Tag Archives: Barbaresco

The two 2010 Pajés from Roagna are a velvet glove

After having tasted the 2010 langhe rosso and the marvelous 2010 Pira vecchie viti we simply had to evaluate the two pajés; the normal and the vecchie viti. The latter is twice as expensive from vines on average 60 years old and minimum 50, whereas the normal’s vines are between 25-50 years old. As usual extraction using the traditional sub-merged caps method is hefty with 2 months for the normal and another half month for the vecchie viti. This tasting was half blind to make it more interesting.

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2010 Roagna Pajé

Andreas:

Intense but rather slim nose with pure red berries, lemon peel and some herbal notes. Cool and almost electric acidity combined with silky but still grippy tannins. Herbal notes, blueberries, raspberries, slight cherry notes, orange peel and some rather surprising hints of sherry in the background. Mouthwatering and precise finish.

At he moment the acidity is slightly dominant but this will definitely calm down with time. Energetic and intense wine.

94p/100

Sir Galahad:

Dense nose. Very slow scent of rose petals, beeswax and inner perfume. Concentrated, juicy, cool black- and red fruit in balance with crisp, vivid and balsamic acidity wrapping orange-peel and beeswax. Aromas of anise seeds, Asian spices and savoury notes. Velvety texture with chewy tannins with grip. Medium bodied and generous. The clean persistent finish lacks just some precision compared to its pricier counterpart, but compensates this well with freshness and approachable balance.

94p/100

2010 Roagna Pajé vecchie viti

Andreas:

Dense and compact nose with intense notes of oil paint, ripe (almost jammy) strawberries, blueberries and some roses. Soft but still fresh acidity with some citric notes in the finish. Ripe strawberries, leather, blueberries and orange peel on the palate. Tannins are grippy but fine grained.

This wine has a truly amazing nose but the palate needs more time to integrate. When it is ready we have a very complete and complex wine with great personality.

96p/100

Sir Galahad:

Dense nose here too but just a little more depth and much more intense. An amazing nose of grace that is vibrating and compelling. As expected, a little more precision here and depth, but currently more tight and things are not in place yet, but it broods on something special. More concentration and power in here and a little more jammy and currently somewhat smudgier fruit. Acidity is great and crisp with razor-sharp precision. First mostly dark fruit and cherries, but after some hours anise seeds, earthy strawberries, dark plums and notes of blueberries appear. This will need plenty of time to come around. An unpolished diamond. A guess is in 2025.

95-96p/100

Summary

For early drinking in the coming 5-6 years, the normal pajé is recommended as we both agree that it is more approachable and balanced now. For the long term, the vecchie viti is absolutely a notch up on the nose. On the palate, it is not so big a difference, but vecchie viti lurks on more precision, structure and concentration.

Two Barbaresci from the warm 2011 vintage

The vintage 2011 is a warm vintage that is better than expected in Serralunga and Monforte in Barolo, but in Barbaresco it is perceived as hotter and often with somewhat cooked fruit. Here we taste two of the riservas from the great cooperative – Produttori di Barbaresco. Two vineyards with totally different micro climates.

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Two of the 2011 single-vineyard barbaresco from the great cooperative

2011 Barbaresco Muncagota, Produttori di Barbaresco

Andreas:

Elegant and fresh nose with an abundance of young and slightly sweet red fruit containing strawberries, wild strawberries and raspberries along with notes of menthol.

Slightly darker fruit on the rather thin and elegant palate. Acidity is amazing and very precise and complements the good tannic structure.

This Barbaresco is surprisingly energetic for a 2011 but still has the rather generous sweet expression often found in this vintage.

91-92p/100

Sir Galahad:

Incredibly seductive, juvenile and intensively forward perfume that is both quite sexy, pretty and fresh. It brings a very vast, lavishing combo of beautiful rose petals, ripe red fruit, beeswax, some oil paint, mint, clove and anise seeds. Even if comparison to other wine areas may be a bit simplifying and somewhat limiting, I cannot help finding it reminding me very much of a good premier cru Chambolle-Musigny, Burgundy. Maybe a forward Les Cras? 🙂

On the palate, it is not equally as impressive but not disappointing either. It is racy, succulent and packed with ripe, highly concentrated red fruit; primarily raspberries, but also earthy wild strawberries. It is just a little smudgy and on the edge of getting too sweet, but fruit is without any alcohol in the persistent finish. It is thin bodied, weightless and considering the warm vintage, it impresses with fine balance and very crisp, balsamic acidity. All this framed in soft, rather sweet and thick tannins without any dryness what so ever but with a somewhat sandy and not directly silky .

