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.
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.