Elvio Cogno, Barolo great and legacy producer, dies at 79

In the light of last week’s events, I wanted to wait a little bit before sharing this press release, which was issued on Monday, June 13 by the Elvio Cogno winery. I’m a huge fan of the estate and have had the great fortune to taste so many fantastic vintages of Marcarini that were made by its namesake.

elvio cogno deathWine producer Elvio Cogno passed away Sunday evening, June 12 at the St. Lazzaro Hospital in Alba after a prolonged illness. Founder of the prestigious Elvio Cogno winery in Novello, he was considered a patriarch of Barolo and Nascetta wines.

His career began at Ristorante dell’Angelo in La Morra. There, Elvio Cogno, class of 1936 and born in the small town of Novello, began thinking about producing his own wines.

His dream finally took such strong hold that in the mid-1950s, with the efforts and interest of a business partner and the growing prestige of his bottles, Elvio Cogno decided to leave the restaurant business and dedicate himself to viniculture. He began to collaborate with the Marcarini winery, who managed splendid vineyards in Brunate (in the township of La Morra), cultivated with nebbiolo grapes for Barolo.

Elvio’s work was immediately directed towards high quality production, oriented towards developing the great potential of the wines of the Langhe.

His first Barolo was bottled from the great vintage of 1961. Already in 1964, Elvio Cogno was among the first to write the name of the vineyard on the label, a practice that was well ahead of his time. The first wine was naturally Brunate, which demonstrates his pride and awareness in this wine and in the uniqueness of its terroir.

In just a few years, Cogno-Marcarini became one of the most important wineries in the zone.

Towards the end of the 1980s, however, Elvio Cogno began to think about changing direction. He felt he had reached a point in his life when it was time for him to begin a solitary adventure. Thus in 1990, with enormous sacrifices and courage, he purchased Cascina Nuova in Ravera, a large homestead located just outside of Novello.

Elvio Cogno was 60 years old when he decided to start anew. His daughter Nadia and son-in-law Valter Fissore soon officially entered into his winery business alongside him.

Their first nebbiolo harvest was in 1991; they released their wine four years later as Barolo Ravera, and it was the first label to include a menzione geografica, or cru vineyard, something that would be officially regulated and delineated only years later.

In 1996, Elvio Cogno handed over the reins of the company to his daughter Nadia and son-in-law Valter Fissore. However, he remained generous with advice and was active in the successes of the winery up until the onset of his illness, which resulted in his withdrawal from activities several years ago, and in his death yesterday, at 79 years old, ending the full and active life of one of the patriarchs of Barolo.

Elvio is survived by his wife Graziella, his daughter Nadia, his son-in-law Valter, and his granddaughter Elena.

The funeral will be held on Tuesday, June 14 at 10:30 am at the St. Martino church of La Morra. The Rosary will be held in the same church this evening, June 13, 2016 at 9:00 pm.

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