Deep, earthy and peppery; closed but full-bodied; big and brooding. Compact dark hedgerow fruit, cool earth and a hint of mocha. Dense and tight wound, this is one of the more backward 18s we tasted and needs to be left in peace for a good decade before being approached. An Azelia monopole San Rocco is a top notch Serralunga vineyard that faces south and southwest, where the soils are practically 100% clay, a very hard compact grey clay. The vines are 70 years old. Aged exclusively in large oak botti for two years.
Owner Luigi Scavino, cousin and neighbour of Piemonte legend Enrico Scavino, started off life as one of the typical modern Piedmont producers: no expense was spared as new oak was used for the top wines, yields were low and the sparkling new fermenting vats were of stainless steel. Many of these aspects still apply however Azelia have refined their techniques enormously over the years, rarely using more than 20% new oak and employing large botti casks as well as barriques for the ageing process. They are now very among Barolo's leading lights. They produce a superb Dolcetto planted at 500 metres above sea level on a south facing slope in th prime Montelupo district and their oak-aged Barbera is extremely fine too. All of their Nebbiolo holdings are spread out over the Castiglione Falletto and Serralunga regions where the vine produces full bodied, intense and complex wines. The top two wines are the ethereal but powerful Bricco Fiasco frmo Castiglione (the same vineyard as Scavino's Bric del Fiasc) and the explosive, spicy San Rocco from Serralunga. In only the best of vintages a Barolo Riserva is made from the ideally situated vineyard in Serralunga, Voghera.