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Paje Vineyard. Photo: Roagna

For more than two centuries, the Roagna family  has been making traditional wines in the Barbaresco commune in the beautiful wine region of Langhe of Piemonte. The artisanal winery is located in the fairy town of Barbaresco itself, near giants Gaja and Bruno Rocca

In recent years, Roagna has gathered attention from the hipster and natural wine drinkers and sommeliers worldwide. However, they have always been known by Nebbiolo cognoscenti by their expressive Barbarescos and Barolos,  can often age for decades, Roagna is one those nebbiolo rangers, making a modern interpretation of the classical wines that marked this region for so much of the 20th century.

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Luca Roagna. Photo: Roagna

Young Luca Roagna took charge in 2001 and has so far earned praise for keeping the company spiritof making classic wines with impressive structure, depth and aging potential. I have been drinking Roagna wines for a number years of now and they are all very impressive from their entry level Nebbiolo to their Barbera and Barolo and Barbaresco. A few years ago, I had the opportunity to meet Luca in a wine salon organized by its importer Vini-Vins in Montreal, Quebec. I was really impressed by the dynamism and humbleness of this young winemaker.

Paje is located in the center of the Barbaresco town. The vineyard  faces Southwest with a predominant soil of calcareous marl soil and limestone.This soil was formed during the Tertiary (Cenozoic) period approximately seventy-million years ago as a result of marine sedimentation founder under the ocean which covered all of the land.

The Nebbiolo of Paje is about 25-50 years of age and Luca do a long fermentation that can last up to two months and the wine is aged for 5 years in neutral oak barrels. 2005 was a vintage overshadowed by the famous 2004. This was a vintage characterized by balance and harmony rather than power.

Tasting note:

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Roagna Barbaresco Paje 2005 ( From my cellar. Price paid $80-90) Importer: Vini-Vins

Greatness. A refined nose bringing out the best of nebbiolo that ages. Refined notes of valhrona cacao with cherry in eaux de vie. Also some mouth-watering notes of cooked pancetta, seaweed and tamari sauce. On the mouth, elegant and round with almost tamed tannins. Racy with flavors bringing to mind black truffle, prunes, licorice and Marsala. An infinite finale with still a story to tell. To revisit in a few years.

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Pira Vineyard. Photo: Roagna

Pira is a historic vineyard located in the village of Castiglione Falletto and originally owned by the noble family who had a private road owners of the castle a hundreds of years ago. The soil here has less limestone and is more rocky than Paje. Same vinification methods. If you taste those wine sided by side, you can really spot the differences in terroir.

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Roagna Barolo La Pira 2007 ( From my cellar. Price paid $80-90) Importer Vini-Vins

Another great bottle. So much different from the Barbaresco, yet made from the same grape. Dried rose petals, sour cherry with amazing depth of earth undertones. Delicate notes of mint, eucalyptus and subdued vegetal undertones ( wet tree leaves, shiitake mushrooms in brine). Whole cloves and dry bones. Animal nuances such as smoked meat as well.  On the mouth, heftier and more structured than the Barbaresco. Vibrant, yet with lots of tension and muscular tannins. A very pleasant tarry texture in the finish. Very earthy. Will be at its prime in a decade or two.