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Star quality

“Over the last  two to three decades, there has been a noticeable shift in how Barolo is presented to the market, with classic Barolo, produced from a number of vineyards or communes, taking a back seat to cru offerings. These single-vineyard releases have given Barolo a higher profile among critics and consumers, with several of the finest sites – such as Cannubi, Brunate and Cerequio – taking on an almost legendary status.

“However, there are numerous crus located among the 11 communes of the Barolo production zone that have emerged as superb parcels, yet have not received the same recognition as the most celebrated plots. Vineyards such as Prapò, Lazzarito, Ravera, Monvigliero and others are the source of some of the most important wines from dozens of Barolo’s finest producers. What’s more, a good number of these examples are also less expensive than their famous counterparts – a true win-win situation …

The acid touch
“… At the far southwestern corner of the Barolo zone, the commune of Novello is home to a more refined, floral style of Nebbiolo. The most important cru here is Ravera, a large site comprising 190ha (hectares) that sits partly in the Barolo commune, with the larger portion in Novello. This latter section is south facing, offering better sunlight exposure.

“Valter Fissore, winemaker at Elvio Cogno, named for his father-in-law, a celebrated Barolo oenologist for several decades, notes the equilibrium of a Ravera Barolo. ‘Ravera is a wine that initially shows well, but it is also a wine with lots of minerality,’ he says. ‘There is a touch of elegance that you can’t find in other places. This elegance is dependent on the acidity of our wines.’ Fissore’s traditional winemaking approach (long fermentation, large oak cask ageing) ensures a terroir-driven, elegant wine. He notes the altitude of his plantings, from 350m-400m. ‘These high elevations always permit us to have a really fresh wine,’ he says. Currado, who has recently added a Ravera Barolo to his portfolio at Vietti, notes the ‘Burgundian style’, with tannins that are ‘very fresh, very floral. Today it is one of our most traditional interpretations of Barolo.’”

Tom Hyland, January 2016
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