Location: Ridgewood, NY
Three Roero Nebbioli Worth Your Attention
There’s been talk of a sleeping giant in Piedmont. The Roero has suddenly been brought into the public eye with wines made from familiar varietals of the region, namely Nebbiolo, Barbera and Arneis. Some say it’s global warming which has allowed these wines to shine. Others say it’s something of a renaissance and that the quality in the zone has gone up as growers become more informed and update their winemaking practices. I’m sure there’s truth in both opinions.
What’s obvious is that the Roero is becoming a force to be reckoned with. Situated northwest from the Barbaresco and Barolo zones and divided from the Langhe by the Tanaro River, the Roero has similar elevations to the Langhe but a calcareous soil that has a higher content of sand. Many producers said these wines are more approachable, and in many cases, I agree. However, there are still masses of Nebbiolo character and tannin in these wines, and most of what I tasted should age beautifully. The aging requirements of Roero reds are 20 months with 6 months in barrel, whereas the riservas are required to age for 32 months before release, which is very close to the three years required for a Barolo. In fact, a number of producers had explained that they have taken to aging these wines with a similar wood treatment (one year) as is seen in Barbaresco.
The results are stunning, and many of the wines I tasted could have passed for Barbaresco, yet with a juicer and more vibrant youthfulness. When you consider this, and that most bottles cost less than their Barolo and Barbaresco counterparts, you’ll see that these are wines that are worth your attention.