Renato Ratti Rocche dell'Annunziata Barolo 2018
The Rocche dell'Annunziata Barolo is a garnet red. It has a delicate and persistent bouquet with traces of licorice, rose and tobacco. Full flavored, warm and moderately tannic.
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The Renato Ratti 2018 Barolo Rocche dell'Annunziata (with 5,500 bottles produced) is the estate's headline wine with fruit from a special 1.5-hectare site with characteristic Tortoniano blue marl mixed with veins of sand. The wine is aged in a combination of new barrique and Slavonian oak casks. The results are fine and filigreed with aromas of sour cherry, smoke, tar and pencil shaving. I love the precision of this Barolo and the energy capped within its lean and tight mouthfeel.
Aromas of red cherries, redcurrants, strawberries and sweet nuts follow through to medium-bodied, silky palate with ultra-fine tannins that create a light but well-balanced framework. A lighter structure this year, but good intensity and elegance.
Located halfway up the hill dominating the principal valley of Barolo, buttressed by steep slopes lined by orderly vineyards, lies a precious jewel from the 15th century: the Abbey of Annunziata.
As the monks historically produced wine from the grapes of the surrounding hillsides, today, remembering their lessons, incomparable wines are produced.
From the 100 acres of vineyards, the Renato Ratti winery produces around 150,000 bottles from the traditional denominations of the area: Barolo, Nebbiolo d'Alba, Barbera d'Alba, Dolcetto d'Alba.
The modern and innovative philosophy of vinification introduced since the 60's by Renato Ratti, is today in the hands of his son Pietro and his nephew Massimo Martinelli.
The center of the production of the world’s most exclusive and age-worthy red wines made from Nebbiolo, the Barolo wine region includes five core townships: La Morra, Monforte d’Alba, Serralunga d’Alba, Castiglione Falletto and the Barolo village itself, as well as a few outlying villages. The landscape of Barolo, characterized by prominent and castle-topped hills, is full of history and romance centered on the Nebbiolo grape. Its wines, with the signature “tar and roses” aromas, have a deceptively light garnet color but full presence on the palate and plenty of tannins and acidity. In a well-made Barolo wine, one can expect to find complexity and good evolution with notes of, for example, strawberry, cherry, plum, leather, truffle, anise, fresh and dried herbs, tobacco and violets.
There are two predominant soil types here, which distinguish Barolo from the lesser surrounding areas. Compact and fertile Tortonian sandy marls define the vineyards farthest west and at higher elevations. Typically the Barolo wines coming from this side, from La Morra and Barolo, can be approachable relatively early on in their evolution and represent the “feminine” side of Barolo, often closer in style to Barbaresco with elegant perfume and fresh fruit.
On the eastern side of the Barolo wine region, Helvetian soils of compressed sandstone and chalks are less fertile, producing wines with intense body, power and structured tannins. This more “masculine” style comes from Monforte d’Alba and Serralunga d’Alba. The township of Castiglione Falletto covers a spine with both soil types.
The best Barolo wines need 10-15 years before they are ready to drink, and can further age for several decades.
Responsible for some of the most elegant and age-worthy wines in the world, Nebbiolo, named for the ubiquitous autumnal fog (called nebbia in Italian), is the star variety of northern Italy’s Piedmont region. Grown throughout the area, as well as in the neighboring Valle d’Aosta and Valtellina, it reaches its highest potential in the Piedmontese villages of Barolo, Barbaresco and Roero. Outside of Italy, growers are still very much in the experimentation stage but some success has been achieved in parts of California. Somm Secret—If you’re new to Nebbiolo, start with a charming, wallet-friendly, early-drinking Langhe Nebbiolo or Nebbiolo d'Alba.