Category Archives: Cogno- Marcarini

Tasting Six “Tre Bicchieri” Wines

Walking around the Gambero Rosso Tre Bicchieri Tasting, an annual event, I was pleased to see a number of wines that I like that were chosen for their highest award.

Malvasia Istriana Collio 2012 DOC 100% Malvasia Istriana Ronco dei Tassi (Friuli) IMG_4828

A little background on this first winery.  When I was the wine director for I Trulli Restaurant in NYC, I went every year to Vinitaly, the wine fair in Verona, with Nicola the owner of the restaurant.  We became friendly with a producer from Friuli and always visited him.  He shared his booth with another producer from Friuli, Ronco dei Tassi.  The Coser Family, who owned Ronco dei Tassi, were very nice and  we would also taste their wines.  However, it was embarrassing because we did not like the wine. This went on for a few years. Then one year we tried the wines and were amazed at how good they had become! We tasted through their entire line and liked them so much that Nicola decided to import them. Today they are among the best wines made in Friuli.

There are 1.2 acres of 60-year old vines 650 feet above sea level in the heart of the Collio zone near Cormons. After a vigorous selection and soft pressing, the wine is fermented in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks using selected yeasts. The wine is bottled in the spring 6 months after the harvest. There are only 3,000 bottles produced.

Greco di Tufo “Cutizzi” 2012 DOCG Feudi Di San Gregorio (Irpinia,Campania)

Maurizio De Rosa

Maurizio De Rosa

As I was walking around I saw Maurizio de Rosa, North American representative for Feudi Di San Gregorio pouring wines. I had not spoken to Maurizio in some time and stopped to catch up and to taste the wines. I always enjoy speaking to Maurizio because he is very knowledgeable on the subject of Italian wines, the wines of Campania and Taurasi in particular.

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The Cutizzi vineyard is in Santa Paolina. The vines are 15 years old and they are at 1,600 ft. There is a southwest exposure and there are 4,500 vines per hectare. The soil is deep, finely textured, moderately alkaline and very calcareous. Harvest is in mid October. The grapes are destemmed and undergo a gentle pressing, followed by a cold settling for 48 hours. Fermentation is in stainless steel tanks. The wine is aged on the lees for 4 months in stainless steel tanks with daily batonnage (stirring of the lees).  After 2 months in bottle the wine is released. The wine has hints of peaches, pears, white flowers and a touch of spearmint. There is crisp acidity, minerality and a hint of almonds in the finish. The winery was started in 1986 and I visited there a few years ago. It is very impressive and has a very good restauran

Chianti Classico Estate Riserva 2009 DOCG Badia a Coltibuono (Tuscany) made from 90% Sangiovese and 10% Canaiolo.IMG_4818

I first went to the winery in 1983 and remember drinking the 1978 Chianti Classico  Riserva at the restaurant on the property. I have been drinking it ever since.

Emanuela Stucchi Prinetti was pouring her wines and I see her often at tasting in NYC.

Emanuela Strucchio Prinrtti

Emanuela Strucchi Prinetti

The grapes are organically grown and vinified using natural yeast. The winery has minimal environmental impact, they use gravity flow, manual grape sorting, and the destemmed fruit goes to the fermentation tanks and vats for separate vinification.  There is a piston cap punch-down system and maturation is mostly in large casks and not in small barrels.

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This is the 1982 vintage- my last bottle

Barolo Villero Riserva 2006  DOCG100% Nebbiolo, the Michet clone. Vietti (Piedmont)

I first met Alfredo and Luciana Currado owners of the Vietti winery in 1981 when I went to visit them. We became good friends and I saw them often in Italy and in NY. The winery is now in the capable hands of their son Luca.

The vineyard is in Castiglione Falletto and has a south/southwest exposure. The average age of the vines is 37 years. After alcoholic fermentation in stainless steel tanks for 19 days, the wine is macerated on the skins for a total of 33 days.  The wine is then immediately transferred into small barrels to undergo malolactic fermentation. It is then aged for a period of time in 30HL casks. The wine is bottled without filtration.

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Lost the picture of the 2008

Barolo “Bricco Pernice” DOCG 2008. Cogno (Piedmont)

I have been a big fan of the Cogno-Marcarini wines ever since Sheldon Wasserman introduced me to them. Elvio Cogno now has his own winery and the winemaker is his very talented son-in-law Walter Fassore. Walter makes traditional classic Barolo.  I have visited the winery a number of times and have met with Walter here in NYC.

