According to winemaker Valter Fissore—husband of Elvio Cogno’s daughter Nadia—, this plot is ‘the heart and soul’ of the mighty Ravera cru. Exposed due south to the full brunt of afternoon light, Bricco Pernice is also protected from the wind. This dynamic conspires to create a mesoclimate considerably warmer than the rest of the cru. White soils heavy in solid limestone service strapping wines that are ferrous, pungently mineral, brooding and evocative of truffles, macerated cherry, liquorice, leather and iodine. As with Vigna Elena, these are candidates for long ageing, seeing three-years in botti for tone and poise.
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.