Ready for a tour to Italy to experience the magical Roagna wine?
The historical Roagna winery is famous for its Barbaresco and Barolo wines. The magic of this wine estate lies in its old vines, unique terroir, natural winemaking techniques, and time-tested family traditions.
This article will explore all of these elements as well as the history of Roagna, the different vineyards, and which Roagna wines you should buy in 2021.
This Article Contains
- Roagna Crichet Pajè, DOCG Barbaresco, Piedmont, Italy, 2010
- Roagna Crichet Pajè, DOCG Barbaresco, Piedmont, Italy, 2015
- Roagna Montefico Vecchie Viti, DOCG Barbaresco, Piedmont, Italy, 2010
- Roagna Montefico Vecchie Viti, DOCG Barbaresco, Piedmont, Italy, 2013
- Roagna Pira Vecchie Viti, DOCG Barolo, Piedmont, Italy, 2010
- Roagna Pira Vecchie Viti, DOCG Barolo, Piedmont, Italy, 2013
- Roagna Pajè Vecchie Viti, DOCG Barbaresco, Piedmont, Italy, 2010
- Roagna Pajè Vecchie Viti, DOCG Barbaresco, Piedmont, Italy, 2013
A Quick Glimpse Into Roagna Wine
The Roagna family founded the winery in the Barbaresco region of Piedmont in the early 1900s. These stalwarts of the Piedmont wine region are famous for their naturally made wines, especially the expensive Barbaresco Crichet Paje cuvee.
Most of the Roagna wines can keep for decades - their bold and robust flavors improving as the years go by - making them great additions to your wine collection!And, if you’re ever visiting Piedmont, you can visit the winery and stay at Casa Roagna, a bed and breakfast owned by the Roagna family that overlooks the old vines of Castiglione Falletto.
And, if you’re ever visiting Piedmont, you can visit the winery and stay at Casa Roagna, a bed and breakfast owned by the Roagna family that overlooks the old vines of Castiglione Falletto.
So, what’s the real story behind this family-owned wine estate?
The Heritage of the Roagna Winery
Vincenzo and Rosa Roagna started making Barbaresco wine in the late 1800s. However, it was only in 1929 that the Roagna family bought their first vineyard in Barbaresco.
The rest of the historic vineyards were bought over the next few decades. The Casa Roagna wine estate was handed down from Vincenzo and Rosa to their son, Giovanni Roagna, who then passed it onto his son, Alfredo Roagna.
For years the family dreamt of having a cru in the Barolo DOC with the same high standard as their Pajè parcel in Barbaresco. In 1989 they were able to purchase the La Rocche e la Pira vineyard in the picturesque Italian village of Castiglione Falletto.
Today, the wine estate and its historic vineyards are run by Alfredo’s son, Luca Roagna.
Next, let’s explore the Roagna vineyards.
The Roagna Vineyards
The five Roagna vineyards have exceptional terroir and are spread across 16 hectares.
1. Asili Vineyard
This vineyard was bought in 1961 and measures 0.22 hectares. The soil consists of clay, chalk, and sand. Older vines of the Nebbiolo grape are planted here.
2. Carso Vineyard
This vineyard is 1.1 hectares in size and is situated above the fortress of Barbaresco. The terroir is made up of calcareous marl soil, and the vineyard is planted with Chardonnay and Dolcetto.
3. Montefico Vineyard
The Roagna family has been making wine from this vineyard longer than from any other terroir. This historic vineyard faces the village of Neive in Piedmont and has older vines of the Nebbiolo grape. The old vines are planted on calcareous marl soil and limestone.
4. Paje Vineyard
The Paje vineyard is part of the Langhe appellation in Barbaresco. This land faces the Tanaro River Valley and enjoys cold winters and hot summers.
The vineyard is planted with the Nebbiolo and Dolcetto grape vines. The terroir is made up of active limestone and calcareous marl soil.
5. Pira Vineyard
This vineyard is located in the Castiglione Falletto village and is the largest one owned by the Roagna family. It consists of 7 hectares of Nebbiolo, Barbera, and Chardonnay vines and 4 hectares of forest.
This vineyard has a fascinating terroir with overlays of marl gray, limestone, sand, and minerals.
