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Azienda Agricola Cascina Ca Rossa

Azienda Agricola Cascina Ca’ Rossa

Less hilly than neighbouring Langhe but still with the slopes that provide perfect growing conditions for the vines, Roero is fertile territory for those seeking great wines at affordable prices. Cascina Ca’ Rossa which translates as farmhouse red house, is owned by Angelo Ferrio who gave us a tour of this family winery consisting of 16 hectares of vines and an annual production of around 100,000 bottles. The history of this winery starts in 1967 when Angelo’s father, Alfonso, bought the land. Today, as you walk through the winery you can see all the equipment, stainless steel temperature-controlled vats, large Slovenian oak botti and the small 225 litre French oak barrique, that are the stock-in-trade of the modern Italian winemaker. Angelo works with his son Stefano, who has a degree in oenology, and together they are planning the future of the estate.

The wine that we were tracking down takes its name from the area and has the prized DOCG status. Unusually, it also comes in both red and white versions. We started the tasting with the white Roero Arneis 2019 that Angelo calls Merica. The Arneis grape originated in Piedmont and this is where it is almost exclusively grown, especially around Roero. The wine is fermented and matured in stainless steel before being bottled. The colour is pale straw, and on the nose there is melon and pineapple together with the characteristically buttery sensation that comes from the wine being left on the lees. On the palate there is acidity balanced with a certain salinity and the taste of Bramley cooking apples. I would pair this with stronger fish like swordfish and perhaps white meat like pork.

The regulations governing the production of the red DOCG Roero state it has to have at least 95% Nebbiolo, the famous Piedmont grape, but Angelo prefers to keep it at 100%.  We started with the Valmaggiore Audinaggio 2017. This is a single vineyard wine that has been aged in French barrique of different ages. This is important to avoid the flavours from the wood overwhelming the wine. A bright garnet colour with hints of ruby, the bouquet is full of cherries, vanilla and leather. On the palate it is full of cherries with soft tannins and a balancing acidity.

Next we tried the Le Coste 2016. Aged in Slovenian oak botti this wine has a dark garnet colour with violets, leather, and cherry on the nose. On the palate there are bitter cherries with a touch of salinity and acidity making for a good structure. The tannins are present but soft. I would suggest pairing it with ragu or perhaps mature cheese.

From the Mompissano vineyard comes Angelo’s Roero Riserva and we sampled both the 2016 and 2017. Aged again in the big Slovenian botti, these are dark garnet with hints of ruby in colour with a bouquet of violets and cherries and a hint of cinnamon. 2017 was drier than 2016 and so the wine is slightly more intense in colour. On the palate they fill the mouth with joy and warmth and what can only be described as the taste of a classic English Christmas pudding. The tannins are soft and slightly more noticeable in the 2017 but both are truly delightful – pair them with roast meat or mature cheese.

I left with the feeling of having met a man in perfect balance with what he does, content with making wine the best way he knows how and happy that people appreciate it. If you get the chance to sample Angelo’s wines do not let it slip by.

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