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Wining Hour Feature: Tenuta Cucco, A Premier Langhe Wine Estate

Tenuta Cucco, located in the lovely landscape of Serralunga d’Alba, within Italy’s renowned Barolo wine region in Piedmont, is an estate celebrated for its dedication to producing exceptional wines. Tenuta Cucco’s origins date back to the late 19th century, when the estate was established. The estate’s name, “Cucco,” meaning “peak” or “summit,” fittingly reflects its elevated position and its commitment to continuous growth and innovation. With its storied history, sustainable practices, and exceptional wines, Tenuta Cucco is a true symbol of quality production. Over the years, Tenuta Cucco has passed through the hands of several prominent families, each contributing to its legacy. The current owners, the Rossi Cairo family, acquired the estate in 2015, bringing with them a philosophy rooted in organic farming and sustainable practices. Their vision aligns seamlessly with the estate’s rich legacy, ensuring that Tenuta Cucco continues to thrive while preserving the environment for future generations.

Situated on the slopes of Serralunga d’Alba, Tenuta Cucco benefits from a unique terroir that is ideal for growing Nebbiolo, the grape variety used to produce Barolo. The estate spans approximately 13 hectares, with vineyards situated at altitudes ranging from 230 to 400 meters above sea level. This provides a unique microclimate, characterized by significant temperature variations between day and night, which further enhances the aromatic complexity, structure and distinctiveness of the wines. The soils in this region are rich in clay and limestone, providing the perfect environment for cultivating high-quality grapes. This terroir imparts a remarkable complexity and depth to the wines, characterized by their elegance, structure, and aging potential.

The Rossi Cairo family has implemented organic farming practices (The estate is Certified Organic since 2018) across the estate, ensuring that no synthetic chemicals or pesticides are used, and efforts are continuously made to reduce its environmental footprint. Their commitment extends beyond the vineyards to include energy-efficient practices in the winery and sustainable packaging solutions. Such efforts include the use of green manure, restoration of local species to enhance the biodiversity, green energy, lighter glass bottles and more.This approach not only safeguards the health of the land but also enhances the quality and purity of the wines.

At Tenuta Cucco, winemaking is an art that balances tradition with modern techniques.Tenuta Cucco is dedicated to sustainable viticulture. The grapes are hand-harvested and undergo a rigorous selection process to ensure only the finest fruit is used. This commitment to sustainability extends to all aspects of wine production, from vineyard management to the cellar.  I had the pleasure of speaking with the owner, Piero Rossi Cairo, and exploring his wines at a lovely wine lunch at Justine’s.

Tenuta Cucco Owner, Piero Rossi Cairo

Tenuta Cucco’s portfolio includes several notable wines, each reflecting the unique characteristics of the Serralunga d’Alba terroir.

Tenuta Cucco Langhe DOCG Nebbiolo 2022

A younger expression of Nebbiolo, this wine offers fresh aromas of cherry and rose, with a lively palate and smooth tannins. It is an excellent introduction to the noble grape variety and the estate’s winemaking style. This one is a younger, more approachable expression of the Nebbiolo grape, offering vibrant fruit flavors and floral notes.

Tenuta Cucco Barolo DOCG Serralunga D’Alba 2019

This is a classic Barolo and the flagship wine that embodies the essence of Tenuta Cucco. It is aged for two years in French, Austrian and Slavonian oak barrels. It offers an intense bouquet of red berries, spices, and floral notes and a palate of red cherry, tar, rose, violets, and earthy notes. Although the tannins have begun to mellow, they are still firm.

Tenuta Cucco Barolo DOCG Bricco Voghera 2019

Bricco Voghera Barolo is a cru wine, coming from the highest part of the Bricco with vineyard elevations at an altitude of 400 meters, that then descend to 370 meters above sea level. The soils have a high quantity of clay, leading to great structure and elegance. Bricco Voghera Barolo undergoes alcoholic fermentation with native yeasts, followed by maceration. It is then refined for 24-30 months in Slavonian oak barrels. In the glass, the wine is a deep garnet red color, with subtle orange reflections. On the nose, there are intense and captivating aromas of red berries, cherries, and plums, intertwined with floral notes of roses and violets. There are also hints of spice, such as licorice and cinnamon, along with earthy undertones, truffles, and a touch of tobacco. The palate is full-bodied and robust, yet elegant, mirroring the aromas. Tenuta Cucco Barolo DOCG Bricco Voghera is balanced with firm and well-structured tannins, and is a complex and age-worthy wine that highlights the depth and elegance of a high-quality Barolo. 

Tenuta Cucco Barolo DOCG Cerrati 2019

Cerrati is a Barolo cru that is named after the village of its location. Vineyard altitudes begin at 400 meters and then descend to approximately 260 meters. Soils in this area are composed of gray marl alternating with reddish-gray sandstone, leading to wines with good complexity and longevity. Aged for 30 months in Slavonian oak barrels or three years in new French oak. Cerrati Barolo is a deep ruby red with garnet hues. It showcases layers of dark fruit, truffle, and tobacco, along with secondary notes of licorice, anise, and a hint of vanilla. Another layer of complexity is evident, involving mushroom, earthy notes. This is all underpinned by robust tannins and vibrant acidity. The balanced acidity enhances freshness and supports the wine’s aging potential. Long and persistent finish. Cerrati Barolo is a true masterpiece of balance and refinement. 

Tenuta Cucco stands as a beacon of excellence in the Langhe region. Its unwavering commitment to quality, sustainability, and tradition has earned it a place among Italy’s top wine estates. Tenuta Cucco intertwines tradition, innovation, and a profound respect for the land.

*Of note, the Rossi Cairo family also own the biodynamic farm La Raia, where they are known for their high-quality production of Gavi and Barbera.

Planted, harvested and aged in NY. I have a background in education and marketing, with a love and passion for travel...and all things wine. In addition to writing about wine, I also maintain an online wine boutique (thewininghour.com) that caters to the winelover, as well as the weekly vinous winechat (#WiningHourChat) on Twitter (see page for more info).

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