Reading the label… the wine was produced in 2005 by the Cascina Val del Prete winery in the Piedmont region of northern Italy in the Nebbiolo d'Alba appelation (DOC). Vigna di Lino is the name of the vineyard.
The Winery - Cascina Val del Prete
The name of the winery, Cascina Val del Prete, in Italian means “Valley of the Priest” which is derived from the name of the exiled Bishop of Asti who lived there in 1850. In 1977 Bartolomeo Roagna and his wife Carolina bought the farm and then planted vines on south facing slopes in a natural amphitheater and today have 27 acres. Their sons, Mario and Luigi, now run the family business and take care of the vineyards
The Vineyard - Vigna di Lino
The vineyard, Vigna di Lino, takes its name from Mario Roagna’s father. It is a tribute to the vision and hard work that Mario’s father, helped by his mother Carolina, shared for many years. The vineyard extends for about 3 acres on the left bank of the Tanaro River. It’s at 900 feet above sea level and receives sun exposure to the south. The vines are 30+ years old with a density of 2,300 plants per acre. The vineyard is bio-dynamically fertilized.
The Region - Piedmont
There are 20 wine regions in Italy, the three most important are Piedmont (Italian: Piemonte, “foot of the mountain“), Tuscany and Veneto. Piedmont is located in the north-west bordering France and Switzerland. Piedmonte is predominantly a plain where the water flows from the Swiss and French Alps form the headwaters of the Po river. Alba is a town and comune in the province of Cuneo. It is considered the capital of the hilly area of Langhe, Nebbiolo d’Alba DOC is a large area around the town of Alba. It received classification in 1970 and it is named after the red grape Nebbiolo from which they are made, the same grape that goes into the more prestigious Barolo and Barbaresco DOCG wines.
The Grape - Nebbiolo
The name of the grape Nebbiolo is thought to derive its name from the Italian word nebbia which means “fog”. During harvest, which generally takes place late in October, a deep, intense fog sets into the Langhe region where many Nebbiolo vineyards are located. However, it may refer to the fog-like milky veil that forms over the berries as they reach maturity or that perhaps the name is derived instead from the Italian word nobile, meaning noble.
The funny thing about Nebbiolo is that it is light in color and produces wines that are light to medium ruby red and it is a thin skinned grape, much like Pinot Noir. Yet unlike Pinot Noir this wine tends to be VERY tannic. There aren’t very many wineries that produce Nebbiolo, but the few that I have purchased (such as the 2008 Jacuzzi Nebbiolo, Sonoma County) I bought with the intention of laying them down for 5-10 years before opening them.
The 2005 Cascina Val del Prete Nebbiolo d’Alba Vigna di Lino is ruby red with aromas of dried roses, black pepper, dried herbs, mushrooms, restrained red and dark fruits and a hint of anise. On the palate it is soft on entry and then the tannins really grip the gums and teeth. It is medium bodied with ample acidity and a medium length finish. Although this wine is already 8 years old, it could use another 5+ to really come together. It would pair best with hearty meat dishes, lamb or stew. This wine retails at around $50 at wine shops such as The Vine at Bridges in Danville, California.
To visit or for more information:
The Vine at Bridges
480 Hartz Ave
Danville, CA 94526
Wine Bar Hours
Sunday: 12 (noon) - 7pm
Monday: 5 - 9pm
Tuesday - Wednesday: 4 - 10pm
Thursday - Saturday: 4 pm - 12:00 am
 J. Robinson (ed), The Oxford Companion to Wine Third Edition (Oxford University Press, 2006), pg 470-471.