The Antica Cascina was once part of the feudal estate belonging to the noble Roero family, present in the region between 14th & 18th centuries. More recently it was the property of the famous coffee merchant, Deorsola of Torino, before being bought by current owner Daniela Olivero’s family in 1957. From being a traditional ‘fattoria’ (farm), growing a variety of crops & raising cattle, in 1975 the Antica Cascina dei Conti di Roero took the decision to focus 100% on the vine. The 1980s saw the first commercial bottling of the wines, & in 1995 the then 8ha property passed to Daniela Olivero & her husband Luigi Roagna.
The estate now measures 13ha, of which 70% lies in the comune of Vezza d’Alba, 20% in Canale, & 10% in Monteu Roero. Key menzione geografiche aggiuntive (MGA) are Sant’Anna, where the cantina is located, & Sru, a cru that’s closer to Canale. Marine sand over marne dominates the Vezza d’Alba & Monteu Roero geology, while Canale (Sru) is more clay rich. The average age of the Nebbiolo vines is 30yo (for Nebbiolo d’Alba), while the Roero DOCG Vigna Sant’Anna comes mainly from a 1ha plot planted in 1954.
They focus on producing Roero Arneis ( from Vezza d’Alba & Canale), Langhe Favorita (Vezza d’Alba & Canale), Nebbiolo d’Alba (Vezza d’Alba), Roero DOCG (Monteu Roero & Vezza d’Alba). In vintage 2018 they will be producing a single vineyard Roero Arneis from the Sru vineyard close to Canale.
Daniela & Luigi adhere to ‘The Green Experience’ (thegreenexperience.it) that promotes green, eco-friendly, sustainable viticulture (promotes biodiversity, respect for the soils, no chemical weeding, conservation of birds & insects, traceability)
And in 2019 Daniela & Gigi were joined by ‘Oliver’, an English Setter!
Langhe Favorita, Vezza d’Alba & Canale
Roero Arneis, Vezza d’Alba
Roero Arneis vigna Sru, Canale
Barbera d’Alba, Vezza d’Alba
Nebbiolo d’Alba, Vezza d’Alba
Roero DOCG vigna Sant’Anna, Monteu Roero
2019 Langhe Favorita, Vezza d’Alba & Canale – tasted by CR & DBG 14 Jan’20 from tank…13%, Daniela & Gigi’s Favorita has added spunk in 2019, thanks to a reduced crop (rain at flowering) & the excellent weather conditions! The pale colour & delicate aromatics ring with racy, candied lime, a distinct pear & almost exotic ripeness due to the older vines on light marine sand soils that surround the cantina & face pure south. This continues on the palate, although the fruitiness is tempered by a sapid riff & the suggestion of acciughe/anchovies (or was I dreaming of what I’d pair the wine with!) To be closed with DIAM.
2018 Langhe Favorita, Vezza d’Alba & Canale – tasted Nov’18 from tank, harvested 10 Sept; puro pompelmo/yellow grapefruit spremuta! Fine.…tasted again May 2019, after bottling in January. Always ripens earlier than the Arneis. De- stemmed and fermented classically. 60% fruit from Canale and the rest from Vezza d’Alba. Zesty citrus, little white flowers, lime blossom, pear. Lovely and racy, with lots of fruit, a mineral spine, and a saline finish.
2019 Roero Arneis, Vezza – tasted by CR & DBG on 14 Jan’20 from tank…13.3%, 1-2RS, darker in colour, broader & fuller than the 2019 Favorita, obviously, ‘Chardonnay’ to Favorita’s ‘Riesling’, Daniela & Gigi’s Arneis comes from vines surrounding the Vezza d’Alba based cantina, & in this vintage there’s rich, ‘grasso’ texture & agrumato/citrus & acacia honey character, couched in a square structure (vs the dainty Favorita!)
2018 Roero Arneis, Vezza – tasted Nov’18 from tank, from sabbia marina, light white marine sand over marne, pure South facing, subtle, pretty, detailed & delightful!…tasted again in May 2019 from bottle. Again the fruit is from Vezza and Canale. Exotic fruit, white peach, a hint of pineapple. Very bright and juicy, mineral, with luxurious mouthfeel. More sapid and structured compared to the zesty and more delicate Favorita.
