Wine style: 100% Nebbiolo. Perfumed, elegant and food friendly, at the peak of its drinking window.
Region: Montà, Roero DOCG, Piedmont, Italy
Vines age: 30 years old
Winemaking: 2 weeks skin-maceration, aged 10 months in 50% new barrique and 12 months in big neutral oak cask before bottling
Production Volume: Around 7,000 bottles per annum
When Nebbiolos of Piedmont are discussed, besides Barolo and Barbaresco, most wine lovers will mention the simple Langhe Nebbiolo DOC, or wine regions such as Ghemme DOCG, Gattinara DOCG, and Carema DOC which are over 150 km away from Barolo.
It is therefore surprising for us that the red wines of the Roero region (simply called Roero DOCG) are often forgotten given its high quality and the fact that it is located just less than 50 km away from Barolo and Barbaresco!
In fact, many of you may have already enjoyed wines from the Roero region without knowing it: Bruno Giacosa's Nebbiolo d'Alba and Luciano Sandrone's Valmaggiore Nebbiolo d’Alba are both DOC wines sourced from this region.
Giovanni Almondo's "Bric Valdiana" is considered to be one of the top wines in the Roero DOCG and therefore an essential wines to try to fully understand the world of Nebbiolo wines.
We imported this lot of wines directly from the winery in 2014 but at that time it is obvious that the 2011 vintage will benefit with more time in the cellar. After 4 years, it is finally entering the peak of its drinking window now. While no one expect Bric Valdiana to challenge a top Barolo or Barbaresco in terms of power and ageability, what this wine offers is pure Nebbiolo charm, elegance, and drinkability with its pleasing tannins.
There are only 5 DOCG for Nebbiolo wines in Piedmont: Barolo and Barbaresco (100% Nebbiolo), Roero (>95% Nebbiolo), Gattinara (>90% Nebbiolo), and Ghemme (>85% Nebbiolo).
Roero is located North of Alba and the Tanaro river. When compared with Barolo and Barbaresco, Roero is on average higher in elevation, and its soils have much more sand and less limestone in their geological formations. These factors combined to give Nebbiolos in Roero more delicate structures and more perfumed aromas when compared with their Langhe counterparts.
It is easy to generalize Roero as a white wine region because of the reputation of Roero Arneis DOCG (arguably the best white wine in Piedmont), but this generalization neglected the terroir diversity of the region:
Bric Valdiana is located in the Montà region, where the village is clearly divided into a northern half composed of sandy terrain, rocky and distinctly acidic, and a southern half which is more calcareous and rich in plant nutrients. In the North-West part of the region, at almost 400 meters of altitude, the soil is 80% sandy, acidic (5.5 pH) and very draining. This is the ideal terroir for Arneis.
At lower altitudes, the sandy soils are older (3.5 millions year) and full of fossils. When this terroir is mixed with limestone and clay, you can find the perfect condition for more structured, imposing Nebbiolos. The altitude of the full South facing Bric Valdiana vineyard is 320 meters, and the soil is 65% sand, 20% limestone, 15% clay. This is the best terroir to make great Nebbiolos.
"Although it is now politically incorrect to say so, it is also well known that producers in Barolo and Barbaresco often bought Nebbiolo grapes here (Roero) during a previous era when regulations were practically nonexistent." Antonio Galloni, Vinous
"In Roero, a significant historic agricultural richness has been preserved, and not only in viticulture. Here, Nebbiolo is distinguished for its finesse and elegance and we, like those in the past who were also proud and convinced, wish that our Valmaggiore wine expresses all the grace and refinement of Nebbiolo." Luciano Sandrone
Sweet red fruits, peppers, spices. Good oak integration.
Some aged characteristics on the palate, smooth but structural.
Finishes with lingering tannins and skins of ripe plums.
It pairs well with various cold-cut dishes, pastas with tomato sauces, and as we have discovered, it works very well with a range of spicy dishes because of its supple fruits, lower levels of tannin, and elegant structure.
"Almondo's flagship 2011 Roero Bric Valdiana offers lovely depth and resonance. Dark red cherry, pomegranate, spice, cedar and leather overtones all flesh out in the glass. Supple and open-knit in personality, the 2011 is an excellent choice for drinking over the next handful of years. The new French barrels are evident, but the wine has enough stuffing to handle the oak." 91/100 Antonio Galloni, Vinous