Extremely low yields, obtained from very deep roots
That manifest an extremely stratified history: in Barolo Vignarionda there is a cultural portion of Langa and its Intangible Heritage.
ESTER CANALE ROSSO
THE WINE OF TOMMASO CANALE
Ester Canale Rosso, a magical vineyard
Old vines, partially preserved from 1946 and partly renewed in an attempt to breathe new life into Tommasino Canale's work. Davide Rosso, at the beginning of 2011, replaced a good part of the now exhausted vines with a prudent and delicate replanting: he cloned the massal selection of the original vines and immediately realized the amazing potential of those grapes, from which a great Nebbiolo is obtained. A wine capable of representing, together with Barolo Vignarionda, the sublime quality and prestige of this cru with its perfectly south-facing exposure, limestone soil and plants, both old and new, worked entirely by hand.
A vineyard that leaves no room for compromise: we prefer to contain harvesting and bottling to very few, limiting the vintages and postponing an increase in production until the appropriate time, when even the young rows have reached the maturity necessary for the "promotion" as Barolo.
The history of Vignarionda
It was the pioneering attitude, mixed with sacrifice and determination, that marked the origins and dictated the prestigious future of Vignarionda, born at the hands of Tommaso Canale and his wife Esterina. Not at all wealthy but passionate about wine, they purchased some of Serralunga's finest vineyards, including this promising Cru, a forerunning return to their roots.
It was 1934 and nothing seemed to dent the courage of the Canale family, despite economic tribulations and hail, they were always helped by their sons Aldo and Amelio. Then came the war and in 1945 the death of Tommaso. It was a highly symbolic year that marked a new challenge for the two brothers and the vines they replanted in 1946 are still there today, worked by Amelio's nephew.
It was the loss of "Grandpa Amelio" in 1963, as well as the labor crisis in the depopulating Piedmont countryside, that led to an inevitable decision: the renunciation of Vignarionda, by his heirs, wife Cristina Canale and daughter Ester, in favor of Aldo.
The baton of that exceptional site passed to Tommasino in 1998: endowed with the same passion as his grandfather, the founder, he manifested a unique bond with his grandson Davide Rosso, son of his sister Ester, from the very beginning.
In December 2010, Tommaso died suddenly, leaving a huge void in the family - a setback that was also the beginning of a new historical cycle, or rather a circle destined to retrace itself, just as a vine comes back to life when spring takes the place of winter.
On April 22, 2011, ownership of the original 0.85 hectare plot, that was once Amelio’s passed to Azienda Agricola Giovanni Rosso, the winery founded by Ester's husband. Thus, forty years after being forced to sell, Ester Canale is once again the owner of "her" Vignarionda."
Tommaso Canale's wine: unrepeatable vintages
The work that Tommaso Canale brought to the vineyards owned once by Aldo and Amelio Canale, Davide Rosso's grandfather has a long future: at the time of his untimely death, some vintages of Vignarionda had yet to be bottled.
In addition to acquiring the Vignarionda vineyard, Davide and his mother, Ester Canale Rosso, have selected a small amount of Tommaso's wine (the 2007, 2008 and 2009 vintages) with the goal of bottling a small portion, with a limited run of no more than 1,000 bottles per year, which will be offered with a design dating back to the acquisition of firstborn Vignarionda, in 1934, and the label used by our cousin. A tribute to one of Serralunga's greatest figures, who helped found the Barolo Consortium.
The first vintage from Vignarionda produced by Davide at Az. Agr. Giovanni Rosso is the 2011 and marks the beginning of a new chapter in the history of the vineyard and the family's bond with it. That is why Ester and Davide decided to launch it as Futures, in a limited run of 1,800 bottles and with the perspective that was Tommaso Canale and his father Aldo's; that only private customers will be able to buy them.
And it is with the Futures project, something almost unheard of in the Langhe area, but very common in Bordeaux and Burgundy, that the decision was made to continue selling the precious vintages of Vignarionda, guaranteeing the future of this great vineyard.
It is a method that puts the customers at the center, providing them with bottles that may not be available in the future.
Any unsold en primeur wine will remain in the Canale family as historical stock. In addition, Barolo Vignarionda Futures will help to pay the replanting and maintenance of the land and vines for the next decade or more before the young vines are ready to produce Barolo Vignarionda.