Made from a sub-variety of Nebbiolo called Lampia. The vineyard is 300 meters above sea level with 5000 vines per hectare and faces southward. The grapes are from the finest vineyards in Novello, in the most historic part of the Ravera cru. Harvest is in October. Fermentation in stainless steel temperature controlled tanks with pumping over and 30 days maceration with submerged cap. It is aged for 24 months in large Slovenian oak barrels 25/30 HL. It remains on the lees for 90 days and spends12 months in bottle before it is released. This is a classic, traditional Barolo; well structured and elegant and is going to need a lot of time to develop.

Coevo Toscana IGT 2010 Cecchi (Tuscany)

Andrea Cecchi

Andrea Cecchi

Someone I have known for a number of years and enjoy seeing and talking to is the very personable Andrea Cecchi. We always have discussions on the changing wine scene in Tuscany and what is going on in the American market. He was very pleased when I told him that Coevo was a Super Tuscan I could drink and enjoy.IMG_4839

The area of production is Castellina in Chianti, for the Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon and the Maremma Toscana for the Merlot and the Petit Verdot.

Made from 60% Sangiovese, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot and 15% Petit Verdot. At Castellina in Chianti the vineyards were at 200mt and in the Maremma at 250mt.  The soil and climate are very different in these two regions and certain grapes did better in different zones.

There are 5,000 plants per hectare and the vine training is spurred cordon. The grapes are picked by hand, the Merlot is harvested from August 23, Petit Verdot from September 12,Sangiovese from September 25, and Cabernet Sauvignon from October 5

Fermentation is in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks. The alcoholic fermentation takes place with the skins.  Maceration is for 3 weeks for the Cabernet Sauvignon and 2 weeks for the Merlot and Sangiovese. The wine is aged in barriques and tonneaux for 18 months and in bottle for 12 months before release.

There is no sign of vanilla or over concentration, the calling cards of Super Tuscans. It is a balanced, elegant wine with red fruit, violet and earthy aromas and flavors and a hint of pepper. It has a long finish and pleasing aftertaste. The wine needs a few more years to develop.

 

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Filed under Badia a Coltibuono, Barolo, Cecchi, Cogno- Marcarini, Gambero Rosso, Italian Red Wine, Italian White Wine, Italian Wine, Malvasia, Ronco dei Tassi, Vietti

Barolo, Barbaresco and Pre-Phylloxera Barbera

The Elvio Cogno Winery, situated on the top of Bricco Ravera, a hill near Novello in the Langhe region of Piedmont, is a favorite destination of mine when I am in the area.  I visit there not only for the wines, but also because Valter Fissore and his wife Nadia are very gracious hosts. Nadia is the daughter of the legendary Elvio Cogno.

Valter and Nadia

Valter and Nadia

Valter was in NYC recently and invited me to a tasting of his wines and lunch at Felidia restaurant.

For more information on the Cogno Winery https://charlesscicolone.wordpress.com/2010/12/20/a-unique-white-and-traditional-barolo-at-the-elvio-cogno-winery/

The WinesIMG_3029

Barbera d’Alba “PRE-Phylloxera” DOC. Made from 100% Barbera. Valter said that the vineyard is over 120 years old. He rents the vineyard, which is situated in Berri close to La Morra. The vineyard is only 3,400 square meters. The vines are vertically trellised and Guyot pruned and the vineyard is at 520 meters. The grapes are harvested in the beginning of October. The wine is fermented in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks with automatic pump over. Aging takes place for 12 months in large Slavonia oak casks and another 6 months of bottle age before release. Only 1,800 bottles are produced.

This is an elegant well-balanced wine with hints of raspberry, strawberry and cherry and a touch of spice. It is a Barbera that will age. I was very impressed with this wine. $60

Valter explained that the vines come from pre-grafted plants propagated by cuttings that they have maintained over many years and therefore they have the original Barbera characteristics. The terrain is sandy-chalk, which is a natural protection for the vines from phylloxera.

Valter said that this wine was something he always wanted to do and it is also a tribute to his father-in-law, Elvio Cogno, who made a pre-phylloxera Dolcetto d’Alba “Boschi di Berri” when he was at the Marcarini Winery.IMG_3022

Barbaresco “Bordini” DOCG made from Lampia, a sub-variety of Nebbiolo. The vineyard is at 250 meters and the vine training is vertical trellised with Guyot pruning. The vineyard is in Neive. The harvest takes place at the end of September. Vinification is in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks with automatic pump over. The post-fermentation maceration is for 20 days with submerged cap.

