I met Elvio Cogno’s Nadia Cogno and Walter Fissore the first time I went to Piemonte, more years ago than I care to remember. At the time their cellars were mostly done but they were still working on the living quarters of their winery, and we therefore had a fantastic dinner at the house they were staying in, in (if I remember right) La Morra, during which Walter poured a bottle of Barolo Nadia’s father Elvio had made the year she was born, and I discovered (before the Barolo) the delights of Bagna Caoda.
We have always kept in touch, and this year I suggested the Gruppo IGP visit them following the morning tasting session. After a quick tour of the cellars, we sat down to taste, and things became magical.
Anas-Cëttà Nascetta di Novello DOC 2011
Brassy gold with brassy reflections and white rim. The bouquet is intense, with apricots and greenish vegetal accents with considerable bitter almond and heather, and some hints of sweetness as well. A lot going on. On the palate it’s rich and full, with warm very savory apricot and hawthorn fruit supported by gunflint acidity and tannins that are light and have flinty accents too. Quite pleasant, and a wine that one can drink by the bucket without tiring of it. Walter suggests oysters as an accompaniment.
Elvio Cogno Vigna del Mandorlo Dolcetto D’Alba 2011
Deep violet with black reflections and cherry ruby rim. The bouquet is rich, with violets and bitter almonds supported by deft berry fruit with some graphite shavings and pleasant spice. On the palate it’s bright and fresh, with lively cherry fruit supported by light tannins that have a degree of gunflint and graphite shaving bitterness to them, and by moderate acidity, while there is alcohol that provides warmth, but doesn’t distract and doesn’t remove freshness either. Quite pleasant and quite versatile. Fresh too.
Elvio Cogno Bricco dei Merli Barbera D’Alba DOC 2010
Lively cherry ruby with bright cherry rim. The bouquet is deft, with bitter savory notes and red berry fruit supported by some spice, also savory accents. On the palate it’s quite fresh, with bright sour cherry fruit supported by bright sour cherry acidity and powerful savory accents, while there are tannins with a fairly bright fg and graphite shaving overlay, and flow into a very long warm sour berry fruit finish with bitter accents. Quite pleasant, and will be versatile with foods too. Great finesse and harmony, with beautiful freshness as well.
Elvio Cogno Pre Phylloxera Barbera D’Alba DOC 2010
This is a very limited wine, made from a vineyard planted in a calcareous sandy zone where the philloxera bug won’t grow, at an altitude of 400 meters in La Morra. 120 year old vines on native root stock. Production is 2000 bottles per year. It’s lively cherry ruby with brilliant cherry rim. The bouquet is rich, with ripe cherry plum fruit supported by spice and violets. Quite fresh. On the palate it’s full and rich with a very long plum cherry fruit supported by slight graphite shaving bitterness and deft mineral acidity, with some warmth, and it lasts and lasts. Most impressive; never had a Barbera quite like this before, but will count the days until I can have it again.
Elvio Cogno Montegrilli Langhe Rosso 2010
This is a blend of Nebbiolo and Barbera harvested together and fermented together. Lively cherry ruby with black reflections and cherry rim. The bouquet is intense, with rosa canina and cherry fruit and some bitter notes; tremendous depth and finesse, and at present the Nebbiolo comes up more than the Barbera. On the palate it’s bright, with powerful cherry fruit supported by smooth sweet tannins and bright sour cherry acidity; sun in a glass and very fine, a beautiful combination of elegance and finesse that will also be long lived.
Elvio Cogno Bordini Barbaresco 2009
Pale almandine with black reflections and almandine rim. The bouquet is intense, with some red berry fruit and quite a bit of white truffle and some spice, mingled also with green leather. Very nice, and pleasant to sniff. On the palate it’s bright, with lively cherry fruit supported by deft acidity and sweet tannins that have a slight greenish burr, and flow into a fairly long tannic finish. Quite elegant but also very young, and needs time, at least a year to come together and develop.
Elvio Cogno Cascina Nuova Barolo 2008
Elegant lively garnet ruby with black reflections and almandine rim. The bouquet is elegant, with leather and spice mingled with some leaf tobacco and some rosa canina, also slight white truffle, and some rose as well, which gains in intensity as it opens, and slight mentholated licorice root accents too. Great finesse. On the palate it’s bright, with lively sour cherry fruit supported by bright berry fruit acidity, and by tannins that are muscular and rich, with nice suppleness and a slight greenish burr that’s also due to the youth of the vines, and it flows into a clean bright tannic finish. Beautiful balance and harmony, and will also age well for a decade or more.
Elvio Cogno Ravera Barolo 2009
This is a prerelease sample, bottled a couple of months ago. Lively garnet almandine with black reflections and almandine rim. The bouquet is elegant, and though very young displays some greenish truffle accents and red fruit, supported by prunes and licorice root. A lot going on and much potential. On the palate it’s bright, with lively sour cherry fruit supported by warmth and clean bright splintery tannins while the acidity is fairly mineral, and flows into a clean strawberry acidity finish with considerable salinity as well. Very fresh, quite nice, and the tannins become sweet in the finish too. Great promise to it.