Val del Prete (Valley of the Priest)
IN SHORT: Mario Roagna works on a biodynamic farm in the center of a natural amphitheater of vines, itself in a valley that's named after the exiled Bishop of Asti, Felice de Gresy. Poor bsihop exiled in 1850! (val = valley, prete = priest, so 'Valley of the Priest'. I guess Bishop got downgraded to priest during the exile.) The vines are in the Roero, an area more bucolic with woods and fields of flowers, instead of every-inch with Nebbiolo vines, as seems to be the case with its more famous breathen Barolo and Barberesco. Roerian soils usually tend to be sandier, Val del Prete's have a bit of sand but more clay and marl, as seen in Barbersco. Mario Roagna is a thoughtful and observant farmer; he gets a kick out of things like differnent kinds of wild herbs and flowers for each row of his vines; his enthusiasim for soil health and diversity is contageous. His Arneis is quite the cute native gem. But, all his wines have a wholesome balance of great fruit and freshness about them, with just a touch of minerality. 11 ha, 4166 cs.; non filtered and native yeast. No fertiliziers or chemicals, only Bordeaux mixture.