The wine remains on the lees for 60 days. Ageing is for 12/14 months in large Slovenian oak barrels and it is in bottle six months before release. $43

Valter spoke about the three main clones of Nebbiolo: Lampia, Michet and Rosè. He said that the nurseries in Italy were now producing vines that are a combination of all three, taking the best characteristics if each. They would be mostly Lampia with some Michet and a little Rosè. He also pointed out that because of natural pollenization, this may be happening in his own vineyards.IMG_3026

Barolo Cascina Nuova DOCG 100% Nebbiolo (Lampia & Michet) The vineyard is at 380 meters with a southern exposure. It is the youngest vineyard. There are 4,000 plants per hectare and the vines are vertical trellised with Guyot pruning. The harvest takes place in October. Vinification is in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks with automatic pumping over and a maceration of 30 to 40 days. The wine is aged in 40HL oak barrels for 2 years and in bottle for another 6 months before release.

Valter said that 2009 was one of his favorite vintages because it has a lot of fruit and is more approachable. $43IMG_3024

Barolo “Bricco Pernice” DOCG 2006 100%.  It is made from a sub-variety of Nebbiolo called Lampia. The vineyard is 300 meters above sea level with 5000 vines per hectare and faces southward. The grapes are from the finest vineyards in Novello, in the most historic part of the Ravera cru. Harvest is in October. Fermentation in stainless steel temperature controlled tanks with pumping over and 30 days maceration with submerged cap. It is aged for 24 months in large Slovenian oak barrels 25/30 HL. It remains on the lees for 90 days and spends12 months in bottle before it is released. This is a well-structured and elegant Barolo. 9,000 bottles were produced. $85IMG_3028

Barolo “Vigna Elena” Riserva DOCG 2008. This wine is made from 100% Rosè, a sub-variety of Nebbiolo. Valter said he is one of the few to do a Barolo with 100% Rosè. The vineyards are 380 feet above sea level and face southward. There are 4,000 vines per hectare. The vineyard is 1 hectare. The harvest is in October and the grapes are fermented in stainless steel temperature controlled tanks with automatic pump-over with a post fermentation maceration of 30 days and a submerged cap. The wine is aged for 36 months in 40HL Slovenian oak barrels. Valter said the he only uses native yeasts. The wine is left on the lees for 60 days, and undergoes 12 months bottle aging before it is released. Valter pointed out that this wine is only made in great vintages. He also said that 2008 was an excellent year and it made a very traditional style Barolo. The wine has typical Nebbiolo aromas of roses, tobacco and a hint of liquorice. 5, 000 bottles produced. $90

When it comes to Barbareso and Barolo Valter is a traditionalist. He feels that a long maceration makes the tannins softer and is necessary to make a complex wine with all the necessary aromas and flavors. He will only use botte grande. Barriques extract too much from the wood into the wine and he would not use them for Barolo or Barbaresco.IMG_3025

Barolo “Ravera” DOCG 2000. It is made from the Lampia and Michet, sub varieties of Nebbiolo. The vineyard is 380 feet meter above sea level, with 4,000 vines per hectare and faces southward. Fermentation in stainless steel temperature controlled tanks with automatic pump over, maceration for 30 days with submerged cap and on the lees for 90 days. 24 months of aging in 25/30HL Slovenian oak barrels and six months in bottle before it is released. He called Ravera the most important Cru in Novello and went on to say that the mostly calcareous soil (classic blue clay) of this vineyard adds elegance and structure to the wine, making it ideal for aging. 15,000 bottles produced. $N/A I had tasted this wine from the barrel when I visited the winery two years ago. The barrel sample was very Pinot Noir like but now it is pure Nebbiolo.

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Filed under Barbaresco, Barolo, Cogno- Marcarini, Pre-Phylloxera Barbera, Walter Fissore

Barolo Specialists Present and Past: Walter Fissore and Elvio Cogno

For many years Elvio Cogno was the winemaker for the Podari Marcarini in La Mora. His Barolo from the La Serra and Brunate Vineyards were exceptional. I can still remember a 1971 Brunate that I enjoyed with the late wine writer Sheldon Wasserman who introduced me to Cogno-Marcarini Barolo.  The 1971 was everything a great Barolo should be.  The aroma of white truffles seemed to fill the room.  In 1990 Elvio Cogno left Marcarini and started his own winery called Azienda Agricola Cogno in Novello.  Here is the link to an article I wrote when I visited the winery  http://wp.me/p8Gp4-gi “A Unique White and Traditional Barolo at the Elvio Cogno Winery.”

Elvio’s son-in-law Valter Fissore is now the winemaker for the Cogno winery.  Over the years, I have gotten to know Valter and his wife Nadia.  I would see them often at Vinitaly and have visited them at the winery, most recently in November 2010.

Valter Fissore holding the Barolo Ravera 2008

Since Valter would be in New York City for the Gambero Rosso “Three Glasses” tasting recently, I asked him if we could meet. He invited me to visit with him and taste some of his wines, including four Barolos.

The Elvio Cogno Wines of Walter Fissore.

We spoke about Barolo Valters favorite subject.

