2017 La Ca’ Növa, Barbaresco DOCG, Piedmonte, Italy.
The 2017 La Ca’ Növa Barbaresco Normale is much more earthy and rustic than the Cru Montestefano, but as it opens it gains a sense of completeness and is a wildly good value even though it is a more old school version without quite the elegance of the upper level wines. That said, this wine performed well with food and is ripe in fruit and gives the vintage’s open knit textural richness, it just is not as perfumed or as distinctive as the Montestefano, but not many would complain for the price that this one goes for and this is a producer to keep on your radar! The 2017 starts with a bit of game and leathery notes with truffle and forest floor leading to the classic Nebbiolo fruit of which brandied cherries, damson plums, brambly vine picked berries and red currants which is accented by hoisin, cedar, minty herb, anise, loam, fig and some wilted rose petals. There is a meaty and sanguine edginess that fades with food to allow a more generous side to balance things out a bit and a nice lingering kirsch and dried herb remind of where this wine is from, it is pure Piedmonte in the glass with a orange edged dark ruby color. This wine is really at its best with robust and simple country dishes, hearty winter stews, meat dishes and or hard cheeses. Day two brought more supple fruit and a better display of the wine’s range, time gave it a fuller voice and there was more to appreciate on the medium to full bodied palate which bodes well for midterm cellaring, while still having its earthy character. As I talked about when I first tried Marco Rocca’s wines, including his fabulous Montestefano cru Barbaresco, this is a winemaker to watch and his La Ca’ Növa wines are bargains.

Marco Rocca’s La Ca’ Növa winery is located just outside of the historic village of Barbaresco and is a small winery that produces traditional styled wines that way over deliver for the price, especially this entry level Barbaresco and Marco’s masterpiece from the famed Montestefano cru. Marco’s main passions are his Nebbiolo parcels and his trio of Barbaresco wines, but as the winery notes, Marco also does Dolcetto and Barbera, which I will now search out, because if his Barbaresco Normale and Cru Montestefano are this good and are this insanely low priced, they must be fantastic values as well. The winery has prized holdings in the Montefico and Montestefano, which I just reviewed recently, as well as nice sites within the Barbaresco DOCG zone from which they make their set of Barbaresco(s), plus Marco does a entry level Langhe Nebbiolo DOC, another wine I think needs investigating. Rocca is old school and shy by nature, he is not into modern technology and his wines are made in rustic fashion but with extreme care and love. He does his fermentation(s) without temperature control or with stainless tanks, he only employs indigenous yeasts and everything is done by hand using open barrels, as was done in older and simpler times. The maceration, interestingly is done with a large wooden spoon, which Marco uses to stir the musts, which he notes, is very difficult and time consuming work, but it worth it, as it helps extract a much richer color as well as more polyphenols. If you’ve not had La Ca’ Növa, this is a great time to explore their wines, and as I noted in my prior review, this must be one of the best kept secrets I’ve run across in the last few years!
($30 Est.) 90 Points, grapelive

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