Early vintages from this vineyard were first labeled “Barolo La Rocca e La Pira.” However, in recent years the labeling has changed to “Pira.”
The Spirit of Roagna Winemaking
The estate has a 10-step winemaking manifesto that ensures that each bottle of wine meets the Roagna standards.
The magic starts in the vineyard where the following practices are followed:
- Old Vines: The Roagna family believes that older vine plantings with deep root systems are an integral part of creating expressive and complex wines.
- Massale Selection: The winemakers replant new vineyards with clippings from old vines from other vineyard parcels.
- Organic Farming: Although Roagna’s wine is not certified organic, they follow natural winemaking techniques. They do not use herbicides, fertilizers, or pesticides, and they ensure biodiversity in their vineyards.
- Maturity at Harvest: Grapes are only harvested when they are perfectly matured, which is determined by the taste of the grape.
In the wine cellar, the Roagna winemakers typically carry out these steps:
- Fermentation using Indigenous Yeasts: The winery uses a traditional pre-fermentation technique of pressing a small portion of unripe grapes. After a few days, indigenous yeasts begin to form. Later, this cuvee is added to the freshly crushed grape-must for the rest of the fermentation process.
- Long Maceration: The Roagna winemakers use the submerged cap maceration technique (keeping the grape skins in touch with the wine while it ferments.)
- Long Aging: The wine is matured in wood and the aging period depends on the type of wine.
- Natural Bottling: The winery uses little to no sulfur in the bottling process. The wine does not undergo any filtration.
Alfredo and Luca Roagna personally oversee every step of the process, including bottling and labeling to upkeep the high Roagna standards. The goal is to ensure that each bottle of wine they produce is an exceptional expression of its terroir.
Roagna Wine Styles
Roagna produces multiple styles of wine:
1. Barbaresco Wine
Barbaresco, similarly to Barolo, is made exclusively in Piedmont and from the Nebbiolo grape.
However, Barbaresco wine is aged for only two years under the DOCG guidelines.
The Roagna winery produces eight different types of Barbaresco wine:
- Barbaresco Crichet Paje
- Barbaresco Pajè Riserva
- Barbaresco Pajè Vecchie Viti
- Barbaresco Montefico Vecchie Viti
- Barbaresco Asili Vecchie Viti
- Barbaresco Pajè
- Grappa Barbaresco millesimo
- Grappa Barbaresco
Barbaresco Crichet Paje Cuvee is Roagna’s flagship wine. All Nebbiolo wines produced under this label are old vine bottlings, using vines that are at least 60 years old.
2. Barolo Wine
Barolo is a red Piemonte wine created from the Nebbiolo grape variety. To be classified as Barolo, the wine must be aged for at least two years in an oak cask and one year in the bottle.
To receive a Riserva classification, the Barolo has to be aged for a minimum of five years.
The Roagna winery produces six different Barolo wines:
- Barolo Pira Reserva
- Barolo Pira Vecchie Viti
- Barolo Pira
- Grappa Barolo
- Grappa Barolo Millesimo
- Barolo Chinato
Interestingly, Roagna’s Barolo wines are aged for five years in an oak cask. Roagna’s Barolo Pira Riserva is made from older vines and is only released a decade after the vintage.
3. Langhe Wine
Roagna produces three different wines under the Langhe DOC:
- Langhe Solea: A vinified white wine made of Nebbiolo and Chardonnay
- Langhe Rosso: A red wine made exclusively from Nebbiolo grapes
- Langhe Bianco: A white wine made from the Chardonnay grape variety
Fermentation for all three wines takes about 10 days.
4. Other Wines
The Roagna winery produces two other fine wines:
- Opera Prima: This is a specialty wine made from two to four vintages of Nebbiolo wines.
- Dolcetto d’Alba: This wine is produced from grapes grown in the Pajé and Carso vineyards. Dolcetto d’Alba is created from old vines - the youngest vine is about 45 years old.
In total, Roagna produces 60,000 bottles of wine in a year.
But out of all of these, which Roagna wines should you buy for your collection?
8 Best Roagna Wines to Buy in 2021 (Including Taste and Prices)
1. Roagna Crichet Pajè, DOCG Barbaresco, Piedmont, Italy, 2010
This dry red wine showcases vibrant acidity and well-rounded tannin levels. On the palate, it has delicious flavors of fruit, licorice, and coffee. This Barbaresco Crichet Paje wine pairs well with a traditional Italian pasta dish.