2018 Roero Arneis vigna Sru, Canale – (from vintage 2017, Roero producers are able to use the MGA vineyard name) tasted Nov’18 from tank, harvested 10 Sept, from the Canale clay rich vineyard of Sru that lies on an East facing shoulder, slightly lower down, & close to the town. More intense in colour than the Vezza d’Alba fruit, more structured too, with almost ananas/pineapple richness/presence, salivatingly sapid, more masculine vs the feminity of Vezza! Un vin de garde? Release date: Sept/Oct’19!…retasted 14 Jan’20 with CR, from a DIAM5 sealed bottle, there’s a delightful crunch, generous & detailed with warm pear, white musk & currant fruit. Direct, layered, nuanced…one senses there’s plenty in reserve, with an almost Chablis-esque ‘fleurs de lys’ feel!
2017 Barbera d’Alba, Vezza – tasted by CR & DBG on 14 Jan’20, having been bottled in June’18 14.5%, this was the first vintage that Daniela & Gigi have blended both the ‘normale’ fruit from around the cantina (Vezza) & ‘Superiore’ fruit from single vineyard Sru (Canale) to make a super Barbera d’Alba, aged for 6 mths in French barriques. The result is both suave & super-ripe, plum, blueberry, some granite & pepper, fresh & fleshy!
2018 Nebbiolo d’Alba, Vezza – tasted by CR & DBG on 14 Jan’20, having been bottled in Dec’19 (total sulphur 100mg/litro) 14%, aged for 8 mths in botte grande, from the lighter marine sand soils that surround the cantina in the commune of Vezza d’Alba, the colour & appeal is sooo 2018: very inviting, really fruity with dark cherry, rose, & raspberry flecks; the palate is soft, deft, lots of charm, bundles of pretty red cassis, & crunchy Roero raspberry acidity. Very more-ish.
2017 Nebbiolo d’Alba, Vezza – tasted May 2019 from bottle. Fruit all from Vezza. (Nb. towards Canale the soils are heavier and more clay and iron-rich, whereas in Vezza they are sandier). Very dry year. 5 months without water! Earlier harvest than usual- was finished by end of September. 15days maceration, malo in steel, then 8 months in botte grandi, before going into stainless steel prior to bottling. A pretty strawberry-perfumed nose. Open and easy on the palate, with swathes of generous fruit, quince and red cherry. Pretty, feminine, and soft, with gentle and elegant tannins. 14% alc but you dont feel it.
2016 Roero DOCG vigna Sant’Anna, Monteu Roero – tasted by CR & DBG on 14 Jan’20, 4k been bottled in Dec’18 (total sulphur 100mg/litro) 14.5%, intense both in colour & nose, bright & transparent too, there’s a distinct kirsch rose & mulberry character, no doubt helped by the 69yo vines. Vinified for 30 days with submerged cap, malo in stainless-steel, followed by 20 mths in 20HL botte grande, Gigi announced that he’d also been incorporating 10% of whole bunch since vintage 2013, giving some added aromatic lift & crunch to the wine perhaps. Still young & brimming with tension (& energy), it’s clearly very fine, suave, packed with detail & delicate persuasion! Needs time in bottle.
2015 Roero DOCG vigna Sant’Anna, Monteu Roero – tasted Nov’18, bottled Dec’17, DIAM10, macerated 25 days on the skins, from 1ha of 1954 planted Nebbiolo vines that form the apex/Bricco above the Cascina, high up at 320m asl, on fossil-strewn white talc soils that actually lie in the comune of Monteu Roero, as they’re on the border. Vinified in stainless steel & then aged in 42HL botti fro 24 mths. Rich red, crushed raspberry, cleansing, intense, pulp & rosehip, cleansing, still young & tense….tasted again May 2019 – fermentation using wild yeasts. 30 days maceration with submerged cap. 2 years in botte grandi of 30HL. 2015 was warm particularly in June and July. Harvested 8/12 October as usual. Concentrated and complex, with notes of liquorice, and rhubarb, a cool edge of balsamico. Structured and full, with very good length.
2014 Roero DOCG vigna Sant’Anna, Monteu Roero – tasted Aug’18, 14%, macerated 20 days on the skins, compact, autumn litter leaves & dried rose, classico, cologne fresh, crushed berries, 20 mths botte grande (2013 was the first vintage that Gigi & Daniela gave up the tonneaux & aged Vigna Sant’Anna only in botti!)