Angelo Ferrio, a very engaging man, is the owner of Cascina Ca’Rossa in Roero, south of Turin. Angelo very kindly gave us a tour of this family winery and explained they now have an estate of 16 hectares of vines and an annual production of around 100,000 bottles of wine. As you walk through the winery, you can see all the equipment, stainless steel temperature controlled vats, large Slovenian oak botti and the small 225l French oak barrique, that are the stock-in-trade of the modern Italian winemaker. Angelo now works with his son Stefano, who has a degree in oenology, and I am pleased to report that at the moment they are both singing from the same hymn sheet on the future of the business.
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 Granny Smith cooking apples. I would pair this with stronger fish like swordfish and perhaps pork.
The regulations governing the production of the red DOCG Roero state it has to be at least 95% Nebbiolo, the famous Piedmont grape, but Angelo prefers to keep it at 100%. We started with the Valmaggiore Audinaggio 2017, an intense and full-bodied wine. 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 packed with cherries, jam, dried flowers and oriental spices. 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 and on the palate there bitter cherries with a touch of salinity and acidity making for a good structure. The tannins are present but soft. This is a well-structured and well-balanced wine. I would suggest pairing it with ragu or perhaps mature cheese.
From the Mompissano vineyard comes Angelo’s Roero Riserva and we sampled the 2016. Aged again in the big Slovenian botti, this dark garnet in colour with a bouquet of violets, raisins, and cherries with a hint of cinnamon. On the palate it fills the mouth with joy and warmth and what can only be described as the taste of a classic English Christmas pudding. It has mature, polished tannins and a good finish. Truly delightful - pair it with roasted meat or mature cheese.