Price of Roagna Crichet Pajè, DOCG Barbaresco, Piedmont, Italy, 2010: $1,017
2. Roagna Crichet Pajè, DOCG Barbaresco, Piedmont, Italy, 2015
This Barbaresco Crichet Paje Cuvee has aromas of red fruit like strawberry and cherry, as well as earthy notes of truffles and licorice. This bottle of Barbaresco Crichet Paje is a truly exquisite Nebbiolo wine with graceful enveloping tannins and delightful acidity.
Price of Roagna Crichet Pajè, DOCG Barbaresco, Piedmont, Italy, 2015: $1,259
3. Roagna Montefico Vecchie Viti, DOCG Barbaresco, Piedmont, Italy, 2010
This wine is an old vine bottling, with the Nebbiolo vines being a minimum of 50 years old. This Barbaresco wine has vibrant acidity, high tannin levels, and aromas of cherry, leather, and crushed mint.
Price of Roagna Montefico Vecchie Viti, DOCG Barbaresco, Piedmont, Italy, 2010: $302
4. Roagna Montefico Vecchie Viti, DOCG Barbaresco, Piedmont, Italy, 2013
Here we have a sublime Barbaresco bottle of wine with a fresh bouquet of red fruit, crushed mint, and menthol with leather undertones. It has vibrant acidity and polished tannins, with a long and lingering finish.
Price of Roagna Montefico Vecchie Viti, DOCG Barbaresco, Piedmont, Italy, 2013: $322
5. Roagna Pira Vecchie Viti, DOCG Barolo, Piedmont, Italy, 2010
This Barolo is a true delight for any wine enthusiast. The wine itself is bold and dry, with a fruit flavor of cherry which is complemented by licorice aromas.
Price of Roagna Pira Vecchie Viti, DOCG Barolo, Piedmont, Italy, 2010: $336
6. Roagna Pira Vecchie Viti, DOCG Barolo, Piedmont, Italy, 2013
This Roagna wine is a lush and elegant old vine bottling. The wine has medium tannin levels and a flavor of red fruit, oak, and chocolate.
Price of Roagna Pira Vecchie Viti, DOCG Barolo, Piedmont, Italy, 2013: $271
7. Roagna Pajè Vecchie Viti, DOCG Barbaresco, Piedmont, Italy, 2010
Roagna’s Pajè Vecchie Viti wine is simultaneously delicate and powerful. It has a beautiful ruby color with clean and fresh aromas of cherry and vanilla and a palate of tar and crushed mint.
Price of Roagna Pajè Vecchie Viti, DOCG Barbaresco, Piedmont, Italy, 2010: $315
8. Roagna Pajè Vecchie Viti, DOCG Barbaresco, Piedmont, Italy, 2013
The 2013 vintage of Roagna Pajè Barbaresco is rich, lush, and full of fruit flavors. It has great structure, with enveloping tannins, sharp acidity, and aromas of raspberry and vanilla. Pair this wine with traditional food from Piedmont.
Price of Roagna Pajè Vecchie Viti, DOCG Barbaresco, Piedmont, Italy, 2013: $248
Should You Invest in Roagna Wine?
Roagna’s Barbaresco and Barolo wines age very well and some of them can be cellared for decades.
Roagna’s flagship wine is a good investment that is often seen at auctions. For instance, 6 bottles of Barbaresco Crichet Paje 2004 sold for $2,072 at a 2020 Sotheby’s auction.
The prices of Crichet Paje have been on a slow rise. Between 2019 and 2021:
- The 2011 vintage went from $740 to $879, a 19% increase.
- The 2006 vintage rose by 26% from $783 to $984.
- The 2001 vintage went from $696 to $947, a 36% price increase.
Now, you may find bottles of Roagna wine at auctions or specialty wine shops.
But how about other rare, investment-grade wines that you want to add to your wine portfolio?
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A Classic Roagna Wine For Your Cellar
The Roagna winery is definitely one to reckon with, with its attention to detail in winemaking, natural farming methods, and long-standing family traditions. These winemakers also expertly capture the essence of the magnificent Piedmont terroir in each bottle of wine.
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