As I have written before, Roagna is a small family producer located in Piedmont, Italy, with holdings in both Barbaresco and Barolo. The winemaker and head of the estate, Luca Roagna, is dedicated to organic farming and bottling extraordinarily age-worthy wines. Wine professionals regard Roagna as one of the top two or three truly traditional producers in the region. The family’s rolling, sweeping hillside vineyards in Barolo and Barbaresco are left relatively wild. When I was in Barbaresco two years ago, on a vineyard tour with Aldo Vaca from Produttori del Barbaresco, I looked at the Cru named “Paje” and noticed that one vineyard was overgrown; it was as if a natural forest existed in the middle of the vineyard site. I asked whose vineyard it was and of course, the answer was Roagna. Luca's vineyards are a healthy and beautiful example of nature amidst a sea of chemical farming and monoculture. This style of farming, in which incredibly tall, native grasses and several varieties of wild herbs are allowed to grow in the vineyard soils, is not typical in this region. This vineyard philosophy is indicative of Luca's respect for biodiversity and his desire to produce wine from vineyards that thrive in their natural environment.
The grapes for this specific bottling come from the “Le Coste” parcel in the village of Monforte d’Alba, right where it borders the village of Serralunga d’Alba. This region is one of the most revered and time tested pieces of real estate in northern Italy, and the vines for this parcel have been farmed organically for over four decades. In addition to farming naturally, Luca practices traditional winemaking techniques as well. He ferments and macerates the grapes, with the skins on, in large wood casks for up to 100 days—which extracts yet another layer of flavor and tannin, provides more structure, and imparts the wines’ near limitless aging potential. As a result, these wines typically need six to eight years in bottle before opening; lucky for us, the 2007 Barolo “Le Coste” is just entering that stage of its life.
The 2007 Roagna Barolo “Le Coste” is gorgeous in the glass with deep red and blood orange tones, and a richness and depth of color which comes from being completely unfiltered. At this stage, aromas are still understated, but no less gorgeous: black truffle, dried roses, meaty notes and a lot of intense red and black fruits. The palate is where this wine truly shines; it has a levity and weightlessness that is truly rare in Barolo. The wine floats on the palate with layers of soft tannin before exploding with a long, structured finish. This is not a bombastic, masculine Barolo; it is all about texture, subtlety and hushed beauty. I want to stress that even at seven years, this wine is still quite young, and it is absolutely mandatory
to decant it for two to three hours before drinking at roughly 65 degrees. You can put the decanter in the refrigerator if it gets too warm sitting out. I encourage you to decant the wine at lunchtime next weekend and spend the afternoon preparing this outstanding slow roasted pork shoulder recipe
. Invite over some close friends, serve the wine in large Burgundy stems, and take your time enjoying this magnificent wine’s evolution in the glass. If you cellar this wine, it will drink beautifully over the next decade and beyond.