Vineyard: The Crichet Paje is sourced from the top few rows of the Paje Cru, where the historic Roagna winery is located in the commune of Barbaresco. Luca's grandfather Giovanni purchased this vineyard in 1953.
Orientation: South-southwest exposure.
Soil: The soil is a white calcareous marl. The Crichet parcel of Paje has the highest limestone content of all of Roagna's vineyards.
Viticulture: The youngest vines that go into this wine are 60 years old, with most being much older than that. Hand-harvested into small crate. Luca keeps the old vines alive along as possible but if ever a vine needs to be replaced, it is propagated from an old vine from the same parcel.
Vinification: Fermentation lasts ten days in large wood casks. They ferment with a pied de cuvee made from their indigenous yeasts. They then use the technique of submerged cap -- which can last 80-90 days.
Aging: The wine is then aged in large neutral French botti. The oak Luca uses is never toasted but instead made by using hot steam instead of flame. The wine normally ages in barrel for at least 8 years depending on the vintage. Usually never released before ten years after the harvest.
Production: Normally only about 1,000 bottles of Crichet Paje are produced.
Notes: Crichet in Piemontese means the top of the small hill. The first vintage was made by Luca's father, Alfredo, from the 1978 vintage. Historically the family kept the wine from this parcel for the family to be used only for special celebrations.
The 2008 Barbaresco Crichët Pajé is a gorgeous, translucent wine that shows this cool, late-ripening vintage at its best. Sweet red cherry, mint, kirsch, hard candy and white pepper are all beautifully delineated. In many vintages, Crichët Pajé was massively tannic and forbidding. The 2008 is the most refined vintage of this wine I have ever tasted. Put simply, the 2008 is sublime. Even so, my impression, and hope, is that subsequent vintages will be even better.