Bruno Rocca Nebbiolo 2016 ~ Barbaresco, Piedmont, Italy
94/100 Mike Bennie
Antonio Galloni, Vinous - “… Bruno Rocca is without question one of the hottest estates in Barbaresco right now. And my feeling is that Francesco Rocca (Bruno’s son and Luisa’s brother) is just getting started.”
Mike Bennie, The Wine Front “Don’t destroy what mother nature has given” says Luisa Rocca, “this is the overarching philosophy at Bruno Rocca”. There’s plenty to back that up, from organic farming (certified, but they don’t broadcast that), hand-harvesting in small baskets, a vibration de-stemmer a recent and expensive addition to ensure gentle handling of fruit. Natural yeast is used to create a bank of mini ferments in each vineyard – this is to ‘inoculate’ from each vineyard source individually, “we wish to preserve the terroir at this level too”.
Bruno Rocca is a family-owned wine estate in Barbaresco. It makes wines from various Piemontese appellations and varieties but is best known for its complex, refined, aromatic Nebbiolo wines from the Barbaresco DOCG. For many decades the family operated a mixed farm, but the modern estate began to take shape in 1958 when the family moved from the centre of Barbaresco to the south of the Rabajà zone and bought some prime vineyards. Grapes were sold to the Barbaresco co-operative until 1978 when Bruno Rocca took over the estate and made the first wines under the family name. In the 1990s, the winery gained an international reputation and began to acquire further vineyards. The winemaking style of Bruno Rocca is generally regarded as being modernist. Barbaresco grapes are fermented in wooden vats, with stainless steel used for other wines. Individual vineyards are vinified separately, with larger vineyards divided into plots.
Nebbiolo is the grape variety behind the top-quality red wines of Piedmont, northwestern Italy, the most notable of which are Barolo and Barbaresco. Nebbiolo wines are distinguished by their strong tannins, high acidity and distinctive scent – often described as "tar and roses". A less obvious characteristic, visible only over time, is their tendency to lose colour. Within just a few years of vintage, most Nebbiolo wines begin fading from deep, violet-tinged ruby to a beautiful brick orange.
Barbaresco is one of the great wines of the Piedmont region in northwestern Italy. Historically it was called Nebbiolo di Barbaresco (Nebbiolo being the grape it's made from) and was used by the Austrian General Melas to celebrate his victory over the French in 1799. Only in the middle of the 19th Century was the wine we know today vinified into a dry style.