Mario Roagna is a thoughtful, observant farmer; he gets a kick out of things like different wild herbs and flowers between each row of his biodynamically-farmed vines. Of course he has a few horses too!
The vineyards sit in a beautiful natural amphitheater at the northeastern edge of the Roero. Although we’re right across the river from the Langhe, unlike the every-inch-covered-with-vines landscape of Barolo and Barberesco, the Roero remains an area of mixed agriculture interspersed with forests and meadows. Mario’s valley is named after the Bishop of Asti, who was exiled here in 1850. (Val = valley; Prete = priest, so ‘Valley of the Priest’. Apparently the Bishop’s exile included an ecclesiastical downgrade.)
Although the soils in the Roero are sandier than those in the Langhe, Val del Prete’s subzone has some sand, but more clay and marl, and thus leans toward Barbaresco. His Arneis is a serious rendition; all his wines offer wholesome and delicious fruit.