2018 Barbaresco, Produttori del Barbaresco
A new release from the Produttori del Barbaresco is always something to look forward to: meticulous vineyard management, thoughtful and precise winemaking combined with extremely fair pricing make their wines irresistible. This vintage was slightly unusual, so all the best vineyards are going into one ‘super’ cuvee of their signature Barbaresco; fill your boots would be my advice.
The 2018 Growing Season
A long, cool and wet winter replenished the ground water (which had diminished after a dry 2017 summer/autumn) and delayed bud-break until the second week of April which, itself, was a month of quite varied temperatures. May started with heavy rain, storms and lower temperatures, which led to a lot of work in the vineyards trying to prevent fungal diseases brought on by the cool and moist conditions. June was good, with warm, dry weather and flowering and fruit set took place in ideal conditions. Things looked set for a good harvest and green harvesting looked likely, but on 15 July there were terrible hail storms that affected, in particular, the Ovello, Montestefano and Montefico vineyards. The good weather continued throughout the rest of the summer and harvest began on 2 October. Quantities were, of course, well down.
The lack of quantity no doubt influenced their decision to put all their vineyards into one cuvee, the Barbaresco, so there will be no Riserva’s or Crus – all the best stuff has ended up in the ‘village’ Barbaresco (a case of every cloud…), which is being sold on a first-come, first-served basis.
Up until the late 19th century, Barbaresco grapes simply went into Barolo wine and the region didn’t really have an identity of its own. The man that transformed this and started the revolution was Domizio Cavazza, the principal of the Royal Oenological School in Alba and owner of the Barbaresco castle and its surrounding land. In 1894, he invited nine local growers to join him in producing wine in the castle cellars, and so was born the ‘Cantine Sociali di Barbaresco’ co-operative, the first producers to make wine under the Barbaresco label. In the 1920s, the Fascists forced the Cantine to close down but, in 1958, Don Fiorino Marengo, parish priest of Barbaresco, restored the tradition by uniting nineteen growers to form the Produttori del Barbaresco, with the first three vintages produced in the church basement before being transferred to the current cellars on the opposite side of the square. Today, the Produttori count over fifty members, and under the co-operatives’s legendary Director, Aldo Vacca, have come to be considered one of the pre-eminent producers in the region, as well as one of the leading wine co-operatives in the world.
All Prices are Under Bond UK, wines are due to be shipped later in the autumn. Duty, VAT and delivery will have to be added for domestic deliveries, IB transfers charged at £10 ex VAT or at cost, whichever is the greater.
2018 Barbaresco – £175 per 6 x 75cl, 12 bottles at £165 per 6 x 75cl, 24 bottles or more at £155 per 6 x 75cl.
Magnums at £190 per 3 x 75cl
After the spectacular 2016 and 2017 vintages I wasn’t sure what to expect. Would it be a case of ‘after the Lord Mayor’s show’? Well, not a bit of it, I’m pleased to say. The nose is very appealing, lifted, expressive already with red and ripe black cherries, floral, spice, earthy notes, quite refined. This follows on into the mouth, the tannins are soft and supple, the flavours very pure and, although it’s not a heavy wine, there is good depth and, while youthful, the balance is such that it is immediately appealing. Medium weight with a long, balanced finish, this is a terrific Barbaresco for the medium term. Delicious.
A note from Aldo Vacca
Barbaresco, September 2021
The 2018 vintage was good overall, with a dry end of the season, but not enough day/night temperature difference in September to give the extra complexity and depth to the single vineyards, riserva wines. We therefore decided to just release one blend Barbaresco for this vintage so to give the desired complexity to our flagship wine. We did the same in 2012 vintage, a similar vintage. 2018 is lighter wine compared to 2016 and 2017, but very well balanced and with nice aromas, I actually find it very drinkable and quite attractive right away.