91p/100

2011 Barbaresco Montefico, Produttori di Barbaresco

Sir Galahad:

The typical nose of smoke, layers of vibrating tar and natural rubber. In addition, notions of Mediterranean herbs and a subtle perfume. While the nose is characteristic and true to its origins, unfortunately the palate is a disappointment. It is rough, tannins are coarse and fruit is way too sweet, cooked and smudgy. On the up side, acidity is fine and generous, but it is not evening out its other misfortunes.

Reality is that It is clumsy, coarse and without any finesse. Did they harvest too late in this very warm vintage and couldn’t wait until tannins very ok in this vineyard? We cannot recommend this. Let’s hope the 2012 is much better which we have reason to expect from our last trip last year to Barbaresco.

84p/100

An Albino Rocca from Ronchi in 2012

The vineyard Ronchi is situated north of Montestefano and below Rabajà, but it shares its power and darker characteristics from the former. The warm vintage 2012 is much better in Barbaresco compared to Barolo regarding nebbiolo with generally well structured wines with good balance and fine tannins. The reason being a much the colder spring than usual and late warmth compared to Barolo.

DSC046732012 Barbaresco “Ronchi”, Albino Rocca

It emerges with dried rose petals, new cut ginger, crushed stone, dried herbs, dark cherries. A complex, but a little modern and pretty nose, but reticent.

On the palate, it is very dense, powerful and fleshy. At the same time it is pliant, but now texture is too fleshy and clumsy. The new oak addition is currently not doing it any favours (is it ever?), especially not in the quite persistent finish that now is a little bitter, too dry and packed with artificial powder. Flavours are typical dark cherries, black berry jam with stones. It is saved from being too one dimensional and awkward by a very fresh and vivid acidity. Balance is ok.

This wine certainly needs a lot of time to come around and is obviously saved by its approachable acidity, but still it is currently hard to see it turning into a wine with finesse. No, even though nose is pretty and its acidity is great, Albino Rocca is not tuning down its level of new oak so we cannot recommended it. Open in 2020 is our guess, but don’t buy.

86p/100

A fantastically fresh and cool barbaresco in the 2010 vintage

The 2010 vintage is not as iconic here in Barbaresco as in Barolo, but still a very good one and only vineyards close to the Barbaresco town area, had difficulties with some late rains that diluted some vineyards. We must admit, we had the impression of Cigliuti being a modern producer using a lot of new wood and barriques which usually sets off the alarm for us in this area, but this wine proves to be only raised in Slavonian, neutral barrels (botte). In this case, we just had to admit that we were absolutely wrong and the wine is delicious. 🙂

2010 Barbaresco “Vigne Vie Erte” (Bricco di Neive), Fratelli Cigliuti

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Dense red to crystalline blood-orange colour.

And yes, after just half and hour in the decanter, it awakens and blossoms with seductive white lilies, fresh details and down-tuned Asian spices. Yes, pretty, lovely and complex.

On the palate, what clearly makes this special is it’s unbelievably and outstandingly fresh, cool and clear acidity wrapping peach and sweet grape shells. Balance is great and this is already quite approachable, but obviously best in two years. Nevertheless, there is some tiny oak spiciness, but it is not disturbing the palate at all. Aromatics are dominated by loads of massive, dark and tasty blue plums and small and smudgy sweet wild, mature  and earthy strawberries, but here as well are peppers, nutmeg, Asian spices, just a little cinnamon adding gentle lime and crystalline minerals in a very majestic way. All of this is framed in tannins fine and soft that it still need time to polymerise from its current youthfully and tongue-spurring texture. Body is thin, feminine with precision and it is pleasantly persistent too.

A quite approachable wine with wonderful details, a delightful perfume, packed with ripe layers of fruit and unprecedentedly crisp, vivid and most importantly of all, acidity is really fresh. In Sweden you may buy these now, so don’t miss out! Very price-worthy at €32.

93-95p/100.

Paitin estate in Barbaresco 2015: Impressive Barbaresco from an estate with a long history

In May 2015 we spent a beautiful afternoon at the Paitin Estate in Barbaresco, Piedmont, where we met up with the humble and very friendly Silvano Pasquero-Elia as well as tasting a large selection of their wines. Frederik had been here once before and we tasted their pride barbaresco riserva 2001 here. The estate has a very long history dating back to 1798 and is today run by Secondo Pasquero-Elia together with his two sons; Giovanni and Silvano. Actually, Silvano explains, part of the cellar is from the 15th Century. The family exported their first barbaresco in 1893.

