The wines of Giovanni Rosso, Piedmont, Italy   
Startlingly good, traditionally made Barolos

Azienda Agricola Giovanni Rosso is a family-owned 12 hectare estate located in Serralunga d'Alba, in the eastern side of Barolo. The family have owned their vineyards since the end of the 19th century, but have only been making wines under their own label since 1995.

Talented young-ish winegrower Davide Rosso is at the helm. He has experience working in Burgundy with the likes of Domaine Jean Grivot and Denis Mortet, and takes a refreshingly natural approach is taken in both the vineyard and winery. Although there is no certification, the seven parcels of vines are managed organically with no pesticides or herbicides. They cover some special terroirs, including the limestone-rich La Serra and clay-rich Cerreta.

Traditional winemaking practices bring out the best of these terroirs. Fermentation is with wild yeasts, and takes place in cement tanks without temperature control. The élévage is in large botte (big 5000 litre barrels) although these are made of French oak rather than the traditional Slavonian.

While this isn’t one of the best known Barolo estates, it is one of the best, and I really appreciate this traditional style, allowing the beauty of the Nebbiolo grape to express a real sense of place. I was particularly impressed by the less expensive Serralunga bottling, which combines grapes from five separate crus, vinified separately and blended together.

The wines are available in the UK from Berry Bros & Rudd (, whose prices are given in brackets.

Giovanni Rosso Dolcetto d’Alba 2007
Very pure, sweet elegant nose. Bright and focused with lovely freshness. Tight, pure fruit with nice cherry character. 89/100 (£13.20)

Giovanni Rosso Barbera d’Alba 2005
From two vineyards, one 70 years old and one 29 years old. Fresh, pure, spicy nose has nice fruitiness. There’s real elegance and vibrancy on the palate which shows fresh, dark cherry fruit. Focused and bright. 90/100 (£15.60)

Giovanni Rosso Barolo Serralunga 2005
From five different crus, vinified separately. Wonderfully focused, balanced nose with some fruit but also taut, spicy, earthy complexity. The palate is rich and spicy with some herb, earth and leather notes. Lovely sweet fruit also firm, spicy tannins, in almost perfect balance. 94/100 (£30.50)

Giovanni Rosso Barolo Cerreta 2005
From a single vineyard with deeper soils, at lower altitude, with older vines than La Serra. Elegant, pure cherry fruit nose with firm, spicy notes. The palate is concentrated and smooth, powerful yet super-elegant, with amazing intensity and depth. Beautiful. 94/100 (£49.95)

Giovanni Rosso Barolo La Serra 2005
A single vineyard wine from vines higher up the slope. Taut cherry and berry fruit nose with lovely freshness and elegance. Dense and sweetly fruited on the palate but still very elegant, with beautiful tannins and lovely fruit expression. Brilliant wine. 95/100 (£49.95)

Giovanni Rosso Barolo Serralunga 2004
Fantastic pure, aromatic cherry fruit nose. Lovely focus here, with a liqueur-like richness to the fruit. The palate has amazing purity with earth and spice notes, as well as great structure. 94/100 (£32.50)

Giovanni Rosso Barolo Cerreta 2004
Pure and beautifully expressive with lovely cherry and herb character. Quite aromatic. The palate is sweet, pure, elegant and bright showing cherry fruits with some earthy depth and structure. Nebbiolo at its finest. 95/100 (£58.50)

Giovanni Rosso Barolo La Serra 2004
Fresh, taut cherry and herb nose with smooth, complex fruit and some earthiness. The palate shows lovely elegance, and is beginning to open out with pure fruit to the fore. Lovely stuff, with very fine acidity. 94/100 (£58.50)

See also:

A video from BBR featuring Davide Rosso in his vineyards:

Wines tasted as 05/09  
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