Sunday, March 4, 2018

Ceretto, Brovia, Roagna, Cordero di Montezemolo, and Poderi Colla: Barolos from Castiglione Falletto and Monforte

The Antonio Galloni celebration of Barolo is held annually in New York City and consists of (i) a gala dinner and (ii) a Masterclass tasting of 15 Barolos on the day after the dinner. This year's Masterclass was titled 2013 Barolo: Sublime Finesse and Elegance and featured 15 of the region's top producers discussing, in turn, their estate's 2013 vintage.

The wines were presented in flights and, to date, I have reported on the following: The Renaissance of Verduno and Monvigliero, The Art of the Blend, The Classicism of Brunate, The Emergence of Novello and Ravera, and the Nuances of Margheria. In this post I report on the first flight which featured 2013 Barolos from Ceretto, Brovia, Cordero di Montezemolo, and Poderi Colla and a 2012 Barolo from Roagna.

Antonio Galloni kicking off the Masterclass

This was the most atypical of the flights:
  • Five wines versus two
  • Set at the commune level (with the exception of the Barolo-blend flight, all flights were intra-cru comparisons)
  • Four of the five wines were from Castiglione Falletto
  • Each of the Castiglione Falletto wines was from a different MGA
The particulars of the flight are shown in the table below.

Commune Producer Wine MGA Vineyard Winery Representative
Castiglione Falletto Ceretto Barolo Bricco Rocche Bricco Rocche

Alessandro Ceretto

Brovia Barolo Rocche dei Brovia Rocche di Castiglione

Alex Sánchez

Roagna Barolo Pira Vecche Viti Pira

Luca Roagna

Cordero di Montezemolo Barolo Enrico VI Villero

Alberto Cordero di Montezemolo
Monforte d’Alba Poderi Colla Barolo Bussia Dardi Le Rose Bussia Dardi Le Rose Pietro Colla

I begin with a brief look at the wine-producing regions under consideration and will then examine the wines tasted.

Castiglione Falletto
"Even if the vineyard surface cultivated for the production of Barolo places it solely in sixth place among the townships, Castiglione Falletto, in terms of notoriety, certainly cannot be considered a township of secondary significance given that, not merely producers of great fame but also, and above all, vineyards of exceptional prestige, can be numbered within its confines" (Masnaghetti). Whew. That was a long sentence. But you get the point. Castiglione Falletto, as a commune, is highly regarded.

The map below shows the location of the Castiglione Falletto MGAs from which the wines included in this flight were drawn. Rocche di Castiglione and Villero were numbered among my 18 Greatest Barolo Vineyards and are described here. Information on Bricco Rocche and Pira follow.

Bricco Rocche
As per
This Castiglione Falletto vineyard is the smallest geographic area within the Barolo specification and comprises just over 1 hectare. It is the most prestigious part of what was once called La Serra and is nestled between the Villero and the Rocche (rock face) of Castiglione, which represents the best of the top parts; it can be considered a monopole as the whole parcel is the exclusive property of the Ceretto family.
The height of the vineyard is optimum, going from 350 to 370 meters above sea level, with southeast to southwest exposure. The earth (sandstone of Diano) reinforce the ideal sense of balance, suggested by the geographic location, and see good percentages of sand, silt and clay. 
According to
Pira is ... exposed to the southeast, ... it derives from the disintegration of the Rocche di Castiglione. It is a GMA and property of our family since 1989, the year it was purchased. It has ... a unique soil and microclimate, as it is protected in the upper part by the Rocche di Castiglione and downstream from the woods with a stream coming from the Bussia di Monforte. The cultivated vines are Barbera, Chardonnay and mainly Nebbiolo, in which we can classify 6 different micro-plots according to the composition of the soil, which goes from the limestone rock of the Rocche to the bluish marl, and according to the age of the vines. 
At 292.3 ha, Bussia is the second largest MGA in Monforte d'Alba (and the Barolo Zone as a whole), bested only by Bricco San Pietro which weighs in at a massive 380.09 ha. The various vineyards included in the Bussia MGA are shown on the map below.

This is a 7-ha vineyard located in the hamlet of Dardi in Bussia Soprano. The best plots are located above the village. The topmost point of the vineyard is known as Mondoca. According to the winery website, this vineyard was the first to be vinified separately by Beppe Colla back in 1961, thus allowing him to place the cru name on the label.

The Wines
The available data on the physical characteristics of the individual vineyards and their viticulture and viniculture practices are presented in the table below followed by my perception of the resulting wines.

Characteristic Ceretto Bricco Rocche Brovia Rocche Roagna Pira Cordero di Montezemolo Poderi Colla
Vineyard Size 1 ha from one source; 1.4 ha from another 1.5 ha 4.88 ha
8 ha (of which 6 planted to Nebbiolo
Elevation (m) 340 - 370m

300 - 350
Exposure SE to SW SE SE S S and SW
Soil Silty loam (Sandstone of Diano) Lean, slightly sandy, loose calcareous soil Layers of alternating white limestone, gray and blue marl, and sand with a high mineral content Calcareous and micronutrient rich

Vine Training Guyot

Vine Density (Vines/ha)

4000 viness/ha


Year Planted

Oldest plants date back to 1937

1978 - 1985

Harvesting Hand Hand

Reception Hand sort Light pressing and separation of stalk Immediately destemmed and crushed

Destemmed and crushed
Fermentation Vessels Stainless Steel

Oak SS

Yeasts Native

Pre-fermentation pied de cuve

Fermentation Period

15 - 20 days 10 days; submerged-cap maceration for 70 - 90 days 6 - 10 day maceration, 10 -12 days fermentation 12 - 15 day maceration

Barrel Aging 12 mos 310 l oak barrels; moved to 25 Hl oak casks for remainder of elevage 2 years in 30 Hl Frenck oak casks Aged in neutral oak for 5 years 20 months in barriques Aged ionic casks for 24 - 28 months

None None

Bottle Aging

18 - 24 months

In his presentation, Alessandro Ceretto stated that the wines were fantastic from fermentation through aging. And that showed on the resultant 2013 Barolo Bricco Rocche. This wine was floral with violets and beautiful red fruit notes. The wine explodes on the palate with dried red fruit, rose petals, lovely acidity, great weight, and a long dry finish.

Alex Sánchez said that the 2013 Rocche del Brovia was very different on the nose than on the previous night. Elegant nose. Hint of tar, roses, and persimmon. On the palate sour persimmon, tar, and silky tannins. More intensity on the palate than was the case for the Ceretto. Long coating on palate. Bitter finish.

The 2013 Roagna 2012 Barolo Pira Vecchie Viti showed broad-based red fruit, shoe polish, and green flowers. Full round on the palate with drying fruit, dried rose petals, and silky tannins. Long, silky finish.

The 2013 Barolo Enrico VI showed hints of coconut, licorice, and dark fruit. Sweet fruit on the palate. Weighty with lengthy finish.

The 2013 Poderi Colla 2013 Barolo Bussia Dardi Le Rose was elegant with dried rose petals and bright red fruit on the nose. Power on the palate. Very different from the previous wines. Lenghty finish.

©Wine -- Mise en abyme

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