The wines of Luca Roagna, Piedmont, Italy
Tasting Roagna's remarkable Barolo La Pira


Luca Roagna (pictured above) farms 12 hectares in Piedmont, made up of many different plots based in Castiglione Faleto in Barolo, plus plots in Barbaresco and the Langhe hills of Piedmont. He works the limestone soils organically (but is uncertified) and allows grass to grow between the rows, practising a no-till regime. The wines are made traditionally, with a natural ferment, a long maceration and a long elevage with modest levels of sulfur dioxide. The elevage is in large barrels of 20005000 litres, with the last part of ageing taking place in really old barriques.

Here I tasted a vertical of just one of their many wines: Barolo La Pira (it was previously called La Rocca e La Pira, but the name changed with the 2005 vintage). The tasting also included two vintages of the Riserva: interestingly, the 1998 is the current release, and the next release will be the 1996. Just five or six barriques of the Riserva are made each year.  


Roagna La Pira 2005 Barolo, Piedmont, Italy
This has spent 5 years in barrel. Light coloured. Complex and superbly elegant with taut mineral and sweet cherry fruit notes. Subtle earth and spice, too. So fine and expressive, a brilliant wine. 96/100

Roagna La Rocca e La Pira 2004 Barolo, Piedmont, Italy
Complex aromatics. Fine, lively spice, earth and cherry notes with hints of tar. Elegant, fresh cherry fruit palate with great acidity, minerality and taut structure. 96/100

Roagna La Rocca e La Pira 2003 Barolo, Piedmont, Italy
A warmer vintage, but these old vines did well. Rich, spicy, warm and herbal with a mellow quality to the nose. The palate has warmth but also elegance. Spicy and quite taut with some structure, and a grippy, drying finish. 93/100

Roagna La Rocca e La Pira 2001 Barolo, Piedmont, Italy
Dense, taut and quite expressive with grippy structure and notes of earth and spice. Grainy tannins. Nice length here. 94/100

Roagna La Rocca e La Pira Riserva 1998 Barolo, Piedmont, Italy
The youngest vines here were planted in 1937. Rich, elegant and spicy with lovely texture. Quite mineral and supple with sweet cherry fruit and fine earthy notes. Complex and beguiling with some undergrowth notes. 97/100

Roagna La Rocca e La Pira Riserva 1996 Barolo, Piedmont, Italy
Beautiful stuff: structured, complex and sweetly fruited with fresh cherry and plum fruit as well as some tarry notes. Still tannic but so fresh and expressive with depth of flavour. 97/100

See also:

Soldera, a remarkable vertical
The wines of Josko Gravner

Wines tasted 02/12  
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