If there were a demigod in Barolo today, or should we say La Morra, it is Roberto Voerzio. His path to success has been based on what are considered to be the lowest yields of fruit in the Barolo zone. Production is very limited and the winery makes less than 4000 cases per vintage, which equals less than one bottle per vine. He’s a modernist to the extent that he fashions his wine away from the traditional tannic Barolo style, not overly extracted and oaky. This is an Italian cult winery at its finest.
Roberto and Gianni Voerzio inherited their holdings from their father Gianni, who bottled wines under his own name until the early 1980s. Today, they make wines separately a few hundred yards apart, with Roberto and his wife operating six plots of Barolo vines in La Morra.
LOCATION OF VINEYARDS
Today, Roberto Voerzio manages 21 acres of vineyards in La Morra, an area renowned for producing the most approachable, supple Barolos, including six different plots – Sarmassa di Barolo, Pozzo dell’Anunziata, La Serra, Brunate, Cerequio, and Capalot (the oldest, boasting 50-year-old vines). Roberto’s cultivation methods are simple: fertilization is carried out by hand to address the individual health of each plant, establishing a perfect equilibrium in the vineyard and allowing for uniform maturation of all vines. High-density planting, a trademark of Voerzio’s vineyard management, translates into extremely low yields. His Barbera vineyards are planted with up to 3240 vines per acre, and his Nebbiolo vineyards at 1618 vines per acre. For some of his flagship wines, Voerzio often harvests only a couple of grape clusters per vine. This extremely attentive approach to viticulture has earned Roberto Voerzio numerous accolades, and his wines are considered authentic, near ‘cult’-like masterpieces, sought after by collectors and wine lovers worldwide.
From 1988 to 1995, Voerzio utilized a combination of barriques and midsized barrels, a protocol that tacitly integrates modernity and tradition. Interestingly, Voerzio doesn’t regard this stage as one he’s moved on from; rather, he has expressed a desire to reinstate this approach, but is hesitant to do so for fear of alienating a significant proportion of modern wine drinkers.