It’s not often (enough!) that I’ve got a glass of wine that makes me repeat, like a broken record (dating myself here, oh well) exclamations, like wow!, and fantastic!, or really?, that’s amazing!; this was one of those wines/experiences.
(below: inside a part – there are more than half a dozen – of the old cellars at Cascina Chicco – notice the use of many different types/ages of wood/ageing barrels)
As the wine opened up with more air, the already quite vibrant aromas became even more beautiful/complex and more intense. The palate is bigger than most Nebbiolo-based wines from this region (a true reflection of the warm vintage, IMHO), but it’s not overworked at all (i.e. too extracted); it’s big, but equally lifted; the tannins are round, large and sweet. This wine can go the distance, but it can satisfy today as well with just an hour or two of aeration in decanter.
18 March, 2017: 2011 Cascina Chicco Roero Riserva Valmaggiore “Wow, this is a great wine. It’s dark-ish (for Nebbiolo), but it’s not over-worked or tiresome in any way. Served blind, I’d have been in the $50-$100 category without exception. The aromas are intense after just 60 minutes in wide-bottom decanter; though the fabric of the flavors/layers of fruit are more hesitant to unwind. Seriously, this is impressive, and not what I had pictured in my mind prior to opening (given the modest price tag, i.e. not meant to be a slight toward the producer/site in any way – they’re both great). Close to full-bodied now, this clearly has the material and structure to go another 10 or 15 years with no problem – and it will get better as it does. I may see if they have a magnum or jero for sale when I see them in the coming weeks. 14,0% abv.” highly recommended
Below you will find a series of pictures taken while visiting Cascina Chicco. In them, you’ll see lots of different sizes of oak vessels used for ageing. The conditions for ageing wine here are perfect: dark, damp, cold, as the cellar is buried within the side/top of a hill. You’ll need your scarf and coat if you visit, even if it’s in July.
When people visit this area, I think, in general they head for the big names. A visit to Cascina Chicco (nice video) is far more interesting than the sterile this-room-and-that-area-are-off-limits types of places that have just gotten too big/famous/expensive; these places bore me, actually. Cascina Chicco is a hidden gem, the wines are consistently good, and even more consistently, excellent values. For the past several years, they ‘ve also been making/ageing sparkling Nebbiolo finished in a Methode Champenoise style – these folks are smart, talented and in a way, they’ve got one foot rooted in tradition, and another looking toward the future.
(below: it’s dark in these parts of the cellar, this photo was taken with a 20 second exposure, and the light in the room was a small light, less than the size of my palm, that I’d placed in there, otherwise, it was pitch black)