A hidden gem in Piedmont!
Across two vineyards with two different terroirs, the estate of Monchiero Carbone “seeks to highlight the quality of small- scale productions”. The current family who run the winery are continuing the work of their forefathers, who first cultivated the land in the 1900s.
The overarching theme is respect for the land, which must be cherished, and the constant dedication to its well-being. The goal is for customers to “savour the aromas, flavours, emotions and passion of a unique territory”.
So, where is ROERO?
Check the map below to get a sense of where the Roero vineyards are located in comparison to more famous sites of Barolo and Barbaresco.
In the heart of the Roero hills, established winemaker and Roero wine consortium president Francesco Monchiero, with his wife Lucrezia, manage an award-winning portfolio of wines.
HISTORY & TERROIR
Their destiny seemed inevitable, given the legacy of viniculture that stretches back on both sides of the family. The Carbones planted white Arneis vines in the Tanon area in the early 1900s and the Monchieros first purchased the Monbirone vineyards in 1918 to grow Barbera.
The soil at Tanon is light, dry and sandy while that of Monbirone is hard, limey and almost chalky “where just two drops of water are all it takes for the ground to become as slippery as soap”. With these two very different terrains, the Monchiero Carbone estate practices the art of balancing the land’s natural gifts to produce outstanding wines that express the life of the vine.
The winemakers at Monchiero Carbone have been concerned that the world of wine may be falling under the spell of globalisation, where “aromas and tastes of wines are becoming increasingly uniform and standardised”.
At this estate, the opposite rings true. The history and culture of a specific area sets the scene for the Monchiero Carbone production.
When you taste their local ARNEIS you taste the soil of Roero* and if you sip their BARBERA you're transported to the MonBirone hill, so-named for the sanctuary dedicated to the Madonna of MonBirone.
(*For 130 million years, the whole of lower Piedmont was part of the seabed of an inland sea, called the Po Valley Gulf, which completely covered a large part of Northern Italy. During the Miocene period about 10 million years ago Langhe and Monferrato began to emerge, while ROERO remained underwater ... it was a shallow basin which emerged at a later stage, 2- 3 million years ago. For this reason, the soil of the Roero hills is very rich in sand, mixed with clay and limestone, and it is not at all rare to find fossil shells deposited in the ground.)
The wine labels feature a lion door-knocker with an Italian phrase that translates to “every door has its knocker", highlighting the idea that “beyond the door of the winery is to be found a unique history ... that cannot be reproduced in any other wine cellar”.
It is also testament to the estate’s belief that every wine, produced from a particular hill, “will result in a wine with a multitude of different facets”.
WHICH WINE TO TRY?
LOCAL WHITE GRAPE
The white grape Arneis makes refreshing wines that are very food-friendly, thanks to a savoury edge in the character.
Looking for something light and fruity, but still full of character? You can't go wrong with a bottle of ROSATO - a beautiful blend of Barbera and Nebbiolo.
At only $35 this is a perfect 'poolside' party wine and pairs really well with sticky ribs! ;-)
The Nebbiolo grape is one of Italy's most famous wine exports, but usually as a BAROLO, BARBARESCO or Langhe Nebbiolo. Those of you who joined my wine tastings (back when 'events' were easier) will have heard me wax lyrical about Nebbiolo from other area, such as GATTINARA in the north of the region ... or this stunning lesser-known area of Langhe called ROERO.
Monchiero Carbone's local Nebbiolo vine thrives in the Roero soil. Start by trying the SRU 2015 or 2017 and don't miss their premium Nebbiolo called PRINTI ... if you're quick you still have time to try both the 2010 and 2016 vintages (the older vintage is nearly sold out and no longer available to re-stock).
Fan of Barolo but new to other Nebbiolo wines? Take a moment to watch a tasting between Printi and a Barolo from wine educator and vlogger Wine Folly, to get a feel for the differences and similarities - click here.
Psst! The team at Monchiero Carbone do also offer a BAROLO so you can do your own direct comparison ;-)
Over the years (since 2014) we've been enjoying each vintage of Barbera MonBirone and every year it's a contender for the 'top 10' list of wines in our collection!
This premium red is a single cru Barbera from the most celebrated hill in Canale (home to the sanctuary of Our Lady of MonBirone). The 2017 vintage is rich and deep in character; packed with red and black fruit flavours, plus some sweet spices and chocolate notes; with a very long persistent finish. It's ready for your glass and will pair well with a rich dish like stew or BBQ meat, or will age beautifully in the bottle for years - if you can wait that long! ;-)
Monchiero Carbone also make a tasty MOSCATO D'ASTI that works well as an aperitif, or for the end of the meal with a light dessert (perfect with fresh fruit).
For fans of slightly sweet and slightly fizzy RED wines (like Lambrusco) why not try a bottle of BIRBET, made from the local vine Brachetto.
Still not sure which wine to try next?
Don't hesitate to contact me for personal recommendations and advice.