La Morra trip report - May 2023

Good evening!

A bit of a trip report from our recent four day stay in La Morra. Apologies for the wordiness (I’m a detail person :blush:), hopefully some may find something of interest… Thought this should go in a separate thread, to avoid spamming the Italian Enquirer thread.

We arrived Sunday evening, just after a period of significant and much-needed rainfall. We stayed at Rocche Costamagna, a @willrcwyatt recommendation that we can heartily endorse. That evening we had dinner at a packed More e Macine, where my wife had a glass of the house Rabel Soffio (a declassified Roero Arneis), that was more interesting than other RAs we tried subsequently. We shared a bottle of Brezza Barolo 2019, also lovely for a young Barolo.

Monday morning saw us walking down the hill to visit Nadia Curto in Ciotto, a tiny hamlet near Annunziata. It was just the two of us at the tasting. First, a quick walk around the vineyards with the charming Elisa (who is not family, but works there and comes from Emilia-Romagna, so we commiserated about the floods there). We saw the vines that provide the grapes that go into the Barolo La Foia (SE facing and cooler) and those providing fruit for the Barolo Arborina cru (S facing vines). In the cellar we saw the roto-fermenter and barriques used to make the “modern” style Arborina cru and the botti used for the more traditional La Foia.

Their Informale - a blend of dolcetto and nebbiolo from young vines - is designed for early drinking, a vino da tavola, young, quaffable and fruity, with tannins of course. We tasted the 100% Dolcetto, which at least one of us enjoyed - fruity, not much tannin evident. Then on to a comparison of modern vs traditional styles: the Barolo La Foia 2019 - light orange/ruby red, long legs, really nice even this young, approachable in 4-6 years says Elisa - and the Barolo Arborina 2019 - obviously a darker colour due to the higher extraction achieved in the roto-fermenter, but with a shorter maceration time (about a week) - ‘sweeter’ tasting on the palate, but the higher tannin content showed through on the finish, disguised by the initial aromatics - approachable in 6-7 years, says Elisa

We were also treated to their Barolo La Foia 2016 Riserva - light orange/ruby red - very long legs, tasting beautifully light and delicate with some tertiary flavours but could still develop for many years, gaining complexity, as there is still much structure to resolve/support it. This is €70 or €65 for 6. I was sorely tempted, as I know it represents good value for a wine of this quality, but it is beyond my budget.

Aurelio Settimo
Monday afternoon and our second walk of the day down from La Morra to Annunziata. Just us two tasting again. Aurelio died in 2007 and Tiziana is now the owner. We met her two sons and niece, who were taking a break from working in the vineyards (it was hot!). Lara showed us around. She is not family, but works in the office, travels to wine fairs and works with their importers. She is also a mine of information.

They have 7 hectares, 1 of which is dolcetto, 2.5 is nebbiolo on a SE exposure that goes into their Barolo Classico and LN, and 3.5 hectares of nebbiolo on a SW exposure on Rocche dell’Annunziata, which goes into their single-vineyard Barolo RdA.

We were only supposed to be tasting 4 wines, but ended up tasting 6.
Their rosata “Sett” is actually a 2022, but they are not allowed to put the vintage on the bottle (DOCG rules). It is 50:50 nebbiolo and dolcetto, vinified for just one night on the skins (6-8 hours). Very quaffable and apparently very popular with the Japanese (for sushi) and the Norwegians (to accompany salmon).

Their Dolcetto is the 2020, they age it a bit before release, whereas most of the dolcettos in the restaurants around town will be 2022. Nice, but we preferred the Curto Dolcetto. It undergoes a one week maceration, 1 or 2 years in concrete tanks and then bottled. 12.5%.

Their Langhe Nebbiolo 2019, 3 years in concrete, no oak. They sell a lot to the restaurant trade. Fresh and fruity.

Their 2018 Barolo DOCG vs their 2018 Barolo RdA. Exactly the same vinification in the cellar, but from different vineyards. I got a fruity nose on the Classico, but very little on the RdA, more tannins on the RdA (although I was outvoted by my wife and Lara). My preference was for the Classico at this stage in their development.

Tiziana appeared at this point and opened a bottle of their Barolo 2016 Riserva for us to taste. Aged for 7 years, it is now turning garnet and some tar and liquorice flavours were noticeable. Delicious, but at €85 not a buy for us.

We asked about recent vintages and were told that 2021 and 2022 are good, especially the 2021 which might be “up there with 2016” (my paraphrasing).

Tuesday morning we were booked in to taste at Rocche Costamagna, as this is included in the room rate. Hosted by Giulia, who is training to be a somm.
We tasted 4 wines and their grappa. They vinify the wines at their building in the RdA vineyard, they only cellar (& bottle/label) the wines at the hotel site.

