La Ca'Növa, Marco Rocca

Italy, Piedmont, Barbaresco



This estate has quietly been making outstanding, terroir-driven Barbarescos for generations from two of the denomination's top crus, Montestefano and Montefico. Perhaps the most remarkable aspect is that these polished and compelling wines are made without utilizing modern technology. Pietro Rocca, the family's smiling and modest patriarch, is a fourth generation of grape grower. In the early 1970s, he began making and bottling Barbarescos; before that, his family sold their grapes to none other than Angelo God. There is no secret as to why these wines are quintessential expressions of Nebbiolo – it all starts in the vineyards with healthy grapes that are allowed to reach an optimal ripeness. Their single vineyard bottlings come from two of the most coveted sites in Barbaresco. Montestefano produces some of the most structured Barbarescos, and the Roccas own prime parcels situated at 270 m above sea level with full southern exposures. Motefico, where the Roccas own the Bric Mentina vineyard, has a similar altitude, Southern and southeastern exposure, and marl soil. Local legend has it that Montefico was once owned by Domizio Cavazza, the founding father of Barbaresco.

Today Pietro is joined by his sons Marco, an enologist, and Ivan, an agronomist who tends to the vineyards. The firm adopts a strictly hands off approach in the winery, using only wild and native yeasts for fermentation. This takes place mostly in steel tanks and three wooden conical bats, but with no temperature control. Just before fermentation is complete, the firm continues fermentation and maceration with the antique tradition known as steccatura, whereby wooden planks keep the cap submerged in the tank. This time-consuming method gently extracts more color and polyphenols. For the firm’s single-vineyard bottlings, fermentation and maceration generally takes twenty-five to thirty days. After fermentation, the firm ages its Barbarescos in 30 hectoliter casks, but rather than Slovenian oak, Pietro prefers Austrian oak: “They are untoasted and neutral, and are the best-quality barrels I have ever seen. In fourteen years, not one has ever leaked a drop.” Pietro recounts that eschewing barriques a decade ago was very difficult, especially since his children were pushing him to switch over. “Now they’re glad we didn’t because these days there is a strong interest in traditionally crafted wines, but it was a battle for a few years,” he says. The wines are also unfiltered, and besides being quintessential Barbarescos with finesse and structure, they are also extremely well priced. - Kerin O'Keefe


Technical Information

Wine Varietals Vine Age Soil Type Farming Type
Barbera d'Alba D.O.C. "Loreto" Barbera 15 years Limestone rich in calcium with sandy veins Organic
Langhe Nebbiolo D.O.C. Nebbiolo 20 years Limestone rich in calcium with sandy veins Organic
Barbaresco D.O.C.G. Nebbiolo 20 years Limestone rich in calcium with sandy veins Organic
Barbaresco D.O.C.G. "Montestefano" Nebbiolo 35 years Calcareous limestone with sandy veins Organic
Barbaresco D.O.C.G. "Montefico vigna Bric Mentina" Nebbiolo 30 years Calcareous limestone with sandy veins Organic