo the family’s focus early on before being succeeded by his son, Vincenzo, who was followed by his nephew, Paolo, who passed the torch to his daughter, Mafalda, who is honored today by her sons and current proprietors, Valter and Paolo. Are you confused yet? In short, De Forville is a small, family business that has endured two World Wars and overcome countless challenges during its 150 year evolution from a rural farm to winemaking dynasty. This multi-generation commitment to grueling manual labor, tradition, and excellence is how remote hillsides become the world’s greatest wine terroirs.

Today, De Forville is a mid-size estate by Piedmont standards with a production of 8,000 cases per year. There is a clear line drawn between the family’s modestly priced, fresh and quaffable young-release Dolcetto, Barbera, and Chardonnay, versus the more serious, expensive, barrel aged Nebbiolo-based Barbaresco bottlings for which De Forville is known. But despite the modest price and lack of a DOCG designation, today’s wine falls into the latter category. This bottling originates from an extremely old single Nebbiolo vineyard in the village of San Rocco Seno d’Elvio—only a sliver of which falls within the Barbaresco DOCG boundary. This parcel produces fruit with a darker fruit core, more formidable tannins, and decidedly more Barolo-like character than De Forville’s other Nebbiolo vines just a few miles northeast in Barbaresco. This wine sees an extended maceration on skins, extra aging in Slavonian oak casks and is treated with every ounce of the extra care afforded the family’s $40-50/bottle reserve and single cru Barbaresco releases. Legendary importer Neal Rosenthal, a four-decades-long representative of the De Forville family, says simply, “we consider this wine to be the ‘Barolo’ of the De Forville estate.” I couldn’t agree more—this is an outstanding and extremely serious wine that completely transcends its appellation/price point.

The 2020 “San Rocco” is a full-throttle Nebbiolo experience. A mosaic of deep black cherry, crunchy pomegranate, and confit strawberry fruit rests atop a firm mineral base of tar, wet clay, and crushed stone. A little air brings to life more exotic leather, red tobacco, and dried wild rose and violet aromatics. To enjoy now, please decant for 30 minutes and serve at 60-65 degrees in large Burgundy stems. We can offer firsthand testament to this wine’s immediate deliciousness alongside a dinner of lamb burgers dressed with melted fontina cheese, sautéed wild mushrooms, and garlic-caper aioli—but I will be reserving my remaining bottles of this underpriced beauty for the cellar. Piedmont enthusiasts would be wise to set aside a few bottles of this “secret” wine to share with friends. 

De Forville, Nebbiolo d’Alba, “San Rocco”


Northwestern Italy


Italy’s Piedmont region is really a wine “nation”unto itself, producing world-class renditions of every type of wine imaginable: red, white, sparkling, name it! However, many wine lovers fixate on the region’s most famous appellations—Barolo and Barbaresco—and the inimitable native red that powers these wines:Nebbiolo.



The area known as “Chianti” covers a major chunk of Central Tuscany, from Pisa to Florence to Siena to Arezzo—and beyond. Any wine with “Chianti” in its name is going to contain somewhere between 70% to 100% Sangiovese, and there are eight geographically specific sub-regions under the broader Chianti umbrella.

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