From Vine Farmer:
Vine Farmer is proud to have introduced the wines of Cascina Val Del Prete, Roero's leading grower for natural farming and traditional cellar work, to the East Coast. Chastised in the past for farming the difficult way, Cascina Val Del Prete is now leading a wave of new farming standards in Roero as more growers look to realize the heights that they have demonstrated are possible and that were known historically.
Farming Arneis, Barbera and Nebbiolo, it's the Nebbiolo based wines that soar the highest. They are never over extracted or dark in color despite long maceration times; combining structure with detail and finesse and highlighting a paradoxical phenomenon where longer maceration yields wines of grace. This practice is shared with traditional Barolo producers. However, where Barolo is more about tar and rose, these wines combine deep cherry, rose and chinato spice - truly beautiful and aromatically vibrant wines with a touch of exoticism. Make no mistake: these Nebbiolo based wines showcase the varietal in all its triumphant glory.
Serious connoisseurs of Nebbiolo should take note - perhaps the most intriguing clue to the true nobility of Roero is that it is one of the few regions in the world with the historical record needed to map out a quality hierarchy of vineyards. In fact, Roero's recent MGA designations doing just that place Roero among the handful of other classified regions in the world - regions such as Burgundy, Barolo, Barbaresco and the Mosel.
The Wine - The Roero Riserva is a compelling wine of spellbinding finesse, presence and poise, as truly excellent wines always are. It slowly unfurls and hums along, with excellent lift and true transparency. The Riserva comes from the top portion of the Vigna di Lino vineyard in the Madonna Delle Grazie MGA. While sharing 40 year old vines with the bottom slope, the top is sandier and better draining. The top also sees nearly 5 additional hours of sunlight per day.
The importance of this prime part of the slope is that it performs well in cool, wet vintages because of increased sunlight and drainage properties. In hot vintages, the same drainage properties slow down ripening with hydric stress, tempering ripeness. Comparing the Riserva to the Vigna di Lino bottling in hot and cool vintages is a fascinating study in terroir. In more recent warm vintages, hydric stress caused the Riserva to be lower in alcohol and particularly more elegant, despite being a "Riserva". This closely follows the old world philosophy of the characteristics that the finest wines should possess, with power being less important than finesse and beauty.
March 2020 Check In - The next level of elegance and finesse for Cascina Val Del Prete. The sandier soil of the top slope of the vineyard really allows the Riserva to excel in youth (compared to the Vigna di Lino bottling). There is an airy elegance and chiseled finesse to this wine that puts this wine in another class entirely. It confidently hums along not needing density or weight to provide great impact. Few grapes are capable of such a noble character that sneaks up on you. I know this wine will be even better in 5 years as sweet fruit and floral elements become more pronounced, but at the same time, this is singing now. Do not hesitate to open, no decant is needed, as this one is fun to track as it evolves over the course of the evening. Put this in the biggest wine glass you have (Burgundy, if possible). I'm not sure if this wine will ever close down...