“Roagna does not change” is the slogan of the estate who with pride preserves the tradition in Langhe and they are known for their massive maceration of as much as 100 days for its best cru and long time in Slavonian and French medium-sized oak barrels as well before their bottles are released. Roagna is somewhat like the unusual cross-breed of a heavy metal attitude when it comes to conveying terroir and the refinement, uniqueness and complexity of a Wagner opera. In their youth, their wines doesn’t necessarily, explicitly flirt or seduce, but I think it is this diversity and contrast between fine, complex details and a somewhat bold flavours that makes it so special, unique and enjoyable as well as the ambition to make honest, high quality wines that are transparent to the very unique characteristics of Langhe. Yes, we like their wines a lot. Today the estate is run by Luca Roagna, the 5th generation of this estate that was established back in the mid 1800.
Naturally, this ultra-tradition requires a lot of patience from its followers that may have to wait one or often two decades for their wines to peek. This was one of the reasons that elevated the “modernista” movement in Barolo back in the 80’s, but there has been a renaissance of traditional wine making that is transparent to terroir in Piedmont in recent years where traditionalists have been somewhat rediscovered. Even so, several traditionalist has shortened their maceration period a little to make their wines more approachable and it is here that Roagna stand out today as an extreme protector of tradition. Nevertheless, Roagna has in recent years become somewhat like a cult, especially in Scandinavia, as many consumers have got tired of oaky fruit-bombs from the new world that in general taste the same everywhere and seek something interesting and original. While waiting for their single vineyard wines to develop for a very long time to be ready and drinkable, Roagna offers an approachable langhe rosso that easily can compete with barolos. Currently, the latest vintage is 2006.
This wine is from younger vines (about 30 yrs) from the vineyard Cascina Pira in Rocche di Castiglione Falletto (Barolo) and Roagna’s lower parts of the vineyard pajé (Barbaresco cru just outside their property). Grapes are hand-picked when tannins are ripe, de-stemmed and gently pressed. Maceration is very long in 30-50 days depending on vintage, but for a Roagna wine this extraction is short. Hence, the goal here is obviously to produce a more approachable wine for early drinking, but without sacrificing its typical genuine, honest characteristics from its sites, its terroir.
The colour is dark ruby-red with transparent light orange edges.Some stable notes in the beginning and then after hours of decanting there are scents of leather jacket, solvent, distinct wood glue, decaying autumn leaves, coaling firewood, herbs, earthy minerals, some dried red flowers and plenty of tar/new asphalt. A broad-spanning nose, bold and complex and dominated by male characteristics and as always with this producer it is unique and very personal, but still with a very fresh nose.
A mid palate of blood pudding, broth, distinct orange peel, autumn forest floor, layers of dry and jammy dark fruit, dry licorice root, earthy minerals, very fresh balsamic notes and loads of tar. It is long and has an impressive building structure and it is full-bodied and powerful, but not heavy. Texture is sandy, but somewhat dirty, unclean and the tannins are really thick, soft and chewy. The saline, but as noted balsamic, acidity is very energetic and promises a long life for this wine to be fresh. This is more complex, more concentrated and absolutely has a bigger structure than the approachable 2005.
A great, very unique, complex, generous and even better langhe rosso than the already really good 2005 that has become our “house wine”. It is still a baby, but in a few years I am sure this will be even better. This vintage just makes me even more convinced how unique and incredibly price-worthy this wine really is. A little young, but very drinkable now but even better in 2-3 years if you can wait. Costs about €20.