Paitin

Silvano Pasquera-Elia showing what high grass and pea plants they grow in every 2nd aisle

During our visit we went into the west-side of the Bricco di Neive vineyard which is situated just below their winery. On the south-west facing side of this vineyard it is very steep at the top and has more or less a constant wind which keeps it rather dry and the grapes fresh. Actually, this helps to keep possible mildew away after heavy rains. However, at the top it is too windy for nebbiolo. They use natural fertilisation which means that they let the aisle between the vines grow wildly with high growing pea plants that also forces the roots of the vines to dig deeper that renders more complexity.

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Every second row with grass and pea plants

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Silvano showing which shoots that they keep

Only every second aisle is treated this way and the next year they switch. They also fertilise with cow manure. The riserva sorì Paitin is made from older vines planted in 1965 from the middle part on the south side of their house. The soil is blue and white containing high levels of calcareous  marls with harder tufa 30 cm below from the Tortonian period, Silvano adds. Silvano explains that all preparations are done before flowering and it is their belief that they render healthier grapes this way and that green harvest afterwards is not the right way and unnatural. They leave a few of the best bunches per plant and during the growth season, the plants suck on the nutrition already in the vineyard. This is what we hear several growers say nowadays that manage to improve quality. It all happens after careful hard work in the vineyards long before the growing season.

On the east side of the house, the soil is quite different. It contains a lot of clay, sand, is loose and is more red-brown-yellow in colour from iron and sulphur when compared to the south-west side of the house rendering a totally different expression with its different micro climate. Here they grow barbera for the Serra bottling and nebbiolo for the Nebbiolo d’Alba labelled Ca Veja.

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The rotor fermentor

Silvano explains their canopy management and that the ratio leaves/bunches is really important too.

In the winery several different methods have been used through the years and the process is adapted to the vintage and grapes. Today they do not use any new oak for the Nebbiolo grapes, but only 1-3 year-old. However, for the Barbera both french- and Slavonian new wood is used except for the Campolive. Modern rotor fermenters for fermentation are still used, but to a lesser extent. The change came as they started consulting Dante Scaglione, the famous enologist from the legendary Bruno Giacosa, in 2008. DSC04232Dante also convinced them to start conducting the traditional submerged caps during fermentation. Silvano says that they now use steel, but he and his brother are considering start using cement for its gentle extraction and slow temperature fluctuations.

The wines we tasted

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The tasting line-up

2014 Paitin di Pasquero-Elia Langhe Arneis “Vigna Elisa”

Arneis is a challenging grape to grow and the name actually means little rascal in the Piemontese language. Much of the taste is in the skin of the grape and the wines can be rather sweet, but using the skins adds a lot of aromas as they conduct a secondary maceration. Silvano says that the grape has a relation to nebbiolo michet variety.

Both on the nose and in the taste we find lots of yellow pears, goose berries, ginger and hints of rather sweet exotic fruit. This gives a generous and pleasant impression and it is a wine which is easy to enjoy. The level of acidity is rather low and quite broad with some lemon notes.

83p/100

2014 Paitin di Pasquero-Elia ‘Sori Paitin’ Dolcetto d’Alba

This wine is aged stainless steel but for more complex vintages they use wood.

The wine has very clear cherry notes but also some sweeter notes of candy.

On the palate, the fruit is dominant and fresh but has a slightly sharp notes from red current, but also lingon berries and underbrush.
There are some hints of tannins in the finish but in the end we are left with a fresh acidic impression.

85p/100

2012 Paitin di Pasquero-Elia Barbera d’Alba “Serra”

The soil on the east side of their house has a lot of clay, sand and is more red-brown-yellow compared to the south-west side, so the soil changes and the exposure is east here too. The grape juice are fermented in rotor fermentors and nowadays aged in second passage barriques for a year.

We are greeted with intense red fruit notes on the nose but also some hints of wood glue and some delicate floral notes.

The palate follow in the same style but more dominated by the fruit notes, dry licorice-root, minerals and dry blood orange. The acidity is really good and rather soft for a barbera. Texture is very smooth with any edges at all and it has precision. Delightful.

