Roero may not be a name on everybody’s lips, but it is certainly the Italian area with the most roaring name. Try practicing the difficult Italian ‘R’ sound: Roero! Along with the Langhe and Monferrato, Roero is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site: Vineyard Landscapes of Piedmont. Roero takes its name from a noble family, which established a domain there in the Middle Ages and may be related to the family symbol: three wheels (“ruote”).
Roero is an authentic treasure still to be discovered, with its canyons, peach cultivation and – of course – vineyards.
Roero’s most iconic wine is Arneis, a DOCG white also known as “Nebbiolo bianco,” referring to Piedmont’s most famous red grape.
At Vinitaly 2018, I met Roero-born Luca Faccenda, a real promoter for the area. Now in his thirties, Luca studied winemaking at the University of Turin, and worked as consultant for several important Langhe wineries as well as in New Zealand. In 2017, he was awarded the Premio Gambelli for Best Italian Young Winemaker. In 2010, Luca started Valfaccenda, for the little Roero valley where his family has always lived. His wife, Carolina, designs the labels and is his right hand.
Starting out with a production of 2,000 bottles, Valfaccenda now produces 20,000 bottles. Since, as we say in Italian, non c’è due senza tre (three’s a charm), in addition to Luca and Carolina, there is their red cat Piero, the real social network star of the winery. Along with two other Roero wineries run by young producers, Cascina Fornace and Alberto Oggero, Luca also created SoloRoero, an association to promote the area wines as well as other Italian young winemakers with an event in June, now in its second year.
In addition to Roero Arneis, Luca decided to make a wine he liked, and not just a market-oriented label. This is the reason why he and Carolina constantly experiment.
Among their wine proposals, a special mention goes to “Vindabagna”, a slightly sparkling version of Arneis, ideally to be drunk with Bagna Cauda. “What is Bagna Cauda?!” you ask? As its Piedmontese name implies, it is a hot (caldo, in the dialect cauda) dip (bagnetto, or bagna) made with anchovies and garlic. On fall and winter evenings, friends in Piedmont get together and dip vegetables into this hot and spicy sauce. The extreme quantity of garlic impedes social relations for a couple of days after you eat it, and may keep a few vampires away to boot!… As they say, only for the brave! Try this pairing to find out!
Roaring Roero is deserving of its name…
By Italian Grapevine contributing writer, Francesca Giuliano