The Bovone family herald from Ovada where they were wine merchants until Gian Piero Bovone bought the Cornarea estate back in 1974. Having studied oenology, Gian Piero had figured out that reductive, anaerobic winemaking was the key to vinifying Arneis. He then invested in the single vineyard of 15 hectares overlooking the small town of Canale, where he had the foresight to replant almost the entire hill to the white Arneis grape, culminating, in 1981, with their first single varietal wine.
The key to Cornarea’s high quality white wine Arneis DOCG (in north-west Piedmont in Italy) is the territorio/terroir: 30 million year old Miocene former sea bed soils rich in marine fossils and magnesium. In fact so rich is the soil in magnesium that a couple of doctors from nearby Canale made their fortune selling salt of magnesium, dug up locally, as a remedy during the late 19th century. The presence of magnesium, giving minerality to the wine, is apparently common to three villages: Canale, Montà, & Monteu Roero.
In recent years they have been fine-tuning their Nebbiolo wines too: both from the exact same hill, the Nebbiolo d’Alba is soft & fruity with pleasing freshness, while Roero DOCG possesses the finest of tannins & shows great elegance. In vintage 2011 they launched ‘Enritard’, a late-release Roero Arneis that spent more time on lees & 3/4 years in bottle.
> Converting to organic
Roero Arneis, Canale
‘Enritard’ Roero Arneis, Canale
Nebbiolo d’Alba, Canale
Roero DOCG, Canale
2019 Roero Arneis, Canale – tasted 14 January’20, with Chloe, 90k having been bottled Dec’19 at approx.80/90 mg/litro sulphur. Total acidity 5.50, RS c.3 g/litro, 13.5% abv. Fine, pale, first of the season nettles, fleurs blanches/bianco spina (blackthorn hedge), pinpoint, promettente/promising. To taste: pretty lime flowers/tiglio, white peach, racy & textured, lots going on from this potente vintage, salato, minerally…
2018 Roero Arneis, Canale – tasted Nov’18 from bottle (as the short 2017 had run out so hence the early bottling), 13.4%. Normal yields in 2018, vs -25% in 2017; lower alcohol too, 13.4% vs 13.7%. A classic vintage compared to 2017. Pier & Gian will bottle most of the 2018 during the first quarter of 2019, so leaving the wine in contact with the fine lees for longer, but the market was short for Christmas! Appena nato, bright, lime skin, oranges & lemons, crunchy, fossils/shellfish sapidity, citrus sprint! TA 5.5.
2015 ‘Enritard’ Roero Arneis, Canale – tasted 14 Jan.’20, with Chloe, 3k bottled summer ’19, 13.5% abv, I noted ‘more Sancerre than Pouilly-Fumé’ on account of the richer vintage perhaps. It’s very open, engaging, apple core, acacia honey, white stone & hay…piu grasso, pieno/full, untuoso even, with lots of cassis notes (that remind of 2015 white Burgundies too), very layered, long and mouth coating, would be delicious with a good cheese!
2014 ‘Enritard’ Roero Arneis, Canale – tasted Nov’18, 13%, bottled end 2017, only 3.5k bts made: restained, more savoury than fruit notes, more nettle than lime. Slim, sapid, agrumato. Mosel-esque raciness & pebbliness, very fine, drawing on 6 mths of lees contact.
2013 ‘Enritard’ Roero Arneis, Canale – 13.2%, 6 mths extra on its lees in tank prior to bottling, the ‘Enritard’ (dialect for ‘late’) is a more savoury, sapid, drier, immensely food friendly Roero Arneis: less on the fruit, incredibly intense, crunchy, more spearmint fresh, grown up, with shoulders (structure), less showy, more mealy, ginger root, tight, vertical, such refinement (as is the character of the vintage), compelling, long…should age beautifully in bottle!
2018 Nebbiolo d’Alba, Canale – tasted 14th January’20, to be bottled mid -Feb 2020, it spent 3 days on the skin, finishing the fermentation without, mi sembra, & then aged for the second vintage without recourse to oak. It certainly doesn’t need it, as the (vintage’s) Ribena red/black currant notes are so ripe & appealing. Pretty, alive, very juicy! Cool crunch, fine tannins, lots of fruit & refreshing acidity, very much a Nebbiolino, with so much bevibilità! No time to lose!
2017 Roero DOCG, Canale – tasted 14th January, along with Chloe, having been bottled in Dec.19, after 20months in 40HL botti grandi, 13.5%, 4K bts produced. Very pretty, pure Roero/Santo Stefano fresh strawberry (with straw & punnet) & raspberry, on account of the dry vintage, so less succo/juice, Gian Nicola halved the maceration to 6 days (from 12 in 2016). A good decision, as the bright red fruit’s so alive, gorgeous even, lifted & poised, balanced by the usual sapidity, sylph-like finezza, rose & sandalwood, camphor…so much gioia!
2015 Roero DOCG, Canale – tasted in February 2018, 13.5%. Pale ruby, with a perfumed nose, and aromas of raspberries, strawberries, gentle sweet spice, and a delicate floral note. Lots of ripe red berry fruit on the palate, slightly fuller and more serious versus the Nebbiolo d’Alba, but again with lovely freshness, exciting acidity, and a peppery finish. Creamy texture from 20 months in 14 & 16HL botti grandi oak, with silky tannins, and a seductive edge. The vines were planted in 1967!
2014 Roero DOCG, Canale – bottled in Feb ’17, the Roero & Cornarea in particular appeared to have succeeded in the tricky 2014 vintage: focus, lots of strawberry soft, red cage fruit, still a hint of creamy oak (from bottling), but it’s precise, fine, with almost forest fruit generosity.