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Roberto Voerzio: The Importance
Described by Robert Parker as “one of the most fanatical producers I have ever met”, Roberto Voerzio has been creating a range of wines in his unique style from the best sites of La Morra in Piemonte since the 1980s.
Voerzio places quality above all else at his estate. He ensures this in the vineyard by planting at extremely high densities, with green harvesting, pruning and leaf thinning all being practiced in the vineyard, the combination of which leads to the lowest yields in all of the region, about half the yield necessary for what would be considered an exceptional quality wine. If he does not deem the quality of one of his wines to meet his strict standards in a particular vintage, he will not release it at all, choosing to prioritise quality over financial returns. This was the case in 2003 when some of the wines did not complete fermentation and he chose not to release them, resulting in no Barolo La Serra or Barolo Rocche dell’Annunziata being produced in this vintage.
Roberto Voerzio: The Insight
Certain elements of Voerzio’s style – such as the lighter, less powerfully tannic nature of his wines and his use of small French oak barriques – has led some to consider him to be a modern winemaker. However, Voerzio often remains loyal to traditional methods, such as macerating his grapes for approximately 15 days. The 2007 was also the last vintage where all the wine was aged exclusively in French oak barriques, and since 2008, Voerzio has returned to the more traditional ageing method that he had used up until 1993, which was to age his wine in equal parts cask and French oak. Despite the debate as to whether Voerzio’s style is more traditional or modern, Parker believes that Voerzio’s wine is “pure and expressive in a style that is neither modern nor traditional, these are wines that reflect the highly individual style of their maker as well as the profound voice of La Morra’s finest sites.”
The estate owns or manages about 8.5 hectares of vineyards in some of the most respected single vineyard sites in La Morra including Brunate, Cerequio, Capalot and La Serra which are all sourced to produce single vineyard Barolo’s, along with two Barbera d’Alba’s, a Dolcetto d’Alba, a Langhe Merlot and a Langhe Nebbiolo.
Antonio Galloni rates the 2010 Barolo Cerequio 99 points and writes that it “is a stunner. Deep, layered and absolutely impeccable, the 2010 wraps around the palate with serious intensity and never lets up. In 2010 the Cerequio is surprisingly powerful, with darker tonalities of fruit and more spice notes than normal. The sweet, silky Cerequio tannins are there, but there is a volume and breadth in the 2010 that is impossible to miss. This is a breathtaking Barolo from Roberto and Davide Voerzio.”
Of the 2012 Barolo Sarmassa which he rates at 99 points, James Suckling writes that it “possesses terrific aromas of pure strawberries and orange peel. Spanish-cedar undertones. Full body and a perfect balance of ripe fruit, hints of lemon and orange peel. Undertones of milk chocolate. Vibrant finish.”
Voerzio’s other wines are extremely highly regarded especially his Barbera which is likely the most highly regarded in the region. Antonio Galloni awarded the 2004 Barbera d’Alba Riserva Vigneto Pozzo dell’Annunziata 95 points, writing: “The 2004 Barbera d’Alba Riserva Pozzo dell’Annunziata (from magnum) explodes from the glass with layers of vibrant black cherries, plums, violets, smoke, minerals and sweet toasted oak. It is a restrained, cool Barbera Pozzo, yet it offers outstanding purity of expression, with silky, finessed tannins that caress the palate in an extraordinary display of elegance that transcends varietal. Voerzio also opened a bottle of the 2003, which he prefers, for comparison. It may be the more pleasurable wine today, but the 2004 is a notch or two above when it comes to potential. The 2004 saw 16 months of oak versus the 2003, which spent two years in oak. Anticipated maturity: 2010-2019.”
Some of the best vintages at this estate have been 1996, 1997, 2000, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2010.
Roberto Voerzio: The Background
The estate was formed in the 1980’s when Roberto inherited 5 hectares of his fathers’s vineyards. His brother Gianni also makes wine nearby, although in a more traditional style. The estate is now run by Roberto and his son Davide.
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