One of Piedmont's Best Buys!
On my first wine trip to Italy, we drove into northwest Italy from southwest France. I knew I wanted to see Barolo and Barbaresco and visit a few of the legendary producers in the area like Ceretto and Pio Cesare. While driving into Barbaresco to visit the incredible Gaja estate, I took notice of a small winery on our left. We proceeded to the Gaja estate which was on the right but unfortunately there were no appointments available. We did spend some time looking around the grounds and experiencing the vineyards. A few years later, I headed back to Barbaresco, this time to visit a producer called La Ca’ Növa that we were hoping to import into Massachusetts. I was stunned when I realized that it happened to be that same little winery on the left, just across the small road from the Gaja estate! When I tasted the wines from La Ca’ Növa, I was not surprised at how good the wines were but I was astounded that they were significantly less expensive than similar wines from the area.
“La Ca’ Növa remains one of the true undiscovered jewels of Barbaresco. Marco Rocca crafts intense, classically proportioned Barbaresco’s full of personality.” — Antonio Galloni
La Ca’ Növa is a small family winery located right at the entrance to the town of Barbaresco. The winery is now led by Marco Rocca, the fifth generation of Rocca's in Barbaresco. I am pleased to see that under Marco’s leadership, not much has changed, which is fine by me. I was not surprised when I heard they used to sell grapes to Angelo Gaja seeing how they are located right across the street from the Gaja winery. The family's vineyards are all located in the Barbaresco commune and include two of the most prestigious Cru's: Montestefano and Montefico. Barbaresco, in general, is considered less tannic and more approachable at a young age than Barolo, however these two Cru's are known as being more like Barolo than other Barbaresco sites. The Rocca's bottle these Cru's as single vineyard wines but also use the younger vines here as a base for their Barbaresco "Normale," offered today.
Marco farms the family’s 30 acres of vineyards, organically, and has for years. The grapes spend about three weeks on their skins and then are aged for about 20 months in large Austrian oak "botti," this changes slightly based on the vintage. I am pretty sure the first vintage we purchased was the 2004. Since then, the wine press has taken notice of what Marco is doing, and every vintage seems to get great reviews. I have not seen Marco in years, but he was always very modest and it sounds like he is still the same today. Even though some of the press thinks this is the hottest winery in Barbaresco, he is still humble and is very happy tending to his vines in the countryside or working hard in the cellar. It still stuns me that the wines have remained so affordable for so long.
This is a great price for a well-made Barbaresco, in fact it's priced the same today as it has been for ten years! The wine is just starting to open up and show all that beautiful Nebbiolo earthy fruits and aromas, but it should age well for another five years with no problem.
91 Points - Vinous
"La Ca' Nova's 2015 Barbaresco is wonderfully open-knit and inviting. Sweet red cherry, kirsch, mint, spice and white pepper make a strong opening statement. The 2015 is a very pretty, easygoing wine. In other words, exactly what an entry-level Barbaresco should be. The ripeness of the year comes through in the wine's racy personality and slightly candied profile. There is so much to like, including the wine's undeniable appeal. The straight Barbaresco is a blend of fruit from Montefico, Montestefano, Ovello and Cole." - Antonio Galloni (10/2018)