Renato Vezza and Samantha Giacosa on Bricco Ernesto

Bricco Ernesto

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Risotto with beets, Il Centro                     

One of the very best restaurants of Piedmont is in Priocca, just a few miles north of Alba, on the edge of the vineyards of the Roero. Il Centro is elegant but not fussy, as is the  food – refreshingly refined versions of local classics; you eat very well indeed. And I don’t often have wine envy, but Enrico and Giampiero Cordero have lovingly assembled a very smart – and very impressive – cellar.

Just a hint of the labyrinthian cellar at Il Centro                             

 

 

 

I wish I was there – it must be amazing in this truffley time of year. Here’s the point: when Giampiero suggested that Walter Speller should visit Renato Vezza at Bricco Ernesto, just down the road from the restaurant, I insisted on coming along – Giampiero knows what’s what. This was a piece of good luck, because Renato (with the invaluable assistance of his partner, Samantha Giacosa) is making one great wine.

In the vines on Bricco Ernesto                                                               

 

That is, literally one wine – and about 1500 bottles of it, depending on the year (5 cases of 2016 and 2017 are in the US). Bricco Ernesto is a steep round hill topped with vines, with hazelnuts on the lower slopes. In Renato’s family for many generations, it’s always been farmed without chemicals, and has been certified organic since 1990. It’s a special spot, and (as so often happens) I didn’t take enough photos because I was swept away by the beauty of the landscape.

 

 

A flock of geese patrols the vines - they are shy, so it's hard to take their picture, but it turns out that you can bond with a goose if you take good care of them.

Renato is a reformed sommelier (he worked at Marco Pierre White, in London, and other spots) – experience which enabled him to taste widely (and very well) and which informs his winemaking – he is determined to make a wine of its place, and the result is a distinctive wine that builds on the style of the great traditional wines of Piedmont.

The recipe is straight-forward: do the cleanest possible work in the vineyard – the Bricco has been so well farmed and is so well ventilated that the vines are generally very healthy. Fermentations are in cement with indigenous yeasts, and typically last around 22 days; aging is in used barriques and some larger botte. The result – see below – is not your typical Roero, to say the least! Jamie Wolff

 

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Bricco Ernesto 2016 Vino Rosso (Nebbiolo - Roero)

To my taste I would have to guess this was a Barbaresco, but a Barbaresco of great finesse and elegance. If there’s a place in the wine to determine that you’re elsewhere, it might be the unbelievably suave and ripe tannins of the Bricco Ernesto. Aromatically the wine is expansive and rich, a lovely combo of dark cherry fruit and earthy Nebbiolo florality and earthiness. The palate is bright and intense, with an incredibly complex finish – a burst of black cherry, amaro-like herbs, citrus, balsam, and that very fine tannin to extend everything. This is a much deeper and more serious Roero wine than one would ever expect. It is, by any definition, a natural wine, completely unmanipulated, and with a final SO2 level of 27mg. Pretty brilliant wine, in my book, and it will be really interesting to see how it develops. I have a very high opinion of just two other Roero producers (Chiesa, and Val del Prete), but Bricco Ernesto is a game-changer. Jamie Wolff

  • Out of Stock
  • red
  • 0 in stock
  • $47.99

  • Organic
  • Low Sulfur

Bricco Ernesto 2017 Vino Rosso (Nebbiolo - Roero)

The 2017 boasts a more warm, comforting character. It started out pronounced and edgy, but after tasting periodically over an evening, the wine mellowed into aromas of cherry, winter spices, and airy, roasted coffee. Flavors of dried red fruits and black pepper developed on the palate. Perfect for a cold night. Dave Hatzopoulos

To my taste I would have to guess this was a Barbaresco, but a Barbaresco of great finesse and elegance. If there’s a place in the wine to determine that you’re elsewhere, it might be the unbelievably suave and ripe tannins of the Bricco Ernesto. Aromatically the wine is expansive and rich, a lovely combo of dark cherry fruit and earthy Nebbiolo florality and earthiness. The palate is bright and intense, with an incredibly complex finish – a burst of black cherry, amaro-like herbs, citrus, balsam, and that very fine tannin to extend everything. This is a much deeper and more serious Roero wine than one would ever expect. It is, by any definition, a natural wine, completely unmanipulated, and with a final SO2 level of 27mg. Pretty brilliant wine, in my book, and it will be really interesting to see how it develops. I have a very high opinion of just two other Roero producers (Chiesa, and Val del Prete), but Bricco Ernesto is a game-changer. Jamie Wolff

  • Out of Stock
  • red
  • 0 in stock
  • $47.99

  • Organic
  • Low Sulfur