Roberto is such a calm and measured man, but even he could not hide his excitement over his latest 2019 vintage as he arrived in London buoyed by the latest harvest. Fortunately we managed to tear him away from his latest batch of fermenting wines for a flying 24 hour visit to host a special event presenting some of the greatest vintages of his career alongside the first of this season's white truffles and a 5 course dinner prepared by Luca's head chef Robert Chambers.
Roberto Voerzio & Cesare Bussolo
For the event Roberto had selected a very exciting range of wines set over two separate themes. The first tasting was to examine the different single vineyard expressions of each of his Barolos. Roberto's single vineyards are all situated in the sandier soils of La Morra, that typically produce some of the lightest, silkiest Nebbiolos in the region. However, Roberto's low yielding approach means that whilst the wines retain a wonderful elegance and finesse, they also have real compact density to the fruit and impressive structural depth.
Roberto also wanted to show how the profile of each of the different terroirs developed with age, tasting a younger and older wine (between 4 – 10 years difference) from the same vineyard. What became clear is how high the wines are situated on the slope becomes key to the structural tannin profile of the wines. The higher on hill the wines sit, the thinner the top soil, the higher the content of calcareous rock. Torriglione in this case, but also in his La Serra and Fossatti, the wines are less powerful and structurally rich but more mineral and elegant with finer tannins. The Cerequio and Rocche dell’Annunziata in comparison on the lower slopes with more clay soils are richer, denser wines with more underlying power and where the minerality is less present.
Unsurprisingly vintage variation was also a key determining factor. For example the 2006s carry a real blueprint of the vintage across the different terroirs. Being a vintage with a very dry summer, the wines are incredibly powerful, compact and have an extraordinary density, this was present in all the 2006s (Cerequio, Rocche dell’Annunziata and the Fosatti Case Nere Riserva). Combine the power of 2006 and the richer clay slopes of Rocche dell’Annunziate and Cerequio and you have two incredibly powerful, flavourful, complex wines and remained two of the most memorable of the first tasting, though it is worth stating the consistency of quality across all the wines.
The resolution of the tannins, the underlying measured power and the pristine clarity of fruit are testament to the precision at work at every level of Voerzio’s production.
The second tasting was looking at one site spread over six vintages, showing Voerzio’s rarely seen Fossati Case Nere Riserva, a wine released only 10 years after being aged at the winery. Being from higher rockier sites the wine has a vibrant freshness and lovely finesse to the tannins. I also think the aromatic complexity of this wine is really quite special. Starting with the 2009 it was surprisingly one of the most open and seductive, again the 2006 was the most intense and the 2004 beautifully measured and drinking perfectly.
The final flight was served over a 5 course meal including the season’s first white truffles that just arrived from Barolo in time for the event. Following the tasting and dinner guests were treated to another masterclass by cigar expert Paola Paolillo, who presented a selection of finest Cuban cigars of various ages, served alongside our very own Cubana rum on ice. It was an epic evening only to be relived the following day with a extensive tasting of the 2015 vintage with the F+R team back at our London HQ.
The terroir masterclass
Illustrations capturing the night sketched on the night by Stewart Walton
Full tasting Notes of the Fossati Case Nere Riserva
The 2009 is bursting with opulent rich, ripe, red berry fruit aromas, beautifully contrasted with light dried floral lift with some sweet liquorice spice. The palate is powerful and rich – amazing density on the palate for a Nebbiolo, yet beautifully balanced with vibrant acidity, juicy tannins and ripe red cherry fruit. Already so expressive it is the most sumptuous of the 3 wines.
The 2008 has the most beguiling aromatic complexity, a bountiful array of rose petal, wild flowers, fresh aniseed, dried spice. The tannins are beautifully integrated bringing a multilayered textural richness to the wine. The fruit is less opulent than the ’09, with the fruit sitting perfectly alongside dried floral notes, dry earth and spice notes. Compared to the 2009 the wine has a more lighter ethereal touch. The length is long and complex and will develop beautifully over the next 10 years.
The 2007 has a wonderful concentration yet remains the most compact and potentially longest living of the three. Great density to the palate with plenty of dry extract and great fruit purity of dried cherry and dark berry fruits as the light perfume and dry earth notes add complexity and nuance to the palate. Amazing length and true to Voerzio’s style, the tannins are both structural and incredibly fine.
The 06s are really the most dense, powerful, compact and richest wines from Voerzio over the last ten years of releases, creating wines that will age for decades. Despite the intensity, the wine retains wonderful balance of bright acids, integrated structural tannins and lovely dark berry fruit and aniseed spice. It’s the power of this wine that is so extraordinary
Currently one of the favourite cuvees in the Voerzio household, the 2004 has developed into a beautiful expression of Riserva Barolo. Bramble fruits, floral lift, plenty of dried earth and spice and structural tannins that give the wine a wonderful breadth. Texture wise the tannins have melted into the fruit giving the wine a very even balance on the palate. Drinking beautifully.