2012 Rovellotti, Ghemme DOCG “Chioso Dei Pomi” Northern Piedmonte, Italy.
The Rovellotti family traces its roots in Ghemme, in the Alta Piedmonte which is fast becoming the hot spot for Nebbiolo, to the latter stages of the 15th century and their wines are made from organic vines, farmed using biodynamic principles in the Baraggiola and Costa del Salmino, in the southern zone of the region that has been recognized as a superior site since the 1600s. The majority of the Rovellotti vineyards are planted to Nebbiolo (sometimes referred to as Spanna in these parts), which is always the main grape within the DOCG and these grapes are supplemented by plantings of Vespolina (also used as a complementary grape in the Ghemme), Bonarda (also known as Uva Rara) and the white grape, Erbaluce (frequently referred to in the Alto Piemonte as Greco Bianco). This wine by Rovellotti, which is from the elegant 2012 vintage was sourced from the “Chioso dei Pomi” vineyard in the heart of Barragiola. This plot, as noted by importer Rosenthal Wine Merchant, is approximately three hectares in size and the vines have a south-southwest exposure, which allows great ripening and retains fresh acidity, making for remarkably pure wines that has amazing grace, but with age worthy structures. I’ve been following Rovelletti since the 2008 vintage was released here in the states, as that vintage was outrageously exciting and it left a huge impression on me, and the 2010 even more so, and even though the 2012 is not quite that level it is a fine effort worth searching out.
The final blend of grapes for the Rovellotti Ghemme “Chioso dei Pomi” was as per normal about 85% Nebbiolo and 15% Vespolina that was picked and fermented in separate lots all in stainless steel vats and then the wine is aged in large Slavonian oak casks for the first twelve months after harvest and then is racked into smaller five hectoliter barrels for an additional eighteen months. Then these various parts of the wine are assembled and blended together in the spring of the third year after the original pick, and the wine is then held in the cellar for more than nine moths before its release. The 2012 starts with subtle earthiness and a delicate floral perfume that leads to a medium bodied palate of brandied cherry, plum and strawberry fruits along with blood orange, wild herbs, dried lavender, rose oil, minty anise and faint game and tar. Surprisingly supple and with velvety tannins this Ghemme comes across more textural than the more powerful 2008 and 2010 versions, but the inner beauty and length make up for the slight lack of punch and the smooth mouth feel is wonderfully Burgundy like, though there is no mistaking the Nebbiolo character and soul. This ruby/brick hued Rovelletti Ghemme “Chioso dei Pomi” really impresses for class and goes great with food, as you’d expect with a Northern Italian wine, drink over the next 3 to 5 years, it’s more complete and interesting than many Barolo in the price range.
($50 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive