Discover Piemonte's Real Roero

by Fred Swan

Piemonte is one of Italy’s two greatest wine regions. And when we think of Piemonte, we tend to focus on one grape, Nebbiolo, and two zones, Barolo and Barbaresco. But there is a lot more to Piemonte. On June 5, the San Francisco Wine School hosted an excellent tasting-seminar, presented by Carlo Deltetto of Deltetto Winery and Instructor Chris Miller, highlighting one Piemonte region which should not be overlooked—Roero.

Roero is a hilly zone that lies across the Tanaro River from Barbaresco. Its soils are sedimentary, predominantly well-drained marl-sandstone with varying percentages of limestone and clay. They formed when the area was flat and lay beneath an ancient inland sea, the Golfo Padano, which disappeared 130 million years ago.

The climate is Mediterranean with alpine influences. Roero sees less than 30” of rain annually which, combined with the sloping vineyards and porous soil, results in small grapes with very concentrated flavors. The growing season is somewhat short due to cold—it’s quite near the Alps. Hail and frost are risks in both Spring and Autumn. Heat during the growing season is moderated by frequent, heavy fog.

Roero DOCG specializes in white wines made from Arneis and reds from Nebbiolo. Though Each is made in both “normal" and Riserva styles and the Arneis is also used for Spumante (sparkling) wines. Though it only attained DOCG status in 2005, Roero is no newcomer to viticulture. Written records show Arneis was cultivated there by at least the 14th century.

Arneis is among the handful of native Italian varieties which were nearly extinct by the middle of the 20th century. Gradually, starting in the 1970’s, passionate producers began planting dedicated vineyards and it’s acreage rose from a scant ten to more than 10,000 today. The winemaking has also be modernized bladder presses, stainless fermenters and other techniques used to create lively, non-oxidative wines with flavor profiles that tend to include green and yellow apples, meyer lemon and, in the riper wines, hints of peach.

Seminar attendees enjoyed two guided flights of Arneis wines. The first was dedicated to young and sparkling wines, the latter to aged examples.

Costa Catterina Roero Arneis Spumante 2016
Negro Lorenzo Roero Arneis Spumante 2011

Marco Porello Roero Arneis “Camestri” 2016
Malvira Roero Arneis 2016
Valfaccenda Roero Arneis 2015
Battaglio Roero Arneis 2016

Tenuta Carretta Roero Arneis “Canorei” 2012
Pace Roero Arneis 2012
Cornarea Roero Arneis “Enritard” 2012

While the Nebbiolo of Roero, of course, differs somewhat in character from one municipality to the next, its style is generally elegant and approachable. The grapes notorious tannins are present, but softer than is typical of Barolo and Barbaresco. This makes the Roero Nebbiolo an easier, and earlier, drinker. The wines still age though, as was evident from a 2008 in flight four that is tremendous but has many years ahead of it.

As with the Arneis, the Nebbiolo were presented in two flights, young and aged.

Matteo Correggia Roero “Val de Preti” 2013
Val del Prete Roero “Bricco Medica” 2013
Costa Stefanino Roere “Gepin” 2012
Cantina Careglio Roero 2011

Deltetto Roero Riserva “Braja” 2012
Cascina Chicco Roero Riserva “Valmaggiore” 2011
Monchiero Carbone Roero Riserva “Printi” 2008
Chiesa Carlo Roero Riserva “Monfriggio” 2010

After the seminar and four flights, attendees were able to sample another 16 Arneis and 8 Nebbiolo in a walk-around, self-pour tasting.

Stay tuned to our Public Events & Appearances for more Seminar and Tasting opportunities!

Learn more about Italy with Italian Wine Professional and Italian Wine Scholar.
By Alex Pace | | fred swan, italy, piedmont, piemonte, tasting |
next post → ← previous post


San Francisco Wine School strives to open up the world of wine to serious students and enthusiasts everywhere while helping people of all levels break into the wine industry, advance their career, or simply pursue their passions. Founded by Master Sommelier and Certified Wine Educator David Glancy, San Francisco Wine School is the largest wine school in the U.S., offering the most thoughtful approach to wine study. Their inspired educational programs and workshops are taught in their state of the art wine education & events center and their cutting edge virtual classroom by industry-leading instructors from all major educational disciplines. San Francisco Wine School’s curriculum features the best content in the business: expert course materials, carefully conceived wine flights, and in-depth blind tasting exercises designed to engage students, illuminate course content and enhance learning. Their brand new sunlight-filled wine education & events center is conveniently located just 5 minutes from San Francisco International Airport and boasts 16-ft high coved ceilings, eight 12-ft tall arched windows, and gorgeous 180 degree views of the San Bruno Mountains, South San Francisco City Hall and the San Francisco Bay, making it the perfect place to enjoy classes, industry seminars and tastings and host a wide variety of private events—from serious educational programs for wine/hospitality industry staff to team-building and other fun, social, private events for wine enthusiasts.

Stay in Touch