Our friend from Denmark, Birger Vejrum, organised a wine tasting lunch at La Trompette sand, inevitably, I couldn't resist. On arrival at midday, there were 14 wines to taste, all from Roero producers, ranging from white wines made from the indigenous Arneis grape, through Barberas and Nebbiolos to Roero reds (also from Nebbiolo). Five producers were represented including Fabrizio Battaglino and Filippo Gallino.
There were just two whites, both with the Roero designation: a 2011 from Ca'Rossa had immediate appeal whereas Fabrizio's 2010 showed more mineral complexity and potential to age and develop over four or five years.
The Barbera grape was represented by Ca'Rossa whose 2009 "Mulassa" is very fruity with quite a rich nose but was quickly put in the shade by Gallino's 2007 Superiore with its structure and depth of fruit which had more complexity (undergrowth etc). Maybe this will have to be added to my next shopping list.
A few Nebbiolo d'Alba wines next. Not quite a level playing field, perhaps, as Fabrizio's 2010 Colla coulld bear a Roero label but he has always marketed it as Nebbiolo d'Alba. Quite simply, this was my wine of the tasting with a lovely rounded nose, fleshier than the previous vintage (2008 - the vineyard was devastated in 2009) and lovely depth of fruit. I passed on my compliments to Fabrizio after the tasting and he said he thought this the best wine he has ever made. I agree.
One of the other Nebbiolo wines is rather more expensive: Sandrone's 2009 is certainly very good and could be placed alongside many Barolo wines without looking at all out of place. It just didn't have the flesh of the Colla.
The Roero reds completed the tasting. These tannic Nebbiolo wines revealed some of their magic but clearly there is more to come. The most complete was a 2007 Riserva "Roche d'Amsej" from Matteo Correggia aged for two years each in barrel and bottle. The most evolved of all the wines, it had a lovely, rich, rounded palate but costs over £30, I discovered. Needless to say I was very happy when Birger made a present to me of the spare bottle although he did recommend I hold it for a few years. Hmmm.
Lunch was excellent (thanks La Trompette!) and several other wines were enjoyed with the food. Most interesting was a 1999 Roero Superiore "Mombeltramo" from Azienda Malvira, not necessarily the best wine on the table but the one which showed the potential of Roero at full maturity. Now I just need to wait another decade for my stocks of Fabrizio's wines to mature.