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Wine & Spirits Top 100 Wineries of the Year

“Elvio Cogno worked many vintages at Cogno-Marcarini in La Morra before leaving in 1990 to establish his own domaine. He purchased an 18th-century manor house atop Bricco Ravera in Novello, one of Barolo’s lesser-known communes, surrounded by 27 acres of vineyards. His son-in-law, Valter Fissore, had worked with Cogno since 1984 and has since become winemaker for the family’s domaine, continuing Cogno’s practice of working only with traditional varieties and crafting elegant, ageworthy wines.

“The estate’s vineyards include blocks of old vines: the lampia and michet clones of nebbiolo, as well as nebbiolo rose, now believed to be a separate variety. As nebbiolo rose has almost disappeared from the region, Fissore’s Barolo Vigna Elena Riserva, 100 percent nebbiolo rose, is the only one of its kind. He says this vine is a challenge to work with because it ripens late and its fruit is prone to oxidation, but he likes nebbiolo rose’s flavors and velvety tannins. Fissore nailed it with the 2006 Vigna Elena, a classic vintage that highlights the variety’s intense florality and flavors of ripe red fruits, licorice and dark chocolate. Aged in large-format oak casks, this is old-school Barolo with the structure and power for long cellaring.

“In an unusual move for a Barolo producer, Fissore leased a vineyard in Neive in 2006 and began working in partnership with a local producer to make Barbaresco. ‘For us it was important and interesting because we love nebbiolo in all its expressions,’ Fissore explains. The 2010 Bordini is refined and delicate, layered with red fruit and porcini mushroom flavors, yet with enough tannic strength to carry it for several years in bottle.

“Fissore makes only one white wine, having chosen to work with nascetta, a rare local variety used in earlier times for sweet wines. Inspired by a bottle they tasted from a local farmer, Fissore and Cogno began experimenting with the variety in 1994. Fissore now owns that farmer’s vineyards and produces one of the few dry wines made from the variety. The 2012 Anas-Cetta is delicate and chalky, gaining scents of apricot and peach with air; it’s a Piedmontese novelty and an eloquent expression of the estate’s commitment to local traditions.”

Stephanie Johnson, Winter 2014
Wine & Spirits Top 100 Wineries of the Year