Daniele Carlo Ricciwinemaker Daniele Carlo RicciAzienda Agricola Ricci Carlo Daniele

Via Montale Celli, 15050 Costa Vescovato

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Azienda Agricola Ricci was founded in 1929 and is now under the guidance of the current generation’s winemaker, Daniele Carlo Ricci. Eight hectares of vineyards (marl and limestone tufo) were planted in 1986 on slopes at 280 metres. Split half between the endangered white grape Timorasso and reds: Barbera, Croatina, Bonard and Nebbiolo, Ricci have a special affinity for Timorasso, making four distinct styles.  Vineyards are farmed sustainably and working towards organic certification. Viticulture is intense and focused on low yields: 7 buds, 14 bunches per vine producing 1.5-2 kilos total.

Winemaking is non-interventionist, following use of native yeasts, stainless steel or neutral barrel maturation, low sulfur (around 33 miligrams per litre only at bottling) and no filtration. Wines are bottled following lunar cycles to assist clarification. No temperature control is used, Daniele preferring to ‘let wines take their course.’ Some of the whites are driven by extended skin contact to counter lack of sulphur and to support age-ability. Only sulphurs at bottling, 33 miligrams per litre, minimal. Non-filtered, bottles at moon,

Down to its last 100 hectares, Timorasso is undergoing a resurgence in this part of Piedmont, with Alisandria being the only region allowed DOC status. When the next valley wanted to gain DOC it was denied this specifically because differing climate and soil conditions resulted in both different and poorer varietal characters.

It is not an easy grape to grow. Relatively delicate, with thin skins and tight bunches, it tends toward over production on fertile soil, so needs unfertile soils to reduce yield and increase concentration. High alcohol can be a problem as well. Daniele believes the ‘key to Timorasso is it needs SE orientation to create more elegance and floral aromatics.’

Daniele produces four Timorasso styles, both on and off skins, from vineyards planted in 1986, 1992 and 1997. Daniele says that ‘Timorasso characters are not overtly floral or fruity, it is more mineral driven.’ ‘Extremely neutral during fermentation almost right up until bottling,’ he continues, ‘It needs a year of bottling to come right. Fundamentally, its more a red grape, than white.’

Daniele feels the best time to drink Timorasso is at 6-7 years and it will go until ten. His 2001 Timorasso is the oldest vintage still drinking well and the best years for his Timorasso wines were 2001, 2003, 2005 and 2006.

Ricc Il Giallo di Costa 2009 Piedmont This is not a white wine for everyone as it undergoes an extreme 90 days skin maceration. Interestingly, it has a dry extract of 33 grams, more similar to Barolo than a white wine. Following fermentation skins are kept below liquid level with submerged sieve. This is an oxidatively made wine, purposefully front loading oxidation to bullet proof it for long bottle age. That said, oxidation shows more as dark color, than through aromatics or flavors. This is not made every vintage and is only made if skins and grapes are perfect. 

Sitting in glass with a bright golden, highly reflective color, this pure Timorasso presents very interesting aromas:  tarry, reductive mineral notes.  Reductive initially, this blows off and develops slightly fruitier aromas with mint/herb high notes. Rounded in the mouth, with firm acidity and fine, but firm tannins, it clearly needs food to show it and the foods best. After extended breathing the wine becomes harmonized, dense and integrated on palate, with tannins and acidity nicely folding in.  32 mg/l Tasted April 2012 © www.winedisclosures.com

Ricci El Matt 2010 Bonarda DOC Piedmont 14.5% Spending 12 months in stainless steel, this shows floral, spicy, fruity blueberry aromas. On all counts it’s an enticingly fleshy, easy glugger with nice balance of sweetness (4grms residual sugar) countering a pleasingly dusty, tannic bite. 32 mg/l Tasted April 2012 © www.winedisclosures.com

Ricci Elso 2004 (100% Croatina) Piedmont This 100% Croatina is aged for five years in double thickness, no toast, barrels, effectively imitating ‘big botti’ maturation. Aromas are a mix of fresh pine and red fruits. Rounded and smooth on palate, this carries savory red fruit and firm oak tannins throughout the finish. 38 mg/l Tasted April 2012 © www.winedisclosures.com

Ricci Rispetto 2009 Piedmont 14% This white is a 50/50 blend of chardonnay/sauvignon blanc (not mentioned on bottle) that is co-fermented in stainless steel, then spends 4 months in acacia barrels. It then goes through refermentaiton in bottle to create a natural spritz-driven vivacity. Given its pronounced mineral aromas and flavors, smooth, dense texture with firm acidity, I had a hard time identifying varietal characters aligned to either grape. Tasted April 2012 © www.winedisclosures.com

Ricci San Leto (100% Timorasso) 2007 DOC 14% Piedmont (grey-blue label) Aged 18 months in 500 litre acacia barrels, must for this wine is free run from the oldest vines, instantly pressed off skins into barrel. Lees stirring is avoided. It displays smoky, honeyed-tea aromas and flavors. Full bodied, dense and concentrated, it is thoughtfully structured with fine tannins and light acidity. Offering an outstanding textural balance, for many this will seem to have an oxidative-like flavor they might not find appealing, but I’m told it is an accurate ‘aged’ varietal character for this grape. 45 mg/l Tasted April 2012 © www.winedisclosures.com