Alessandro Locatelli was in reception at the time, but we didn’t get chance to speak to him. Apparently he is not the winemaker, they use a local consultant winemaker, who visits regularly and knows their house style.

Langhe Arneis 2022 €11 13.5%
Fresh and fruity, but just too acidic for me. Four months on lees, with weekly batonnage, and there is some creaminess in there. It will apparently age well.
Langhe Nebbiolo “Roccardo” 2021 €16 13.5%
Very young, fruity, pure and very tannic. But also enjoyable and will age well for a few years.
Barbera d’Alba Superiore 2019 €19
They only make this in good years (we were not given the non-Superiore version, which is €12). A blast of oak flavours from the barriques after the LN, which has seen no oak. Very nice, and will age for up to 13 years, says Giulia.
Barolo Rocche del Annunziata Riserva 2017 €68
A serious wine, with a serious price. Aged for 6 years, so the 2019 Riserva will not be available until 2025. Would defo buy if we could afford it. We were not given the Barolo Classico to try, but I suspect that is also good.
Grappa 42%
Made by distillation of the nebbiolo skins at another location (DOC rules forbid making grappa and vinegar in the same cellar as the Barolo). Nice, but not my thing.

Tuesday afternoon, and a 50m walk over the road brought us to Poderi Marcarini, where we were given a tour of the winery underneath the edifice that you can see from the road (externally there is no indication that this is a winery). Apparently this building used to be the entrance to the mediaeval town of La Morra and people would pay a toll to the monks to enter the town. The lovely vaulted ceilings still bear the holes leading up to the street, from where the monks used to empty the grapes into the cellar below.

Some of the botti were empty, post-racking and had been cleaned. We were informed that they employ a small man to go inside and clean them by hand. They have to manhandle him through the hole in the barrel and it takes him about 1.5 hours to clean one barrel.

Vinification takes place onsite in concrete tanks and stainless steel, they are a very traditional producer and there are no roto-fermenters or barriques here (other than the ones serving as tables). All Slavonian oak of up to 60 years of age.

We chose the basic tasting (€15) and were only supposed to taste 4 wines, but in fact we ended up tasting 6 (for nothing as it turned out, because we bought 12 bottles). They have significant discounts on cases of 6, which I’m not sure the Cantina Comunale can match?

Roero Arneis 2022 €13 14%!
Very young and fresh of course, but something like a viognier as well. Nice, we bought some.
Dolcetto 2022 Fontanazza 13% €12.50. Fontanazza is a ‘localita’ of the vineyard of Boiolo (?) This is not supposed to be tannic, but I found it so.
Barbera d’Alba Ciabot Camerano 2021 €15
We both liked this. It has been raised in oak, but botti, not barriques, so quite different to the RC one. I preferred this one, I think.

Barolo La Serra 2019 €53 (€286 for 6)
Barolo Brunate 2018 €67.50 (€364 for 6)
Both 14%. Interesting comparison between these two. The Brunate is released after 5 years and La Serra (higher up the hill from Brunate) after 4 years. Brunate is by far the more complex and serious wine, the La Serra lighter (but just as nice). Vinification is the same.

Barolo Comune di La Morra 2019 €33 (€178 for 6).
To my uneducated palate, this was almost as good as the two crus. It is usually a 60:40 blend of fruit from Brunate and La Serra that does not make it into the cru wines. Give it a few years and it will be lovely.
Generous pours here.

Wednesday morning found us driving to Barbaresco to call in at Produttori del Barbaresco. They do not offer tours, but they allow you to taste their basic wines (not the crus) in their shop. Their Langhe Nebbiolo 2021 (€15) and Barbaresco 2019 (€25) were both drinking nicely already. Obviously I bought some, but had to fight the urge to buy more at this price.

The Don Fiorino Riserva 2016 wooden case of 3 was also on display, but limited to one per customer. A mere €240 would have secured one of these, currently offered at TWS for £315. I really need to win the lottery!

Then on to Poderi Colla in the afternoon for our 3pm tasting, shared with another two couples, both east coast Americans. We were greeted by Ernesto “Tino” Colla, brother of the late, great Beppe Colla (who died in 2019). His niece, Beppe’s daughter, Federica turned up later. He showed us the vineyards that are visible from the estate, but obviously they have holdings in Bussia too. All their wines are single-vineyard, the Barbaresco from Roncaglie, their Barolo from Bussia Dardi Le Rose. They also make a Riesling and a Pinot Nero from the estate wines here.

Tino urged us to smell the roses that were growing around the place (amazingly complex smell) and he is obviously a nature lover, eager to talk about the viticulture, but less keen to talk about the vinification. He seems to believe that the magic happens in the vineyard, not the cellar.

We all sat down to taste in their museum, which contained some fascinating wine paraphernalia, and lots of pictures of Beppe, still much revered obviously.

