07 September 2019

Rocche Costamagna, La Morra

We visited this cantina on the 2nd of September 2019.

We requested a visit to taste the wines of this quite well known winery in La Morra.  There is not really a full cantina there but there is a lot of aging wines and machinery to bottle the wine.

We were welcomed by Eleonora, one of the guides to the wines.  She showed us the library, both of books and of almost ancient bottles of wine that was produced including some bottles that were of 720ml rather than the current 750ml.  We were unaware that these bottles were once used.

The first wine presented was the 2017 Nebbiolo which was opened for us.  It is 14.5% alcohol.  It is a typical, young Nebbiolo that needs time to rest in your cellar in order to truly present its characteristics.  It has, at this young age, a good Nebbiolo nose and somewhat muted flavors that will come around with proper aging.  We believe it needs two years minimum to reach the drinkable state.  We also believe that it is a very good example of the grape.  Euro 15 a bottle, purchased for our cellar.

The second was the 2014 Barolo Rocche del Annunziata, 14.5% alcohol.  This was presented in a bottle with a Coravin.  More and more wineries are using the Coravin to take a small amount from the bottle via a tube the size of a medium size hollow needle and pumping argon gas into the bottle to replace the wine that goes into the glass.  Argon is a gas that should not affect the taste of the wine nor should it allow to age.  A number of cantine in the area believe that 2014 was not a good year and have not produced anything except basic Barolo...no singular crus were produced.  However, some wineries had good harvests and went ahead with singular cru bottlings.  The wine has a quite acidic nose with light fruit.  The mouth shows an acidic nose with light fruit and tannins.  After some time in the glass with movement of the glass, it loses much of the mouth characteristics.  Euro 33 a bottle.

We were then poured the 2015 Barolo Rocche del Annunziata, 14% alcohol.  This was also poured by the Coravin.  The nose was mostly acidic with the fruit almost hidden by the the acid.  There was evidence of a light fruit in the mouth which became more evident as the glass was "worked".  We also encountered a slight tobacco in the mouth which was pleasing.  Euro 38 a bottle.

The fourth wine was the 2013 Barolo Rocche del Annunziata, 14% alcohol.  This wine had a very evident Barolo nose which tapered off as the glass was "worked".  The mouth was quite tannic (a favorite characteristic), the fruit was very evident and the acids were in balance.  We believe that this wine needs 7-8 years in proper storage.  Purchased for our cellar.  Euro 40 a bottle, purchased for our cellar.

Eleonora then brought out three Barolos that are made as Riserve.  These wines spend more time in wood than a normal Barolo.

The first Riserva was the 2013 Rocche del Annunziata.  The nose was quite subdued.  This told us that the wine needed a minimum of 5+ years of further ageing.  After tasting it, we think it needs at least 7-8 years of proper storage before drinking.  The wine has hard tannins, medium level of acids and fruit in between.  A quite interesting wine.  Euro 54 a bottle.

The second was the 2012 Rocche del Annunziata, 14.5% alcohol.  A spectacular nose, light tannins and little acids in the nose holds up to glass work without losing any of the previous mentioned characteristics.  We believe that this wine needs ten years of proper storage.  Purchased for our cellar.  Euro 54 a bottle, purchased for our cellar.

The last was the 2011 Rocche del Annunziata, 14.5%.  Good nose with great fruit.  Nose tells us 6-7 years, mouth says 4-5 years.  Split the difference and try it after 5.  It is coming together but needs time in your cellar.  Euro 60 a bottle

After the tasting we met Alessandro Locatelli who is the manager of the cantina.  He told us he is going to San Francisco soon.  We offered our knowledge of the Central Coast of California and encouraged him to visit Paso Robles.

If you plan on visiting Rocche Costamagna, we suggest that you request Eleonora as your guide.  She is very good at her chosen career.

26 March 2021 We realized after opening this bottle that maybe we have too many bottles of Barolo in our collection (is that really possible?).  We have others that are Rocche and picked the wrong one when I went to get a bottle for a Friday lunch.  The wine I brought to the table was the 2013 Rocche Costamagna Rocche del`Annunziata Barolo.  The wine is not ready to drink.  In any case, it was served with Boscaiolli formaggio, insallata from our garden and rabbit angliotti.  While the lunch was very good, the wine was really not there.  Wait until 2025 and after before opening it.

23 May 2021  We have been ready to open the Langhe Nebbiolo from Rocche Costamagna for some time now and we finally had the opportunity.  Natalya took some melanzane (eggplant) from our garden and sauteed it in EV olive oil.  Then she topped it with chopped tomatoes from our garden and some smoked scamorza cheese.  She then made stuffed peppers (from the garden, of course) with cabbage (no further comment about the garden) and porcini mushrooms.  She then served chicken thighs (no antibiotics!) sauteed in mayonnaise.  Spectacular lunch with a very good wine.  Ready to drink folks but do not panic.  It has years to live.

25 July 2021 We opened another bottle of the 2017 Rocche Costagmagna for lunch today.  The menu included straciatella cheese with bread, a soup with fresh mushrooms from Monale and chicken sotofiletto.  The main course was chicken with grilled vegetables from our garden.  The wine does need additional years in the cellar but we like it as it is.  We suggest that you try it now and after a year or two to decide which you prefer.

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