Torinese by birth, Lara Rocchetti & Luisa Sala – Lalù! – met in 2010 while studying at Pollentia’s Gastronomic Science University, & ended up submitting a joint thesis on how to build a carbon-neutral cantina! On graduation, Lara headed to Argentina, while Luisa went to the Cape wine lands. Neither’s family had any prior viticultural experience, but Luisa & Lara found themselves drawn to both the vine & to making wine.
On their return from abroad, a chance encounter with Trediberri’s Nicola Oberto (at a gathering at Cà d’Carussin) led to a stint working at the cantina’s La Morra vineyards. Indeed it was Nicola’s father Federico who, with typical generosity, opened the door to their first vineyard purchase in 2015, that of a 0.5ha parcel in Roncaglie, La Morra! After Trediberri, the girls worked at both Reva & Conterno-Fantino; they credit Claudia Conterno for his advice on vineyard bio management.
In 2017 & 2018, they worked in Burgundy: first at Domaine Lafon in Meursault (vinifying the 2017 Montrachet!), before heading to Morey St.Denis to assist Cecile Tremblay.
In 2019 they took the plunge, creating their own domain Az. Agr. Lalù & renting a small cantina in Serralunga d’Alba in which to vinify the 3ha of vines from the communes of Monforte d’Alba & La Morra: including 0.3ha Monforte Le Coste, 0.5ha La Morra’s Roncaglie, & 1.5ha Monforte’s Bussia Brovi (opposite Bussia Corsini). They have invested in their future, equipping the cantina with cement tanks, a 25HL wooden tino, peristatic pumps, a new destemmer, balloon press & a 15HL botte grande. It is in this Serralunga cantina that they will be vinifying their first harvest of Barbera d’Alba from Monforte’s Bussia, Langhe Nebbiolo from La Morra’s Roncaglie vineyard, plus the cherry on the cake: Nebbiolo da Barolo from the Monforte vineyard of Le Coste! Total production will be tiny at 8k bottles/anno.
They are now on the lookout for another vineyard, so dite-crociate!
Barolo Le Coste, Monforte d’Alba
2019 Barbera d’Alba
From one of Monforte d’Alba ‘s prime Barbera zones, San Sebastiano sulla strada per Monchiero, one (careful) owner of 12 year old vines that in their vintage yielded 22 quintali/15 hectolitre of must, circa 2000 bottles! Harvested on 29 Sept & giving a Barbera d’Alba of 13.92% abv, the fruit was whole-bunch fermented in cement, albeit with the central stalk surgically removed. Spontaneous, wild yeast ferment, & malo, then transferred into botte for 3 months, before being racked into stainless-steel & 70% in three-year old French Chassin tonneaux prior to a summer 2020 bottling. Tell-tale Monforte purple black, the nose is exhilarating with explosive violet, blackberry coulis notes. Gorgeous, there’s a space dust freshness to this spherical wine, rich in colour & personality, yet so fresh, alive & weightless. Direi quasi perfetto! Very much Lalù’s offspring, lovingly raised!
2019 Langhe Nebbiolo
A blend of two declassified Nebbiolo da Barolo vineyards: Bussia Brovi in Monforte d’Alba & Roncaglie in La Morra (70/30), harvested on 5 Oct, 50% destalked, 50% whole berries, vinified separately, spontaneous ferment in cement & stainless-steel vats for 12 days, with gentle pumping over, before being transferred to wooden tini of 25HL for 8 months to give a 13.8%, 5.40TA, & 3.53pH wine of only 3000 bottles! The (relatively intense) colour & texture (spessura) stems from the Bussia fruit, while La Morra’s Roncaglie gives us the fine nose, aromatics, a weave of little red berries, of cold tea & morning light! It’s a very complementary blend, from La Morra’s younger, clay soils combining with Monforte’s poor marne & sandstone slopes. When first tasted in Nov’19, there was a distinct raspberry essence aromas, of white pepper, sapid & well-turned out. More recently, it’s unsurprisingly grown in stature, filling out, with the mouthfeel – la stoffa – coming from Monforte & a raciness linear character from La Morra. Complete, enveloping, fruttato, minerally…molto buono!
2019 Nebbiolo da Barolo Le Coste, Monforte d’Alba
From the highest part of this stunning, SE facing Monforte 15/20 yo steep vineyard, harvested on 15 October, then vinified in cement spontaneously, 50% destalked 50% whole berries, with pumping over & submerged cap for 30 days…such blue-blooded presence, the nose is stretto/tight, such agility & luce, minerally fresh & poised, sapido of course, silky tannins, dentelle, mulberry esque, velvety, graphite…endless. Ageing in a single 25HL Schneikenleitner Austrian, light toast botte! Only 2000 bts to be produced! Wow.