The two wines I am offering here are the 2019 Barolo, Serra and 2019 Barolo, Cerretta, both of which lie in Serralunga d’Alba – a commune that is synonymous with great Barolo, home to not just Vigna Rionda mentioned above, but also the Francia vineyard that is responsible for Roberto Conterno’s Monfortino. The Rosso’s Cerretta parcel has been in the family for a century and was partly replanted in 1984 and 2000…the vineyard stretches like an amphitheatre facing south-east and rises to over 350 metres. A small copse shelters the vineyard from stronger winds. The soil of Cerretta is mainly limestone, clay and marl, and revealing very few pebbles in the surface, it can look like pale, newly set cement when wet (as my boots can testify) and becomes flaky when dry. The balance between power and finesse demands incredibly high standards in the vineyard with green harvest and canopy management necessary to encourage the grapes to full maturity and bring about a finer quality of tannins in the skins. Winemaking must be equally as attentive to avoid extracting too much from the skins – temperature and duration of maceration are key factors. This is what has impressed me so much at Rosso – the tannins are so well-managed, and the fruit is achieving fine ripeness. Cerretta can be burly, but the 2019 shows real refinement – the vineyard produces powerful wines that often need patience. In the 2019, I picked up zesty blood orange notes, as well as dark cherry, loganberry and damson. Deep and intense, the fruit shows with terrific clarity, and the naturally grippy tannins of this Cru are so well handled. Long, pure – this must surely be their best Cerretta to date. I can’t wait to see how this shows in 8-10 years’ time.
Serra in Serralunga d’Alba, not to be confused with the La Serra vineyard in La Morra, was planted across a similar period of time. It lies at a similar altitude but much further south than Cerretta, closer to the winery, just down the road from Vigna Rionda. It is a relatively small Cru covering just over 10 hectares compared to Cerretta’s 40. The part owned by the Rossos is perhaps the highest section and is very well-regarded. The Rossos are one of the only estates to produce a single Cru from this vineyard, as opposed to using it as blending material, and their effort is well worth it, as the 2019 Serra is beautifully poised revealing a distinctive mineral note, as well as lifted, violet infused aromas to its loganberry and raspberry fruit. It certainly doesn’t lack concentration, though it is more supple and approachable than the more brooding Cerretta. I think this will start to drink a little earlier than Cerretta, but has the potential for drinking over a similar two decade period. I would be inclined to give it 4 to 5 years before broaching a bottle.
I have incorporated my tasting notes in the words above, but please see Walter Speller’s below. I think it is fair to say we are on the same page!
2019 Barolo, Serra, Giovanni Rosso
£318 per 6 bottle case in bond
17.5+/20 points, Walter Speller, jancisrobinson.com
Intense raspberry fruit with minerally stony notes on the nose that become more perfumed with aeration. Fantastic, tactile, polished tannins with lashes of supple, pure raspberry fruit. Intense, long finish. (WS) Drink 2026-2044.
2019 Barolo, Cerretta, Giovanni Rosso
£318 per 6 bottle case in bond
17.5/20 points, Walter Speller, jancisrobinson.com
Concentrated and finely perfumed at the same time. Raspberry fruit with a hint of orange. A palate of succulent raspberry fruit with lots of supple acidity and beautiful, coating tannins absorbing the lush fruit. Complete. (WS) Drink 2026-2042.
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All the best,