Produttori del Barbaresco
Latest, and quite brilliant, Releases.
These two wines are must buys for anyone seeking a proper introduction to Barbaresco or simply looking for top-quality wines at very reasonable prices. For those new to the area, the main difference between Barbaresco and its more famous neighbour, Barolo, lies in the soil: the richer soils of Barolo produce wines that, in general, have firmer tannins and a more concentrated mid-palate; Barbaresco tends to have more elegance and finesse. Two sides of the same coin, both capable of greatness.
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 winemaker Gianni Testa have come to be considered as one of the pre-eminent producers in the region, as well as one of the leading wine co-operatives in the world.
The secret to their success? Aside from the usual great winemaking and hard work in the vineyards are the sites where their vineyards lie or, for want of a better word, the ‘terroir’. The Produttori’s nine ‘crus’, or named vineyards, lie on steep slopes composed of the clay and limestone marl of the Langhe and have long been regarded as among the best. In great vintages, separate Riserva wines are made from each of the crus, and they are, quite frankly, achingly good. Every year, however, a declassified Langhe Nebbiolo is made from younger vines together with a ‘village’ Barbaresco, both using grapes from across all these great vineyards. It is these wines that, for me, steal all the points for sheer value.
All Prices are Under Bond UK, wines are due to be shipped at the beginning of March. Duty, VAT and delivery will have to be added for domestic deliveries, IB transfers charged at £10 ex VAT or at cost, which every is the greater.
5% Discount on 24 bottles. 10% Discount on 36 bottles or more
2019 Langhe Nebbiolo – £195 per case 12 x 75cl
This ‘baby brother’ of Barbaresco is a great introduction to the styles of both Barbaresco and the Produttori. (Also a sneak preview of what is to come in a couple of years’ time, when the big boys are released!) It has a lovely ripeness to it, very pure fruit and the tannins are fine, velvety, with excellent acidity leading to a beautifully balanced package. Very good value – drink now and over the next three years at least.
The 2019 vintage started slowly, with delayed flowering, but the rest of the year had excellent weather allowing for a consequently late (by recent standards) harvest and full ripening of the grapes. There was a small drop in quantity, but excellent quality, and a few weeks after concluding the harvest, many Piedmontese winemakers had already defined this year’s harvest as “exceptional”, said Filippo Mobrici, President of the Consorzio Barbera d’Asti e Vini del Monferrato.
2017 Barbaresco – £165 per 6 x 75cl
The real thing. I can’t think of a better-value wine at this level of quality from anywhere. Frost and hail in late April and early May followed by an exceptionally hot and dry summer reduced the yield by about 20% from the average, but resulted in wines of exceptional concentration, structure and ripeness – already enticing and with so much more to come.
The 2017 Barbaresco shows just how appealing this vintage can be. In 2017, the warm, dry growing season gave the Barbaresco an extra kick of richness that fills out its frame and adds so much immediacy. Sweet red berry fruit, cinnamon, rose petal and mint are open in the glass, but it is the wine’s seductive radiance that wins the day. Pora, Ovello, Montestefano, Muncagota and Rio Sordo are the main vineyards used for the straight Barbaresco. The 2017 is such an inviting and expressive wine. Don’t miss it! — 94 Antonio Galloni 2020 – 2032 Oct 2020