I am at “Nebbiolo nel Cuore“, perhaps the most important event in the capital city Rome, dedicated to the noble vine Nebbiolo, an event organised by the “Riserva Grande” agency. Many people and producers are there, including some friends, so I stop at the Aurelio Settimo’s stall, a renound winery that operates in the municipality of La Morra.
The winery produces Barolo Rocche dell’Annunziata, which not only is the name of the important hamlet of the municipality, but is one of the Grand Cru of the entire Barolo region. Aurelio Settimo can be my only reference point as producer for this important terroir. So, I had the chance to taste three different vintages of Barolo Rocche dell’Annunziata – including the 2016 Riserva –in the company of Davide Boasso, who is Tiziana Settimo’s son, the latter is the owner of the winery, and the daughter of the winery’s founder Aurelio.
The vineyard stretches for just under seven hectares, of which almost six are planted with Nebbiolo for Barolo production. Over half of the hectares are located in Rocche dell’Annunziata, around the winery. The soil consists of sedimentary rocks composed of clay, sand and limestone, also known as Sant’Agata Marls. The vineyard has south-southwest exposure at an altitude of about 300 meters above sea level.
In addition to the territory that allows the production of one of the most famous Barolo, the productive philosophy is worthy of a mention; it is focused on the highest attention to the quality of the product, respecting the tradition as a whole, and keeping unchanged the personality of Nebbiolo.
I will now tell you all about the wine tasting.
Barolo Rocche dell’Annunziata 2019
The winter season lasted until February and caused a rainfull and low temperatures until mid-March. The vegetative growth was regular with plenty of rainfall and considerable water storage in the soil. After a heat peak between late June and early July, a second heatwave started in late July and ended with typical late summer storms. Harvest of Nebbiolo begun in late September, with a slight drop in volume, to the benefit of quality and balance. The wine of this vintage aged for 18 months in barrels.
It is a garnet red Barolo with shiny ruby glows that shows a wide olfactory spectrum on the nose. It opens with fruity and spicy aromas of small red fruits, followed by nutmeg and cloves. The typical notes of violet emerge, and are followed by tobacco, forest floor, licorice and mint. It is full bodied, with high tannins and remarkable acidity, a sign of the youthfulness of the sample. The wine has a long aftertaste on balsamic tones. This is a wine that should mature a little longer in the cellar.
Barolo Rocche dell’Annunziata 2018
After the long winter until early March, with below-average temperatures, bud burst was uniform without late spring frosts. Several storms occurred between the end of May and the beginning of June that created some challenges in the vineyard management. Both flowering and fruit sets were completed successfully due to the optimal conditions. The summer had high temperatures and stable weather, so the ripening of the grapes happened at the typical times, with Nebbiolo harvested at the beginning of October.
This wine is of a bright garnet colour, with an alluring transparency. On the nose, the fruity hints of blueberries and black cherry are combined with balsamic and sweet spices notes, Kentucky tobacco and forest floor add an extra layer of aroma, enhancing the complexity of the wine. In the mouth the wine shows youthful tannins and a great freshness. The finish has a long minty and mineral aftertaste. It is a classic Barolo that could improve its quality even more if left in the bottle, as per the previous sample.
Barolo Rocche dell’Annunziata Riserva 2016
The 2016 vintage had a very long vegetative cycle. The early winter mild temperatures, were followed by plenty of rainfall, which encouraged important water storage in the soil. The late cold temperatures during the season caused a vegetative and phenological delay that lasted until the end of summer. The harvest took place in mid-October and gave an excellent quality grapes, both from a technological and phenological point of view. The weather overall was exceptional. The wine spent 28 months in barrels and 12 months in bottle. , being a Riserva
The wine is of deep garnet colour, and immediately shows a rare wide range of aromas. I noticed intense balsamic notes at the beginning, followed by tertiary hints of leather, roasted coffee, dark spices, licorice and cherries in spirit. The wine is full bodied in the mouth, with tannins that are starting to integrate with the body of the wine and the very high acidity. The finish is very long with mineral notes. This wine still has a long life ahead of it.
These are excellent quality Barolos, although overall still very young. They show the characteristics of a great terroir, Rocche dell’Annunziata that once again shows all its value.