The gentle, sandy hills of the Roero lie immediately north of the Tanaro and therefore are on the wrong side of the tracks as far as Barolo and Barbaresco are concerned. I poked around this region a few times and was thoroughly underwhelmed until I met the talented, young Marco Porello. Familiar with every inch of his vineyards, Marco is ‘un vero uomo della terra’ with complete conviction in the quality of his native Roero. The Arneis is grown in the sandy soils near Vezza and shows zesty citrus notes of Seville orange and grapefruit underpinned with stony acidity. The Barbera is bright, cherry-scented as good value as ever whilst the Nebbiolo is back on fine form with a finely-judged blend of dusty tannins and fresh acidity. Also look out for the refreshingly different Birbet, a fizzy red from the Brachetto grape. A Piemonte specialty!