The perfect antidote to a recent miserable Saturday in Piemonte was a visit to the Socré cantina in Barbaresco. The family business dates back to the late 19th century when the vineyards, located just down the hill from Tre Stelle on the road to Alba, were bought by Marco’s great grandfather. For more than 100 years the production was sold to other bigger producers but just over 10 years ago Marco, an architect by training, decided to step up production and make his own wine. The cantina is currently undergoing further expansion and reconstruction which will mean that all vinification will soon be transferred from its current site in Santa Stefano. At the recent Barbaresco a Tavola tastings his generic Barbaresco 2007 was highly appreciated by our table of 8 and we resolved to seek out the cantina. Marco’s primary objective is to make wines that are “setosi” (silky) and easy to drink and not overpoweringly woody. For this reason barriques only account for a third of the wood used: the 2011 will be the first to be made in botte grande. Their premier wine is the Roncaglie cru which is one of the best respected sites in Barbaresco with a very light soil and Marco believes that the wood helps maintain the colour. In the case of the Langhe Nebbiolo 2007 10% Barbera is added to provide colour and as a result the wine is not as light as some around with a strong tar/tobacco finish. The Barbaresco basso 2008 (€25.00 retail) that had attracted our attention was classic and the soft, almost sweet tannins will see it improve, although it is already very approachable. On the other hand the Roncaglie Barbaresco 2007 (€50 retail) that was bottled in 2009 after 18 months in barrique, has much stronger tannins but already softening leaving very prominent ripe fruit. Primary fermentation takes place for around 2 weeks in traditional “tini”, open-top wooden casks before being transferred to the barrique. The silkiness that Marco strives for will be achieved in my opinion.
Another plus point for overseas visitors is that Marco’s son speaks excellent English and of course prices ex cantina are quite a bit cheaper. We lingered so long over the Nebbiolo that we didn’t have time to taste the Barbera, nor accept Mama’s kind lunch offer which can wait for another time.