Bruno Rocca: The tale of a trade from a small Italian winery with a 200-year old family tradition
Small Italian winery with a 200-year old family tradition
Founder at SocialVignerons.com
Listen to the full podcast interview to meet Francesco and Luisa and hear from them all the details about their region, their wines, their family, and their passion.
Bruno Rocca is a relatively small Italian winery, yet making famous and highly-regarded wines from the Nebbiolo grape from the Langhe region in Northern Italy. Historic records show that some of the family vineyards were established in the Barbaresco area as early as 1834, nearly 200 years ago. After a 150 years of the family growing and selling grapes, Bruno Rocca started making his own wine in 1978, eventually establishing his name as a reference for quality single vineyard wines or Crus from Barbaresco.
Meet two passionate young Italian wine people
Today, his daughter and son Luisa and Francesco are taking over the running of the family tradition. He is at the vineyards and supervising the wine production, while she markets and communicates about their wines around the world. In this interview, I’ve had the pleasure to spend some time and get to know both Luisa and Francesco, two passionate young Italian wine people.
We talked about their region, their winery, their heritage, and the Nebbiolo grape variety. Beautiful Piedmont Region on the foothills of the Alps. The Bruno Rocca winery is established in the hilly piedmont region of Northern Italy. Everyone I’ve met that has been there, has reported it to be one of the most beautiful wine regions of Earth. Chatting with Luisa, she didn’t contradict them and helped us get a better feel for the place she calls home. “It’s so beautiful because we are surrounded by the vineyards, so it’s a kind of landscape but which is made by the human because the vineyard has been planted. It’s an amazing view, and today, it’s a sunny day. The sky is completely clear and so you can see all the Alps on the horizon.” said Luisa.
A 200-year old family tradition
It’s in this beautiful landscapes around the village of Barbaresco, that the Rocca family has been growing grapes since the early 19th Century. In 1958, the family lead by Francesco Rocca (1907-1978) acquired a vineyard one of the most celebrated cru of the Barbaresco hills: Rabajà. Twenty years later in 1978, his son Bruno started making wine under his own name. The Bruno Rocca winery was born.
Today, Bruno’s son and daughter Francesco and Luisa are more and more involved in the operations. As they are taking over from their father, Luisa told us how easily she’s come to an agreement with her brother on who was going to do what. “Since he was a kid, my brother loves to spend time in the vineyard and always with my father in the tractor and doing things in the lands. I was always with my mom or with my grandma welcoming the customers. This started since the beginning so there wasn’t any fighting. We didn’t have to make any agreement for what job to do. So it was pretty natural.” said Luisa.
Naturally then now, Francesco looks after the vineyards and the winery, while Luisa’s focus is on communication and hospitality.
Learning about the Nebbiolo grape
With Barolo, the village of Barbaresco is one of the very few areas in the entire world that manages to produce world-calls wines out of the Nebbiolo grape. So, we asked Francesco and Luisa to tell us why that was. They kindly told us about the multiple aspects of this secret, including where to plant the difficult Nebbiolo: “The best Nebbiolo from Barbaresco in this area are planted between 250 to 300 meters, 350, because if you plant the Nebbiolo too high, it’s difficult to have a good maturation of the grapes. Also, if you plant the vines in too low, you can also have a lot of water that is not a good thing for the Nebbiolo.” Of course, the local climate, microclimate, the soil, the influence of the nearby Alps all play their part as we discovered.
A winemaking respectful of the Terroir: single vineyard wines
Francesco is a relatively hands-off winemaker, letting his wines speak for themselves and for their land. “Here in the Langhe area, we are very, very lucky because every vineyard gives the wine something special. I think it’s that that I want to give in the wine. I want to put in the wine the expression of the soil, not my expression. Every vineyard, every vine gives different grapes and different wines. For me, our goal is to give one bottle for every cru, different from vineyard and vineyard. I want that the customers can see the difference from the vintage, the difference from the soil, the difference from the cru, and the vintage. It’s also important that all the people who drink one of my bottles, I will be so happy if they say, “Good Nebbiolo.” said Francesco.
With this winemaking philosophy, the Bruno Rocca winery produces 9 different wines. All but one is single vineyard wines:
- 4 Barbaresco wines: Maria Adelaide, Rabajà, Coparossa, and the blended Barbaresco village Wine
- Barbera d’Alba
- Barbera d’Asti
- Dolcetto d’Alba
- Langhe Nebbiolo
- Langhe Chardonnay
“We want to focus only in the best grapes that we think are and we want to produce only the traditional grapes and varieties and then focus on it. The only Nebbiolo that we blend, it is the Barbaresco, the traditional Barbaresco.“ said Francesco.
A writing feather on labels?
While Luisa and Francesco had told us everything about their wines and winery, I still had one intriguing question for them. Why is there a feather on all your labels?
Luisa told us the story:
“Light as a feather but strong as the story which has been written.” The same thing, it’s what we want for our wine.”
To learn more about Bruno Rocco, please visit their website www.brunorocca.it