Media Conversations

Elvio Cogno blends talent with tenacity for great wines

“Elvio Cogno’s wines are what you want in cold or warm weather.

“Nadia Cogno, and her husband Valter Fissore run this 27-acre hilltop winery in Novello, one of the 11 villages in Piedmont’s Barolo appellation. The winery was founded in 1990 by Elvio Cogno, Nadia’s father, after working at Marcarini, a top Barolo producer.

“On another frigid February night (this one bordering on zero), the charming couple brought their award-winning wines to Manhattan’s Elan restaurant.

“When the weather warms up, the pomegranate-colored 2013 Elvio Cogno Dolcetto d’Alba Mondorlo is waiting for you. This juicy, pungent blackberry- and pomegranate-flavored wine will make springtime even more exhilarating. But if you can’t wait, I understand why.

“Springtime’s daffodils signal the start of white wine season for me. Three decades ago, Fissore set himself on a mission to save the indigenous anas-cetta grape. Grown only in Novello and neighboring Monforte, it was blended with moscato to make a passito, or sweet wine. But Fissore began making a dry wine from the anas-cetta grape ‘out of passion, not for money,’ he said.

“Fissore sent the Elvio Cogno Nascetta to the American market in 1997; yet it remains unknown. But that’s true in Italy, too: The grape was never listed by the Italian wine authorities; in 1994, Fissore was fined when he put Nas-Cetta on a wine label. In 2010, Fissore’s tenacity was rewarded: The grape was placed on Italy’s official list of grapes as Lange Nascetta del Comune di Novello.

“The 2013 Elvio Cogno Anas-Cetta Nascetta was worth the effort. The mix of mineral, floral, anise and lime scents flowed from the glass; mineral, thyme, oregano and almond flavors tumbled across the palate with the 2013 Elvio Cogno Anas-Cetta Nascetta’ s medium body finishing dry and balanced.

“Try a glass this spring with the season’s first soft shell crabs.

“Warming is a good word for the 2010 Elvio Cogno Casino Nuovo Barolo. Its translucent ruby color and enticing cherry, black cherry and anise aromas and flavors are wrapped in soft tannins that transports your sensory memory to Nuits St. Georges, Premier Crus. And as the long finish lets your memory linger there, the cold outside is forgotten.

“Fissore poured the 2009 Elvio Cogno Bricco Pernice Barolo in my adjoining glass. It’s made from grapes of the oldest vines grown in a five acre section at the highest point of the vineyard (bricco in Piedmontese means top of the hill).

“Vapors of cherry, raspberry and hints of clove rise from the glass; your palate receives a wave of red fruit flavors that ride on firm tannins and a dry, mineral, stony undercurrent.”

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John Foy, March 12, 2015
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Elvio Cogno blends talent with tenacity for great wines