Where our finest Barolos are born
It is the strip of land that defines the northern profile of the commune of Serralunga d'Alba, with an enviable southeastern exposure, this is home to the Cerretta cru, perhaps one of the most distinctive Additional Geographical Mentions of Barolo DOCG. With a typically clay and limestone soil, imparted by the Sant'Agata Fossil Marl, and its 360 meters of altitude, it ensures the wine's lingering intensity on the palate and longevity to the vintages.
The portion owned by the Rosso Family, in particular, forms a natural amphitheater: a gentle basin that seems to embrace the forest below Località Cerretta, generating a unique microclimate.
Partially replanted in 1984 and then in 2000, this vineyard has been owned by the Giovanni Rosso winery since 1920. It comprises 3.5 hectares of vines, that are pruned by hand using the Guyot method, thinned and defoliated according to the peculiarities of the vineyard and its development, from one area to another. The last topping is held in mid-August, then the vines are allowed to develop spontaneously, until the grapes achieve phenolic maturation.
The result is a full-bodied, enveloping and silky wine, perhaps the most "feminine" of the family's Barolos, as assertive and tannic as it is floral.
An elegance and depth that became an emblem of Barolo wine in the world: this is the trait of Serra vineyard, as prominent as its hosting land, one of the highest in the commune of Serralunga d’Alba.
At an average altitude of 370 m above sea level, distinguishable to the eye by its limestone, off-white soil, our sunny hectare of property towers over the surrounding area.
Owned by the Rosso family since 1946 and with replanting in 1984, 1996 and, subsequently, 2003, the Serra vineyard requires constant care and thorough work in the thinning and defoliation stages. This must be balanced according to the vintage and varying altitude, there are parts where the sun beats all day and parts in shade that require stronger pruning to ensure the optimum conditions the wine deserves.
The Land of our Wines
Sensational geometries with unique exposures, the slopes are sometimes barren or heavily wooded: locations where only people can operate, but with the final wines proving it is worth every effort.
The vineyards of Giovanni Rosso are first and foremost the result of a detailed selection, carried out by our family for almost a century, with meticulous replanting aimed at renewing the vines by adapting them to the nature of the land. If our Barolo crus are preceded by their own fame, the other estate vineyards devoted to Nebbiolo and Barbera, nevertheless, present the ideal characteristics to make themselves terroirs of unique Piedmontese wines. From "Broglio," just below the historic center of our beloved Serralunga d'Alba, a sandy, thick stronghold facing east, to "La Valle del Mondo" in Roddino, which only came into production in 2012 and is already the cradle of a distinctive Langhe Nebbiolo, thanks to its gray tufa marls of the Langhe.
Our recent acquisitions include Meriame, also in Serralunga, a historic limestone cru with great promise. Plus, the very special Vigneto Costa Bella, whose exposure, though superb, forced us in 1997 to hang newspaper sheets over the rows to protect the grapes from the August sun. And again, in Serralunga, the beautiful Sorano and Lirano vineyards, respectively suited to Nebbiolo for Barolo wine and Barbera, to the cool and breezy Vigneto Damiano, which with its mineral and limestone soil seems sculpted by nature to represent Barbera wine in an exemplary manner.
Sicily, where our dream continues
Forged for generations among the hills of the Langhe, the Rosso family decided in 2016 to embark on a new challenge, a parallel project that is not meant to oppose the production of Barolo wines but, on the contrary is meant to reaffirm and strengthen what has always been a vocation: to make wines that are the perfect copy of their terroir.
We set our sights high, and not only in a metaphorical sense, looking to Etna and at the 750-meter altitude of an area so suited to red wines that it has made great the wineries linked to the DOC that bears its name.
We are in Solicchiata di Castiglione di Sicilia, on the northeastern slope of the volcano: here, in a unique microclimate, the Giovanni Rosso winery has acquired a single extensive plot of fourteen hectares, for now only partially planted with Carricante and Nerello Mascarese grapes, alternating with small quantities of other varieties as per local tradition.
Inspired by indigenous methodology, we opted for double inverted guyot and two-dimensional sapling cultivation. The goal, in the next few years, is to renovate the ancient millstone at the entrance to our estate, at the foot of the small extinct crater of Contrada Montedolce, as well as to plant new vines trying to express even better the potential of the lava sand soil we have bet on, imprinting it with the elegance that distinguishes us.