Roberto Voerzio, Barolo Cerequio

Roberto Voerzio, Barolo Cerequio, 2013

  • icon-type Type

    Red

  • icon-year Year

    2013

  • icon-style Style

    Dry

  • icon-country Country

    Italy

  • icon-alcohollevel Alcohol level

    14%

  • icon-grapevariety Grape variety
    Nebbiolo 100%
  • Rating

    AG 94

A wine that is all about texture and smooth ripe berry fruit, a little closed initially but the structure of the wine is gloriously silky and the fruit impressively ripe, notes of griotte cherry, kirsch, strawberry and truffle.

A very concentrated Barolo of lightness and intensity. One of the historic single vineyards of La Morra, south-facing and planted at 300 metres above sea level on sandy clay soils.

On average only 300 cases per year are produced.

About Roberto Voerzio

Roberto Voerzio is one of the most acclaimed wine producers in Piedmont. His Barolo wines are highly prized at auction, and are known for being ripe, rich, and less tannic and oaky than many other examples of the famous appellation.

The estate owns or manages 8.5 hectares (21 acres) of vineyards around La Morra, with high planting densities producing tiny yields. There are six different parcels of in a range of Barolo crus: Brunate, Cerequio, Capalot, La Serra, Pozzo dell'Anunziata and Sarmassa di Barolo, which are all sources for individual cuvées. In addition, 2013 saw the release of the first vintage – the 2003 – of the Fossati Case Nere 10 Anni Riserva. The portfolio is completed by two leading Barbera d'Alba wines including the benchmark Vignasse, a Dolcetto d'Alba, Langhe Merlot, and a Langhe Nebbiolo.

Roberto Voerzio is regarded as an arch modernist, but this is more evident in the style of the finished wine rather than the methodology behind it. Macerations are typically 15 days, which fits into the traditionalist camp and, although Voerzio currently uses small barriques for aging, he has stated a desire to return to his previous practice of combining barriques with larger oak casks.

The estate was formed in the 1980s when Roberto inherited 5ha (12.5 acres) of his father's vineyards. His brother Gianni makes wine a few hundred meters away.

Grape variety
Nebbiolo

Nebbiolo is an Italian red wine grape variety predominantly associated with its native Piedmont region, where it makes the Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (DOCG) wines of Barolo, Barbaresco, Roero, Gattinara, Carema and Ghemme. Nebbiolo is thought to derive its name from the Italian nebbia or Piedmontese nebia, meaning "fog". During harvest, which generally takes place late in October, a deep, intense fog sets into the Langhe region where many Nebbiolo vineyards are located. Alternative explanations refers to the fog-like glaucous veil that forms over the berries as they reach maturity, or that perhaps the name is derived instead from the Italian word nobile, meaning noble. Nebbiolo produces lightly-coloured red wines which can be highly tannic in youth with scents of tar and roses. As they age, the wines take on a characteristic brick-orange hue at the rim of the glass and mature to reveal other aromas and flavours such as violets, tar, wild herbs, cherries, raspberries, truffles, tobacco, and prunes. Nebbiolo wines can require years of aging to balance the tannins with other characteristics.

In the most notable expression of Nebbiolo, the wines of Barolo, there is division between what is considered a "traditional" approach to Nebbiolo and a "modernist" approach. The roots of both styles can trace their history to the early "pre-technology" production of Nebbiolo. Prior to the advent of temperature-controlled fermentation, the late harvest dates for Nebbiolo meant that the wines began fermentation when the weather turned cold. These cool temperatures would delay fermentation for several days, extending the maceration period and extraction of phenolic compounds such as tannins. When fermentation did begin, temperatures would reach excessive levels of 95-100 °F (35-38 °C), which would drastically reduce potential aromas and flavours. With the high levels of tannins, these early Barolos would require five years or more of aging in oak barrels to soften some of the astringency. Lack of understanding of proper hygiene led to less sanitary conditions than what both traditional and modernist producers maintain today. Those conditions led to the development of bacterial infection of cement fermentation tanks and old wood barrels, which contributed to the development of off flavours and potential wine faults that would require at least 24 hours decanting to alleviate.