89-90p/100

2011 Paitin di Pasquero-Elia Barbera d’Alba “Campolive”

This wine has been fermented in rotor fermentor and aged for three years in neutral wood.

Very dense, deep, quite intense nose of pure fruit from both black and red berries complemented by some clear oil paint notes, earthy notes and underbrush. Despite the denseness the nose is still very controlled and almost a bit reserved. After a while some ethereal notes and hints of flowers appear along with an aristocratic, delicate perfume lingering.

On the palate there are complex layers of fruit, with everything from blueberries to raspberries, figs, raisins, all clean and ripe. In the background there are hints of barnyard, but it does not get unpleasant. It is persistent, generous and quite elegant too.

The acidity is great, with just enough energy, precision but also a smooth finish.
This is a fantastic wine that shows how good barbera can become in the right hands.

92-93p/100

2012 Paitin di Pasquero-Elia Barbera d’Alba “Campolive”

On the nose, this wine comes off as quite direct and with almost sharp red fruit. Probably because of a young age.

When moving to the palate the balance is great with fantastic pure fruit and a fresh acidity, which stays surprisingly restrained.

Again a fanstastic barbera. Compared with the 2011 this wine has more precision but on the other hand the 2011 had more personality and a more dense expression.

91-92p/100

2012 Paitin di Pasquero-Elia Paitin Langhe Nebbiolo “Ca Veja”

Very pure red fruit notes that are rather thin but with very precise fragrance. Raspberries and fragrant flowers dominate, but there are also some hints of almond, crushed stones, wood glue and eucalyptus in the background.

Similar impression on the palate but here it is complemented by some quite sandy, harsh tannins that unfortunately gets slightly dry in the finish. Acidity is fresh wrapping orange peel and grape juice.

The wine has great precision and is fresh with nice fruit, but gets a bit harsh with the tannins.

87-88p/100

2011 Paitin di Pasquero-Elia Barbaresco “Sori Paitin”

Quite light, but elegant and showing personality with pure, deep vibrant red fruit with a sweet touch, some ethereal notes and lovely rose petals. There are also clear herbal notes; mainly eucalyptus, nutmeg and some white flowers.

Tannins are great with grip but still soft and they complement a rather citric acidity with some balsamic grape notes. Nutmeg, blood orange, sweet blood grape, gravel and exotic flavours.

For perfect balance we would need more fruit notes to balance the acidity and the tannins.
This is an elegant wine with very good potential.

91-92p/100

2010 Paitin di Pasquero-Elia Barbaresco “Vecchie Vigne Sori Paitin”

Produced from the oldest vines in the middle of the Bricco di Neive vineyard planted in 1965. This vintage had a 45-days extraction (maceration) and is the first vintage without new oak, but second passage.

The nose is very balsamic and offers some great fruit with amazing purity as well as a really elegant, super-fresh perfume of rose petals and grace. There are both strawberries and raspberries to be found on the nose and the palate.

Tannins are rather grippy and sweet and of great quality, never showing any signs of dryness. In the finish the intense fruit and precise acidity dominate. The balance is impressive and texture is velvety.

This wine has a very restrained power to it and therefore manages to be both elegant and generous.

94-95p/100

2004 Paitin di Pasquero-Elia Barbaresco “Vecchie Vigne Sori Paitin”

This vintage had a maceration of 15 days and 20 percent of the wine was aged on barriques.

Very deep nose with notes of oil paint combined with dense fruit. Despite the expressive and generous impression the wine is never over the top.

The palate has much of everything but the different entities stay in good balance. The fruit is complemented with some earthy notes and under vegetation. Acidity is cool and precise and ensures that the wine never gets heavy.

The wine is all about complexity and a well controlled power.

95p/100

 

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Silvano and Andreas

Two Roagna barbaresci from a warm vintage

We are great fans of Luca Roagna and his father’s wines and their focus on natural farming with flowers and multiple varieties of high grass growing between the vines that attracts pollinating insects. The Pajé vineyard that is just below their house in Paglieri and the nearby Asili are both offered in special bottling from older vines (vecchie vigne); 50 years or older.

2007 Pajé “vechie vigne”, Roagna

Colour is translucently dark red with blood orange nuances with transparently light-orange edges.

The nose emerges with distinct adhesive, burned firewood, tar, glycerin and beeswax. After several hours, there are no flowers but there is a subtle perfume and it is as always a very unique nose.

