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Rocche dei Manzoni

A méthode champenoise from Piemonte. Chardonnay in the land of reds. Barrique-aged Nebbiolo and Barbera. They may not sound significant or revolutionary, but in the seventies, these unprecedented efforts of the late Valentino Migliorini helped change the wine landscape in Barolo. Valentino Migliorini was one of Piemonte’s most profound agents of transformation: His larger-than-life personality won acceptance in the land most resistant to change, and his portfolio of wines from the Rocche dei Manzoni estate inspired many of Piemonte’s great winemakers to rethink Barolo and to think beyond Nebbiolo. Valentino Migliorini’s recent passing (in December of 2007) is a tremendous loss not only to the Italian wine community but to the wine realm at large. His son, Rodolfo, however, has worked by his side for several years, and will continue to honor his father in both practice and principle. Moreover, there remain many wines that have been crafted under his care, including the 1999 Pianpolvere Soprano (released in 2006) and the Barolo Riserva 1999 Madonna Assunta La Villa—a cru wine that will be released in 2009.

Situated in the Manzoni Soprani area of Monforte d’Alba, Rocche dei Manzoni was originally established in the 1700s, commencing its modern era in 1974, when Valentino and his wife, Jolanda, purchased the old winery and its prized vineyards. Valentino had fallen in love with Piemonte when visiting the region to acquire a selection of reds to serve at his Michelin-starred restaurant in Emilia-Romagna. The fashionable Francophile returned to Barolo with the winemaking skills he had acquired from his father. His passion for Nebbiolo soon surpassed his dedication to the regional dishes of Emilia-Romagna, leading him to abandon the renowned restaurant that had brought him fame and to pursue his passion for the vine through fearless experimentation.

Initial production included Dolcetto, Barbera, and Barolo, yet Valentino did not adhere to either the area's traditional varietal constituency nor practices. He was the first to plant Chardonnay (for his barrel-fermented L'Angelica) and produced the Langhe's premiere blend—Bricco Manzoni (80% Nebbiolo and 20% Barbera)—in 1976, for which he employed small French oak barrels. Its younger sibling in the portfolio is Quatr Nas, an innovative blend of Nebbiolo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Nero, and Merlot.

It is easy to cast Valentino as a modernist, but to taste his early Barolos from the late seventies and early eighties is to experience Barolo’s classic side. Valentino firmly attributed his success to viticulture rather than vinification: His respect for the land always took precedence, and there is no disputing the remarkable ageworthiness of his wines—an element that makes these some of the greatest values in Piemonte. Valentino’s representation of the historic Santo Stefano di Perno Vineyard constitutes the cru dei cru of his single-vineyard Barolos. Valentino’s Barolos generally require several years of age in order to reach a place wherein the various elements realize a cohesive whole and reflect the nature of their respective sites. Vigna d'la Roul and Big 'd Big are his other single-vineyard Barolos.

Wines:
Barolo Big 'd Big
Barolo Vigna d'la Roul
Barolo Vigna Cappella Santo Stefano
Barolo Madonna Assunta la Villa
Barolo Riserva
Barbera d'Alba Vigna la Cresta
Barbera d'Alba Sorito Mosconi
Dolcetto d'Alba La Matinera
Langhe Rosso 'Pinonero'
Langhe Chardonnay 'l'Angelica'
Langhe 'Quatr Nas'
Langhe 'Bricco Manzoni'
'Remember'
Spumante Brut Metodo Classico 'Valentino Riserva Elena'
Spumante Brut Metodo Classico 'Valentino Brut Zero'
Region: Piemonte

DOC(G)s:
Barolo
Barbera d'Alba
Dolcetto d'Alba
Langhe
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Rocche dei Manzoni Barolo Vigna Big 'd Big 1999, 750ml Rocche dei Manzoni Barolo Vigna d'la Roul 1995, 750ml
Price: $69.99 Currently Unavailable
Price: $74.99 Currently Unavailable
Rocche dei Manzoni Barolo Vigna Big 'd Big 1999 Rocche dei Manzoni Barolo Vigna d'la Roul 1995
Rocche dei Manzoni Barolo Vigna Big 'd Big Riserva 1990 1500ml
Price: $650.00
Rocche dei Manzoni Barolo Vigna Big 'd Big 1990