09 Feb Please The Palate Wine of the Week: Antica Cascina dei Conti di Roero Maria Teresa Brut Rosé
I have had sparkling wines made from Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier, of course. I have also had sparkling wines made from other grapes, such as Grenache. But I had never had a sparkling Nebbiolo until this week and that is why the Antica Cascina dei Conti di Roero Maria Teresa Brut Rosé is the Please The Palate wine of the week.
Sparkling Nebbiolo, made in the Classic Method, is not a new idea. Italian sparkling wines originated in Piemonte, Italy, where Nebbiolo reigns. Carlo Gancia, the father of Italian sparkling wine, began to study bottle fermentation during the eighteenth century and had practiced with the local grapes at the time – Nebbiolo and Moscato. I even read that President Thomas Jefferson visited Turin in 1787 and tasted a Nebbiolo wine that he said was “as lively as Champagne.”
Sparkling Nebbiolo production is not practiced much today, perhaps due to cost or because still Nebbiolo can garner more money. But, one winery in Roero is producing sparkling Nebbiolo and after visiting them a few months ago, I brought a bottle back to enjoy at home.
Antica Cascina dei Conti di Roero was purchased by the Olivero family in the 1950s. They started the winery in 1970 and today Daniele Olivero and her husband Luigi Roagna manage the winery. They sustainably farm thirty-three acres of vineyards located in three areas of Roero – Vezza d’Alba, Canale, and Monteu Roero and specialize in the traditional grapes Arneis, Nebbiolo, Barbera, Favorita, and Bonarda.
The Antica Cascina dei Conti di Roero Maria Teresa Brut Rosé is dedicated to Daniela’s mother, Maria Teresa and the first bottling was produced in 2011. For sparkling wine, the Nebbiolo grapes are hand-picked early, usually around the end of August. The grapes are pressed and fermented in stainless steel. In the spring, the wine, with the addition of sugar and selected yeasts, is bottled and laid down for 18 months before disgorgement and corking. The wine is then aged for 24-36 months.
The Antica Cascina dei Conti di Roero Maria Teresa Brut Rosé is dry. It is a delicated pale-orange pink color. Nebbiolo, when made into a sparkling wine, tends to keep its aromatics and this wine definitely did. Aromas of red fruits and rose petals with a touch of brioche on the palate, the wine is fresh and elegant with good acidity and a lovely texture. This is a wine to enjoy on its own, or it is versatile and can pair with sushi, shellfish, risottos and pastas, grilled fish and vegetables.