The first vineyard planted by Cogno, on lighter sandier soils within Ravera. It is named after maker Valter Fissore’s daughter. Today it is a cult wine, prized among regional aficionados for alluring floral aromas, an intensity of flavour and a lattice of bracing tannins juxtaposed against a chiaroscuro of supple herbal notes, a winning finesse and a lightish hue. This is because Riserva Elena is crafted with the rare Nebbiolo sub-variety Rosé, one of but three permitted in the region. This strongly supports the oft-referenced affinity between Nebbiolo and Pinot Noir; great Barolo and Burgundy.
Cogno's 2012 Barolo Riserva Vigna Elena is one of the finer wines of this generally uneven vintage. Ethereal and gracious, the Vigna Elena is deceptive in its structure and overall feel, and yet it has so much to say. The spice, rose petal, orange zest and bright red cherry fruit are all finely etched. A few years in bottle will help the tannins soften.
95+ points, Vinous (February 2018)
The 2012 Barolo Riserva Ravera Vigna Elena is a dark and savory wine that has already passed into the magical realm of its tertiary evolution. The bouquet is extremely fine and equally complex with dried berry, toasted spice, tar, forest floor and freshly shaved truffle. That truffle note gives the wine a lot of territorial identity and immense charm. The tannins have integrated and show a very fine and polished nature.
95 points, Wine Advocate (September 2018)
Extremely perfumed and fresh with roses, lilac, cherries and hints of strawberries. Medium body, bright acidity and tangy, lively finish. Love the finish on this. Drink now or hold. But it's so good to drink now.
95 points, JamesSuckling.com (January 2018)
The silky texture and graceful profile provide a setting for strawberry, cherry, rose, iron and tobacco flavors in this red. No pushover, this features a solid structure that emerges on the long, earth-, leather-, mineral- and tobacco-tinged aftertaste. Once fully integrated, this should be a beauty.
95 points, Wine Spectator (December 2019)
Truffle, new leather, wild berry, cooking spice and balsamic aromas lead the way on this full-bodied enticing red. On the smooth delicious palate, velvety tannins frame dried black cherry, raspberry compote, licorice and grilled herb.
94 points, Wine Enthusiast (November 2018)
Over the last several vintages the estate of Elvio Cogno has unequivocally thrust
itself into the pantheon of top Barolo makers. Following extensive experience at the Marcarini estate in la Morra, which Cogno co-founded with Giuseppe Marcarini, Cogno returned to his hometown of Novello in 1991, one of the Barolo zone’s eleven villages. Marcarini’s passing and the commercial approach of his grandchildren, the inheritors, left Cogno feeling rudderless. Cogno’s new mission was simple: to revive the most important estate in the town’s greatest–Ravera!
To say that Cogno succeeded is an understatement.
The estate is comprised of eleven hectares, producing 37,000 bottles annually. It is situated right in the middle of the Ravera cru, propitiously facing south-south-east at 380 metres above sea level. Friable calcareous chinks segue to prized solid limestone. Each Cogno wine hails from Ravera with vine age, parcel, soil structures and clonal makeups differentiating them. And what wines!
Cogno is as noteworthy for the eponymous Barolo Ravera as for the brisk Barolo Cascina Nuova, hewn of younger vine material. Yet it is often the Barolo Riserva Vigna Elena, crafted with the rare Nebbiolo sub-variety Rosé from a sandier plot, that blows minds! The Cogno estate is as daring as it is consistently excellent.
The estate is now run by Elvio’s daughter Nadia and son-in-law Valter Fissore. Fissore learned the ropes under Elvio, the master. Following a flirtation with modernity, Fissore has come to embrace a traditional gait incorporating a return to large Slavonian casks and ambient fermentations using the hallowed submerged cap technique, all in the presence of impeccably ripe fruit to facilitate noble tannins. Abstemious yields, attenuated macerations and minimal sulphur-dioxide as a means to encapsulate a culture of organic viticulture, while expressing the most prized plots of Ravera, are de rigeur.