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First a little history. Founded in 1948, in the village of Tre Stelle Barbaresco, the estate comprises 5 hectares, 3.5 are vines. Tiny? Certainly. I find it hard to imagine such a small scale enterprise can support a family of four: Giovanna Rizzolio and Italo Sobrino and their sons Davide and Riccardo. The rest of the estate is largely hazelnuts; and roses are everywhere – the canaries in a coalmine for organic vineyards. The pride of the estate rests with 2 crus, Tre Stelle and Rio Sordo.

It must be said that Tre Stelle is not so well known as Rio Sordo, but no matter. Up until 2005, Tre Stelle was a part of Rio Sordo, but the vineyard was split by the Consorzio and the Enoteca Regionale del Barbaresco and, ironically, the old road divides the vineyards. Tasting the two wines together you can see why, although there are striking similarities too. Tre Stelle faces south and south west, as important in Piedmont as it is in Mosel. There is a thin layer of earth, over what is pure limestone. Tre Stelle is a monopole of the estate.

The famed Rio Sordo vineyard is much larger with multiple owners. There is more than one aspect to Rio Sordo as the vineyard follows the road and then follows the ridge of the hill up to the houses of Cascina Rio Sordo. Being on opposite sides of the road does opportune a neat break between the two vineyards and it does seem natural that they were split. The soils also set the vineyards apart, the Rio Sordo soils are also limestone based, but with a thicker layer of earth and more clay in the mix. Cascina delle Rose’s Rio Sordo is sourced from two plots, facing south west and located in the upper part of the central section, regarded as the best part of the vineyard.

 

Winemaking and Viticulture

Cascina delle Rose is organic and worked by hand. The ‘regional’ wines are wild fermented and aged in stainless steel and concrete. Macerations vary from vintage to vintage, but are quite long as far as regional goes. For the Dolcetto, 10-15 days and the Nebbiolo, 15-20. The Barbarescos are traditional in style, with long macerations, up to 35 days with a semi submerged cap. As such, no pump overs or plunge downs, everything done gently. Aging is in large format Slavonian oak, untoasted.

It must be said that the entire process is unhurried and the softy, softly approach extracts extraordinary ethereal flavours, fine textures, velvet structures and stunning purity.

 

Cascina delle Rose Dolcetto d’Alba ‘A Elizabeth’ 2020

Named after a family friend Elizabeth, who has been helping with the harvest since 2000. Sourced from two vineyards, Tre Stelle (planted in 1958) and Marcorino (planted in 1944) crus. Serious territory here. Abundant and intense, with notes of crushed red fruits, cut flowers, blood plum and savoury spice. The most linear wine of the estate – sleek, juicy and packed with energy. Fermented and aged in stainless steel to maintain freshness, and for me, rare precision. Fine, velvet tannins and bracing acidity set an excellent scaffold, that will stay up longer than just about any other Dolcetto. A great vintage for Dolcetto? If this is anything to go by, most definitely.

 

Cascina delle Rose Langhe Nebbiolo 2020

Just about everyone claims their Langhe Nebbiolo is a Barolo or Barbaresco in everything but name. What rubbish! Small differences in wine, whether it be a few metres, different aspect, soils and vine age could add up to some vast differences in the glass. Sourced from the monopole cru Tre Stelle, but the aspect of the vines is west and north-west as opposed to south to south-west for the Barbaresco. Fermented and aged in steel and concrete, the Langhe Nebbiolo is however just about as good as I’ve seen, from any vineyard, anywhere in Piedmont.

Intense and vivid aromas of lavender wood, sweet tobacco, roses, bitumen, cherry, raspberry and star anise. Beautifully expansive palate, a peacock’s tail of flavours and texture. Crunchy red fruits, ripe but not sweet, earthy notes, chalky minerality and long velvety tannins. There is a marked coolness and high toned composure that surely is a result of the vine’s aspect. Exquisite and precise, indeed as all the wines are, this is long, balanced and superbly integrated. Approachable now, but I think a 5 year wait could easily be justified. Absolutely terrific.

 

Cascina delle Rose Tre Stelle Barbaresco 2018

Intense and lifted aromatics of earth and floral notes. Sweet red fruits, cherry, raspberry, cranberry, pastille black fruits, Lavender wood and sage. Rich, expansive, pure, ethereal and intense. Nutmeg, meaty notes, fresh compost, blackberry, ripe red fruits and tobacco leaf tannins. Loose knit, open and ready to drink now – the threads of tannin are enveloped by the freshest fruit and ripe acids. Captures Barbaresco in the most sensual manner. Nothing forced. Gentle, penetrating power.

 

Cascina delle Rose Rio Sordo Barbaresco 2018

Another classic Nebbiolo profile, but perhaps more animal, elemental and masculine. Fresh leather, rose, sandalwood, Port wine tobacco, aniseed, blackcurrant, blueberry and dark cherry. Rich and deep, but with no loss of elegance or purity. Interwoven red, blue and dark fruits, sweet balsamic, juicy, not so much as linear, but nevertheless precise, expansive and palate coating. Understated power, soft acids and rich, melting tannins. Compelling wine, hard to imagine that it’s across the road from Tre Stelle. I can honestly say i don’t have a preference, mood and weather would determine the pick.

 

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