Valter said that his vineyards have all three subvarities of Nebbiolo: Michet, Lampia and Rose but he does not use all three in any one of his wines.

He feels that 2008 was a great vintage because it was a very cold winter and the harvest took place on October 20th.  The wines have a higher PH than other vintages but also good acidity. Walter felt that that 2008 would make well balanced elegant wines.

Barolo Cascin Nuova 2008 DOCG made from 100% Nebbiolo. The vineyard is 1.5 hectares and is facing south. There are 4,000 plants per hectare and they are vertical trellised with Guyot pruning. Vinification takes place in temperature controlled stainless steel stainless steel tanks with automatic pump over. The wine is aged in large oak casks for two years and six months in bottle before release. Valter said that this was a Barolo from young vines and one that could be easily enjoyed and understood and is ready to drink sooner.

Barolo Ravera 2008 DOCG made from Lampia and Michet. I tasted this wine from the barrel when I was at the winery in November 2010. It reminded me of Pinot Noir. When I tasted it this time from the bottle it was much less Pinot Noir like and was developing into a great Barolo. Valter said that this was a traditional Barolo in the style of Elvio Cogno, powerful and elegant. I believe this is Valter’s favorite.

Brico Pernice 2007 DOCG made from100% Lampia. This Valter called a Classic Barolo.  It is more tannic and needs more time to be ready. I tasted this wine last year and it has not developed much.

Barolo IGNAELENA 2006 made from 100% Rose- the label for this wine was made by Valter and Nadia’s daughter when she was a young child. This was my favorite.

Valter said that he is primarily a producer of Barolo and he produces Barolo without compromise. He produces a Barolo as it should be and not for the international market.   I find his Barolos to be balanced with elegance and finesse and to be some of the best produced today.

The Cogno-Marcarini wines from the Brunate Vineyar

That night we had dinner with Valter at the home of mutual friends.  Valter brought a Barolo Brunate Riserva 1986 DOC 100% Nebbiolo Cogno Marcarini, a classic Barolo with flavors and aromas of faded roses, licorice, tar, tobacco and a hint of cherry. It is a soft, well-balanced elegant wine.

About once a month, I meet with a group of friends for lunch.

When they heard I had had dinner with Valter and drank the 1986, they brought some of their older vintages of Cogno- Marcarini Barolo “Brunate” 1978, 1974, 1967 and 1964 to the lunch.

Enjoying these wines once again, I thought of Sheldon Wasserman and decided to look them up in his book, Italy’s Noble Red Wines.  Of the 1974 vintage in general, which he rates 2+ stars, he wrote, “… the vintage has not lived up to its expectations, though without question a few splendid wines were made.”  When he tasted the Cogno – Marcarini 1974 in 1984, he wrote, “Floral bouquet recalls tobacco and cherry, soft with a tannic vein, a shade astringent but still in all very good.”

The bottle of 1974 that I had at lunch must have been one of the “splendid wines”.  It had the best color of all the old wines and seemed to be almost young with many years ahead of it! It had the typical Nebbiolo aromas and flavors of faded roses, tobacco, licorice mature red fruit and a hint of white truffles and a great finish and aftertaste. It may be the best 1974 Barolo that I have ever drunk!

Wasserman gave the 1978 vintage 3 stars. He said that the 1978 Cogno- Marcarini Brunate tasted in 1981 from barrel had “Expansive aromas recalling raspberries and mushrooms, well structured, has style, balance, flavor and elegance; very well made, classic impressive”. He gave the wine 3 stars (possible 4).

At lunch, the 1978 took a long time to open up but once it did was showing very well but not as well as the 1974.

The 1967 vintage received 2+ stars. Wasserman tasted the 1967 Cogno Marcarini Brunate in 1985, gave it 4 stars and said  “… expansive, perfumed bouquet; firm tannic vein, texture of liquid velvet, a complex wine, elegant and stylish; very ready but there’s no rush to drink.”

The wine I had at lunch was showing its age. The color was a very light orange and it had flavors and aromas of a very old Barolo.  The wine was still drinkable but was not going to last much longer.

Wasserman gave the 1964 vintage 3 stars. He did not have tasting notes for the Cogno Marcarini Brunate 1964.

The 1964 Cogno Marcarini was much like the 1967 only it had a little more life. One point I have to make is that both the 1967 and 1964 tasted much better with the pizza we had for lunch. I love pizza Margarita and Barolo.

I am sure that if I tasted the 1978, 1967 and 1964 from different bottles the results would not be the same.  I am a firm believer that there are no great wines only great bottles of wine.

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Filed under Barolo, Cogno- Marcarini, Elvio Cogno, Italian Red Wine, Italian Wine, Piedmont, Piemonte, Valter Fissore