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May 16, 2022

Giovanni Correggia of Matteo Correggia. Photo ©Wine For Normal People

This podcast was extra special for me, as I was able to record live with Giovanni Correggia of Matteo Correggia in Roero, a part of the Piedmont in Italy that I love and that I try to champion as much as possible. I met Giovanni several years ago and loved his wines and his family story. This podcast is so many things all at once:

  • A great education on the Roero region, by the most famed producer there
  • The story of a grape that was reborn in this place
  • A lesson in the politics of the Piedmont and how some simple choices have brought fame to Barolo and Barbaresco and kept Roero down
  • A fascinating family story that includes a talented champion of Roero, horrible tragedy, triumph of a widow who had nothing to do with wine and her unbelievable strength of character and perseverance for the legacy of her kids, and the current generation (Giovanni) with its shining positivity, great vision and promise of a great future for the Correggia family and its wines.


I truly love the wines of Matteo Correggia and I believe that the Nebbiolos he makes  (just called Roero on the bottle) are the exact style of wine so many of us love – elegance, minerality, balance with none of the heaviness or the tannins that we sometimes get from Barolo. The Arneis, it goes without saying, is a white for the ages – a minerally, floral, saline wine with real gravity and the Barbera also has a lighter touch than some of the versions from over the river. Although hard to find, Giovanni’s Brachetto is as tasty as he will describe as well.

 

I have to say that in interviewing Giovanni and then in editing this show, I laughed and teared up many times. I felt indignant on his behalf, and also triumphant. I hope the conversation we had evokes the same emotions in you. If nothing else, it’s a great story and a great education on an underestimated region.

 

Here are the show notes:

  1. We discuss Roero, its location across from Barberesco and Barolo, and what that means for the climate of the area versus the other famed Nebbiolo areas of Piedmont


  2. Giovanni describes the soil types and how a small sea that once existed here, as well as the changing course of the Tanaro River, created a terroir with seashells, a canyon, and steep slopes covered in sandy soil that imbues the wines with a unique minerality that only exists in Roero


    Val dei Preti Vineyard, Matteo Correggia. Photo ©Wine For Normal People
  3. Once Roero was criticized for having multiple crops, but Giovanni talks about how this is now a distinct advantage


  4. Giovanni gives us a history lesson on Roero through his single vineyards on which he has great records: La Val dei Preti and Roche d’Ampsej and Marun. We discuss some of the modern history of Roero and some of its challenges


    Matteo Correggia wines. Photo ©Wine For Normal People

  5. We learn about the history of the Correggia family and of his father, Matteo, who started the winery in 1985 at age 23. We talk about Matteo’s early relationship with the founder of Slow Food, Carlo Petrini, and how that led to great opportunities for the winery and the philosophy around organics. Giovanni tells us about his father’s “membership” in the Barolo Boys as the only non-Barolo producer and how those relationships with Elio Altare and Roberto Voerzio were pivotal to early success


  6. Giovanni shares with us the tragedy around his father’s death and how his mother Ornella, brought the winery to new heights with great vision and the help of winemaker Luca Rostagno, and the Barolo Boys

  7. We talk about the wines and specific vineyards:
    • Giovanni talks about how different vineyards -- La Val dei Preti, Roche d’Ampsej, make different Nebbiolos and how they make wines that are more elegant, less tannic, and more aromatic and minerally than the Nebbiolo of the Langhe. We discuss the biggest problem for Roero, which is that Barolo and Barbaresco producers make excellent wines from the region and label them Langhe Nebbiolo or Nebbiolo d’Alba instead of Roero, thus keeping the region from being recognized
    • We discuss Correggia’s Barbera, and the funny story of the Marun vineyard. Giovanni gives me a great lesson on Barbera and its challenges in the vineyard
    • We discuss Brachetto, the special clone from Roero, and why it is such a unique grape that, when made dry, is great for summer drinking

Giovanni Correggia with Brachetto. Photo ©Wine For Normal People

  1. We wrap with a discussion of Matteo Correggia’s leadership on screw cap in the region, and a discussion of the challenges and opportunities for Roero, and how Arneis is just the beginning for this undervalued region

 

Definitely check out Giovanni’s wines – they are so inexpensive for what they are! Saratoga Wine in the states has almost the entire line, as does Tannico in the UK.

 

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