Today's winemaking for both traditionalists and modernists include strict hygiene controls and the use of some modern winemaking equipment. Rather than fall into one hard-line camp or the other, many producers take a middle ground approach that utilizes some modernist techniques along with traditional winemaking. In general, the traditional approach to Nebbiolo involves long maceration periods of 20 to 30 days and the use of older large botti size barrels. The modern approach to Nebbiolo utilizes shorter maceration periods of 7 to 10 days and cooler fermentation temperatures between 82 and 86 °F (28 and 30 °C) that preserve fruit flavours and aromas. Towards the end of the fermentation period, the cellars are often heated to encourage the start of malolactic fermentation which softens some of Nebbiolo's harsh acidity. Modern winemakers tend to favour smaller barrels of new oak that need only a couple years to soften the tannic grip of the wines. As new oak imparts notes of vanilla, it has the potential to cover up the characteristic rose notes of Nebbiolo.

Alternative Names: Spanna, Picoutener, Chiavennasca

About Barolo

Barolo is a traditional hillside village in the rolling hills of Piedmont, north-western Italy. The vineyards and cantine (wineries) there have long been famous for producing some of Italy's very finest red wines – predominantly from the region's signature grape variety, Nebbiolo. Fragrant, tannic Barolo wine is so revered that it was one of just three wines awarded DOCG status on the day that the classification was introduced in July 1980 (the other two were Brunello di Montalcino and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano).

The Barolo vineyard zone covers the parishes of Castiglione Falletto, Serralunga d'Alba and Barolo itself, and also spreads over into parts of Monforte d'Alba, Novello, La Morra, Verduno, Grinzane Cavour, Diano d'Alba, Cherasco and Roddi. The soils and mesoclimates vary slightly between these communes, creating subtle differences between the wines produced from their vineyards (although it must be remembered that the skills and preferences of the individual winemakers also has significant influence over these differences).

In La Morra and Barolo the soil contains a high concentration of limestone-rich Tortonian marl. The more aromatic, fruitier styles of Barolo typically come from these soil types; La Morra is considered to produce the most perfumed and graceful Barolos, while those from Barolo tend to be a little more complex, and broader-textured.

In Castiglione-Falleto, Serralunga d'Alba and Monforte, the vineyards are planted on looser and less fertile, Helvetian soils, which include both sandstone and limestone. This leads to a brick-coloured wine which is more intense, bigger in structure and requires a longer time to age. Serralunga d'Alba is well structured, long lived and the most tannic of the five, while Castiglione-Falleto is renowned for its full-bodied, rich nature and good balance and aromas. Monforte d'Alba offers rich, concentrated characteristics and a serious intensity.

Despite the differences between the wines from these various terroirs, they all retain the key qualities which define the classic Barolo style; the famous "tar and roses" aroma, a bright ruby colour (which fades to garnet over time), firm tannins, elevated acidity, and relatively high alcohol.

To earn the name Barolo, the wines must undergo at least 38 months' aging prior to commercial release, of which 18 must be spent in barrel (the remainder in bottle). For the added designation of riserva, the total aging time increases to 62 months. As the tannins soften over time, the complexity shows through with hints of earth, truffles and dark chocolate.

Classic Barolos have traditionally required at least 10 years cellaring to tame their tannins. Today, however, some producers are moving towards more "international" styles, with reduced fermentation times (meaning less extraction of colour or tannin from the must), and the use of new French barriques in place of the traditional large wooden casks. This has resulted in a fruitier and more accessible style which is approachable at a much earlier stage in its life. Many believe this modernisation detracts too severely from the classic character of Barolo. Some go so far as to say it makes the wines unrecognisable as Barolo. The ongoing debate between Barolo's modernists and traditionalist has become known as the "Barolo wars".

There are various Barolo vineyards which have achieved a sort of informal "cru" status, based on the official, structured model used in Burgundy. Esteemed winemaker Renato Ratti played a significant role in this, and created a map outlining the various crus: Cannubi, Sarmazza, Brunate, Cerequio, Rocche, Monprivato, Villero, Lazzarito, Vigna Rionda, Bussia, Ginestra and Santo Stefano di Perno.

To the northeast of Barolo, just the other side of Alba, are the vineyards which produce another stellar Nebbiolo wine, Barbaresco.

Regular price $874.00

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