The key to understanding Roagna’s wine is their insistence upon biodiverse old vineyards whose plants are only green harvested up to 15 years. Harvests tend to be more protracted than their neighbors, while cuvaisons in large conical French Garbellotto bottes also outstrip the norm.
But overcoming constraint can only create a thing of genius and beauty. The Roagna family has codified their wine growing and winemaking philosophy in a 10-point Manifesto. It all distills down to respect for the grape and what nature has provided, and the will to adhere to minimal human intervention in the vine-to-wine transformation process.
Roagna’s vineyards are in the best and most protected Piemontese crus of Asili, Crichët Pajè, Pajè, and Montefico in Barbaresco, and Pira and Carso in the Barolo village of Castiglione Falletto.
Kerin O’Keefe, wine critic, writer, and author of Barolo and Barbaresco (University of California Press, 2014) counts Roagna as among her favorite Barbarescos. She reckons Roagna’s Barbaresco Asili is Barbaresco’s equivalent of Chambolle-Musigny Les Charmes. O’Keefe also extolls Crichët Pajè as the calling card of Roagna. Issuing from one of the smallest parcels of Roagna’s holdings, but that which has the highest concentration of limestone, Roagna Crichët Pajè is only produced in the greatest vintages.
Ian D’Agata, wine author and Decanter contributing editor, says the best Barbaresco cru is in this singular Pajè (Italy’s Native Wine Grape Terroirs, University of California Press, 2019).
Wine Enthusiast gave 100 points each to two Roagna Barolos: the 2006 Pira Riserva Barolo and 2016 Pira Vecchie Viti Barolo. The rating acknowledges the graceful blend of elegance, intensity and depth of flavors resulting from great vintages.
It isn’t a big wonder why Roagna easily figures in cult wine discussions. Born out of multi-generationally enduring passion, genius, and discipline (almost just a thin guise for borderline madness) — from grandfather Giovanni, father Alfredo and son Luca — Nebbiolo meets its match in the fastidious care of the family that successfully coaxes out this grape’s pinnacle expressions and exceedingly does justice the conferred nobility of Barolo and Barbaresco among Italian wines.
The day a Roagna bottle is uncorked is an avidly anticipated one. It is otherwise, and in the meantime, kept as a wise and coveted investment by enthusiasts and collectors. Premium Wine Exchange is glad to carry Roagna Barolo and Barbaresco, although quantities are limited.