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A  Favorite Recommendation
Cogno is a perfect example of the band of Barolo and Barbaresco producers that exist below the fancy names and fancy prices, who produce first-class wines from some of the best sites, vintage-in, vintage-out. Though it is hard to pretend that Elvio Cogno’s name should be below anyone’s radar; the wines he made at Marcarini in the ‘60s, ‘70s, and ‘80s, with their unforgettable and unmistakable gold label, are magnificent treasures and highly-prized by collectors today.

But while the Conternos, Mascarellos and Rinaldis have tripped off to a different price-level in the last five years, the likes of Cogno, Brovia, Vajra, Cavallotto, Grasso (and many more) are making first-class wines at about $50 to $125 that can rival the best. If they were Burgundy, they would be grand cru at a premier cru price.



The Essence and Expression of Ravera
The estate is now run by Elvio’s daughter Nadia and her husband Valter Fissore, but the tradition of tradition remains strong here.

Their wines are all about the magnificent amphitheatric Ravera cru, high up in the hills in the south of the Barolo zone. The cru name appears on a number of noteworthy producers, Vajra and Scavino among them, but the most illustrious grower is Giuseppe Rinaldi, who, for many years combined his Ravera with the wine from Cannubi-San Lorenzo to complement that vineyard’s supple elegance with Ravera’s power and density.



The Wines
The Baroli appear under four labels:
Nuova is produced from a patch of younger vines, though their full south-facing aspect just below the Cascina is spectacular. It is made to be the most fruit-forward and appealing wine in the portfolio and is the ‘lightweight’ in the stable for sure, but like many wines in this category from top producers, it is a wonderful wine and should not be over-looked. -More than ‘fit-for-purpose’ given its remarkable value.

Ravera is the standard-bearer and the estate’s most important cru bottling. The Cogno name has become as synonymous with Ravera as Marcarini was with Brunateand La Serra forty years before.

After two generations on the property, the family knows the cru intimately. They instinctively harness Ravera’s usual weight and power to elegance and finesse born of traditional sensibilities applied with a modernists technical precision. This is one of Barolos most important but underrated wines.

Bricco Pernice is a sub-section of Ravera. It is a true Bricco, a small rounded hill, whose southwestern face provides the fruit for this remarkable wine. The soil is a bleached white with a high limestone content and high pH. The exposure provides ample ripeness but the soil delivers high levels of acidity every year. It is a beautifully balanced full-bodied Barolo.

Riserva Vigna Elena is another subsection of the Ravera Cru; just one hectare that was planted exclusively with the near-extinct ‘Rosa’ clone of Nebbiolo in 1991. It is only bottled in the best years as a riserva and is named after Elvio’s grandaughter. It is almost unique in Barolo as an example of the Rosa clone but also expresses Ravera admirably. It is rare and highly collectible as a result, far more so than the price would suggest.



The Vintages in this Offer
The current releases of these wines are from 2014 for Elena, 2015 for Pernice and 2016 for the Ravera and Nuova.

2016 and 2015 are one of those back-to-back pairings that will live in memory like ’89 and ’90 or ‘70 and  ’71. The comparison will go on long after we are all gone. They are both great vintages for both longevity and completeness of style. The ’16 may be more refined but the ’15 has the power. Take your pick, or take both, why not?

2014 was a wet year and a near wash-out for many, but the aspect and dramatic topography of Ravera helped produce wines at Cogno that resemble the great successes of Barbaresco in that vintage, rather than those of their neighbors in Barolo. The ‘14s are drinkers’ wines. They will provide a lot of pleasure before many more celebrated vintages come of age.

Barolo Cascina Nuova 2016
$55 per bottle
92 points Vinous: "Cogno's 2016 Barolo Cascina Nuova is absolutely gorgeous. Pliant and expressive on the palate, the 2016 has a touch more mid-palate sweetness and texture than in the past, when the wine has been more nervous in feel. Sweet red cherry, blood orange, mint, wild flowers, cedar, sweet tobacco and anise all open upeffortlessly. Silky tannins add to its considerable immediacy and appeal. This is sucha pretty wine in its peer group and also a terrific example of how attractive more modestly priced Barolos are in 2016. (Drink between 2023-2036)."

Barolo Ravera 2016
$89 per bottle, $180 per magnum
94 points Vinous: "The 2016 Barolo Ravera shows all of the energy and tension this site is so well-known for. Penetrating acids and veins of tannin give the Ravera its drive and overall feel. Naturally, the 2016 is going to need at least a few years to be at its best, but it has tremendous breeding and character to burn. White pepper, mint, sweet red cherry and citrus add to the wine's high-toned profile. This is another stellar wine from Cogno. (Drink between 2024-2041)."

Barolo Bricco Pernice 2015
$110 per bottle, $220 per magnum
95 points Vinous: "The 2015 Barolo Bricco Pernice is an exotic, beguiling wine. Blood orange, mint, sweet red cherry, star anise and a range of spice notes give the Bricco Pernice striking aromatic and flavor complexity. Medium in body, refined and super-expressive, the 2015 has so much to offer. Best of all, it will drink well with just a few years in bottle. It is such an effortless, gracious wine. Very polished, nuanced and elegant, this silky Barolo has a ton of structure but is also impeccable in its balance. (Drink between 2022-2035)."

Barolo Riserva ‘Vigna Elena’2014
$110 per bottle, $220 per magnum
97 points Vinous: "Cogno's Barolo Riserva Vigna Elena 2014 is just as impressive from bottle as it was from barrel. Lifted, gracious and super-expressive, the 2014 offers that most magical combination that Nebbiolo can deliver - weight without excess power. Dark, sensual and layered, the 2014 will drink beautifully for many years and decades to come. Sweet floral, spice and blood orange overtones complement the striking Nebbiolo fruit nicely. (Drink between 2024-2044)."

Offered subject to availability for import to arrive in June/July.

COURTIER | 510 926 6565
2266 Central Street #3A
Richmond, CA 94801
courtier@courtierwines.com
courtierwines.com

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