2005 Renato Ratti “Rocche”

The vineyard Rocche dell’Annunziata is one of the obvious unofficial “grand crus” in the Barolo area of La Morra alongside Brunate and Cerequio. The La Morra site, in general, has a lot in common with the feminine style elegance of the barbaresco area with typically more softer tannins, slimmer structure and fine tuned character than other areas in Barolo. You find the vineyard just below the town La Morra downwards in the valley with a south-facing exposition. Soil here has a top layer with very much bluish marl (calcareous clay and slit) and streaks of white sand and further down you find a combo of slit-sand and tufa. A composition that in collaboration with sun and cool nights produces elegant and fragrant, floral classy burgundy-style barolos.

Ratti’s parcel were planted in 1955 and has very good south-west exposition at 280 meters above sea-level. Yield is respectably low at 35 hl/ha, grapes are 100% de-stemmed and crushed. A modern shorter maceration is carried out for seven days in steel rotor fermentor vats at 30 °C to produce a more approachable wine. Alcoholic fermentation continues in steel and the malo is done in wood. And aging for the first year is done in 100% new french barriques and then in bigger 25 hl neutral barrels (botte). Currently the son of Renato Ratti, Pietro is running the estate.

The vintage 2005 has an early drink window, is a very good one too that just may lack concentration and backbone and the producer aims at approachable wines, so now I am exited.

Color: dark ruby-red color and a little rusty orange edge.
Nose: Menthol, roses, lilies, very complex subtle perfumes, notes of metals (Magnesium?), mature ripe wild strawberries, some tar, fresh herbs, balsamic notes and fine tunes earthy minerals. Very complex, fresh and pleasant nose indeed!
Taste: The very pleasant mid palate offers fresh mature wild strawberries, boysenberries, fennel, anise, truffles, white pepper, notes of blood orange and fine tuned earthy minerals. Tannins are not yet polished and a little heavy now, but very promising and appears ripe. Medium-bodied and very slim structure as expected and quite long too. Concentration is good, contains very subtle interesting complex aromas and there is some deep layers of fruit too, but on the bad side here is a little austere finish with a little sharp metals and not too pleasant burned chalky minerals that totally covers all the great layers of fruit here. I first wondered if I just had a bad bottle, but I didn’t notice any defects on the cork. The acidity is currently gnarly and obviously does not help the rest now, but it will of course integrate much more with the tannins in a few years. A minor excessive alcohol disturbs the palate a little and on the bottle it says 14.5%.

To sum it up, a lovely, super-fresh and elegant nose without any oak vanilla covering or disturbing the aromas, except for some white pepper from the toasting, and this just shows how skilled Pietro Ratti is with new oak. A very good wine, but currently a little unbalanced and a disappointing austere-metallic finish with just some excessive alcohol. I am not worried about integration of the tannins and acidity in say 5-6 years from now, even though I expected a more approachable wine at this stage, but will the finish improve too?.. Hopefully it does with time, but now it is hard to set a score. Cost about €73. My guess is that it should be opened in 2017-2035.

92-93p/100.

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