Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Luca Currado's (Vietti Winemaker) perspective on Rocche di Castiglione

When the Galloni Vietti retrospective tasting (held at Vaucluse in New York City) was called to order, I found myself seated next to a gentleman with an Italian accent who seemed to know everyone present and was very comfortable in his skin. He had apparently spent the previous night in Washington DC and was relating his experience while running in that city on the following morning (the day of the tasting).

During the course of his run, he came upon some barriers but could not be bothered with the diversions they dictated, so he clambered over them. Of course this brought every Secret Service Agent and every DC Police Officer to the scene to interdict this threat to the safety and security of the President of the United States. After some investigation they determined that he was just a headstrong Italian winemaker and sent him along on his way. And that was my introduction to Luca Currado, the acclaimed winemaker of the Vietti estate.

Luca and Elena Penna Currado at the Galloni

As stated previously, this tasting was especially important because the 1961 Vietti Barolo was one of the foundations on which Barolo single-vineyard wines were built. The Vietti estate is honoring that event with a 50th-anniversary celebration, of which the Galloni retrospective is an integral part.

Luca, in his opening comments, indicated that this was an emotional night for him. You see, they do not do this type of expansive tasting everyday, largely because they do not have the library stocks to support such tastings. When he was younger, the estate needed to sell all of the wine it could make because Barolo did not command the value that it does today. Luca said that he had been nervous before tasting the wines but now he was very happy. These wines, he said, are an honor to his father who always described Rocche as "his wine."

Luca described Rocche wine as being like a Swiss watch in that it is very difficult to put together. First, the vineyard is steep and very difficult to work; everything has to be done by hand.  Second, vinifying Rocche is a challenging exercise. They do extended submerged cap and the tannins always take a long time to come together and then ... pop. According to Luca, you have to wait longer for the Rocche tannins to resolve than for any of his other wines.

Castiglione Falletto is located between Serralunga d'Alba and La Morra and its Rocche di Castiglione MGA has elements of both of these bordering communes. According to Luca, Rocche wines have the silky tannins and elegance of La Morra and the complexity, depth and power of Serralunga d'Alba.

©Wine -- Mise en abyme

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