Their 2020 Langhe Riesling DOC (€16), which was OK, plenty of acidity but not (to me) recognisable as Riesling. On to the 2022 Pian Balbo Dolcetto d’Alba DOC (€10.50), strikingly red among all the bricky red other grapes. Very distinctive nose, but again nothing special for me (it’s not supposed to be, it’s an everyday drinking wine). This is the only one of their wines not to have seen oak. Next, the 2021 Costa Bruna Barbera d’Alba DOC (€14), which has seen some oak, but only in the big botti, so barely detectable. I didn’t enjoy this as much as the others we tried.
2021 Drago Nebbiolo d’Alba DOC came next (€16). I noted nothing about this at the time. Then on to their 2020 Campo Romano Langhe Pinot Nero DOC (€18). This we agreed was very nice, same colour as all the following nebbiolo wines, but completely different flavour profile. I would certainly have bought some of this, if we weren’t trying to stick to the 18 litre duty-free allowance.
2020 Barbaresco Roncaglie DOCG was next, and very nice it was too, drinking easily already, with the promise of much more to come. We were not offered the 2019, although it is on their price list at a couple of euros more expensive (€34 vs €32).
2019 Barolo Bussia Dardi Le Rose DOCG (€45) up next and quite tannic and young, as expected, but excellent. I only wish I had room for more of these, but a definite buy if seen at a reasonable price in the UK.
Saved until later in the order for some reason, the 2019 Bricco del Drago Langhe DOC (€21), a blend of 85% Dolcetto and 15% Nebbiolo. They are obviously very proud of this, but I couldn’t see the appeal. However, my wife loved it.
Finally, their BONME’ Moscato Aromatizzato all’ Assenzio (€22) - a white vermouth basically. Lovely sweetish vermouth, with their blend of natural herbs and spices. Everybody attending the tasting bought several bottles of this.

On Thursday, a visit to the Aladdin’s cave that is the Cantina Comunale di La Morra, in the town of La Morra. They have the current vintage and some older wintages of all the producers from La Morra comune, at the same prices the producers offer the wines at. The ladies in there are very knowledgeable and helpful. We bought:

Oddero Barolo DOCG 2019
Burzi Barolo DOCG 2019
Pierangelo Bosco Barolo Boiolo 2019
Mario Gagliasso Barolo Rocche dell’Annunziata 2018

I’ve tasted none of these before, but they all came highly recommended by various people we spoke to and were reasonably priced in the Cantina (around €40 mostly).

Overall impressions of our trip were that this is a great place to come for a week, restaurants all serve typical Piemontese food and are reasonably priced, wine tastings are for the most part realistically priced (€15-€25, although not Scavino, who wanted to charge us €80pp) and most were willing to discount the cost of the tasting if you bought sufficient of their wines (not Settimo, however). Overriding impression was what lovely, grounded people the people at the family wineries were, a real pleasure to talk to about their wines.


Many thanks for taking the time and trouble to post your fascinating and informative thoughts on what sounds like the holiday of a lifetime. I thoroughly enjoyed reading them, so much so, I’m now hankering for a glass of Barolo ( despite it being 9:40 here ! ) :+1:

As an aside, I was watching the Giro d’Italia on Tuesday when the race passed through La Morra, Monforte and Barolo early in the stage. The aerial photography, in the coverage, of the towns and their architecture, vineyards and landscape was absolutely stunning. What a beautiful part of the world that area of Piedmont is :star_struck:


Thanks Mark. Yes, we were gutted to have missed the Giro passing through town. The streets were lined with burgundy coloured bows on the trees and banners over the roads to welcome the riders. Still plenty of very fit looking cyclists touring the area though.


An excellent read, thanks so much. Something i really want to do at some point.


Great notes. Thanks for sharing.
Certainly a few producers to visit next time.

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Fantastic notes - I was visualising it all having been there last October.

Glad to have already purchased some of the wines you’d liked too!

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Added a few pics :slight_smile:

Elisa giving the tour at Nadia Curto

Roses and cherry trees everywhere

Anti-hail nets in place on the prime sites. This is Rocche dell’Annunziata

Rocche Costamagna’s winery and rooms in the foreground, Marcarini is the yellow building on the left

Arborina hill, Mauro Veglio and Elio Altare centre, Verduno village on the hill to the left

Permission to make and sell wine, awarded to Rocche Costamagna in 1841, before the unification of Italy

All botti in Marcarini’s cellar. The one on the right has been emptied and cleaned

Produttori del Barbaresco in the centre of Barbaresco

Tino Colla hosting the tour and tasting at Poderi Colla…

…and the generous tasting line-up

Part of the hill of Cannubi outside Barolo

Such a magical place :heart_eyes:


Absolutely spectacular ! My favourite wine region by some margin


Lovely pics! Really enjoyed your notes too, thank you.

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