On the palate, now a little overly sweet dark cherry is dominant but also anise seeds, black tea, orange-peel and dry savoury notes. The acidity is fantastically balsamic, fresh and vivid wrapping passion fruit and dry honey. Texture is soft and tannins are now dense, chewy and approachable. It is medium bodied and and dense without any weight.

There is always this combo of balsamically fresh acidity and bold flavours, due to the 3-month very lengthy extraction, that make it such a unique experience to drink Roagna’s wines. The only downside here is the overly sweet fruit, but there is definitely no excessive alcohol and the label says 13.5% in a really warm vintage. Open in 2017.

93+p/100

2007 Asili “vechie vigne”, Roagna

Colour is translucently dark red with blood orange nuances with transparently light-orange edges.

The nose emerges with savoury notes, distinct oil paint, dried red flowers and smoke. After another four hours, thankfully, an interesting inner perfume arrives to the scene.

On the palate, there is an abundance of sweet fruit coated in fresh minerals, distinct savoury aromas, tar, anise seeds, orange peel and grime. As always the balsamic acidity is impressive and energetic wrapping dried honey. Body is mid weight and the wine is pleasantly mouth filling and quite forward, currently without finesse, in this warm vintage. Texture is soft, velvety and tannins are ripe but needs some more time to evolve into perfection. It is quite deep but it has not yet come together really, so needs a few more years of integration.

Acidity is great, has depth and as always it is full of bold flavours, but the wine is overly sweet and lacks the expected level of elegance from this site and older vines. However, no disturbing alcohol and tannins are perfectly ripe. Open in 2017.

92p/100

3 of the top Barbaresci from the fantastic 2008 vintage

We have selected some of the very top vineyards in Barbaresco and the line-up for this tasting includes the Rabaja, Montefico and the mythical Asili. All from the great cooperative in Barbaresco, the Produttori del Barbaresco with reasonable pricing.

Our readers may have noticed that we have already made a post about the Montefico here, but just for completeness, some of the same information is put in here too.

This cooperative is shared among 56 growers in Barbaresco and makes nine single crus as riservas in good years. If you look at the backside of your bottle, you can always read who the growers are. Vinification is traditional and employs a very hands-off approach to wine making. The juice undergoes maceration in steel for 28 days with 2-3 daily pump overs and are then aged in big, neutral barrels (botte) for three years and released after six months in bottle.

2008 is a classic vintage in Piedmont with a winter of three snowstorms followed by a rainy spring with April temperatures way below average, a warm May and a pretty cold and wet first half of June. The beginning of summer offered much warmer, but still quite wet weather that remained all through July. This was followed by average summer temperatures in August and September was very dry, but not critically dry. The harvest was easy and started on the first week of October and is in line with classic years such as 2004, 1999, except for in general offering a little more acidity.

We really think that this vintage is great in Barbaresco with in general very ripe tannins and great overall balance. The sugar level in the grapes are in general not as high as the previous vintage 2007 and the tannins are much more ripe and complex thanks to the slow ripening this year that is so important for nebbiolo. Our impression is that the vintage was more favourable here compared to in Barolo, where it is still often packed with dark, chalky minerals, very gnarly acidity and heavy tannins often at the expense of pure fruit. Naturally, Barbarescos are more approachable than Barolos, but even so when you compare legendary top-sites with their siblings in La Morra and Verduno in the north-west part of Barolo, you probably understand what we mean.

 

2008 Rabajà, Produttori di Barbaresco Riserva 

The vineyard has south-west exposure and lies next to the more famous Asili.

 

Sir Galahad:

The nose is floral and fresh, but now somewhat backward and shy. Make no mistake, the perfumes are there, but much less intense and forward compared to the other two in this tasting. It emerges with oil paint, some tar, fresh herbs and earthy vibrant notes at the base in here. It is a less enchanting and complex nose, but still a good one. The wine is a little more fleshier and more structured than the other two offering more body, but very surprisingly it appears a little diluted and the envelope now show a little volatile concentration. The palate is aromatic and it is rich in sweet, ripe fruit; dominated by cherries, but I don’t find it is equally pure and deep as in the other two. The acidity is very energetic and adds freshness, but unfortunately very dominating right now, giving the impression of a little unbalanced wine. However, I think it is of good quality but just needs much more time. The texture is a little more coarse than the the other two and tannins are not anywhere near the perfection as in the Montefico.

It is certainly has the structure that the Asili lacks, but it is now power at the expense of finesse and complex details. It is less enchanting, a little unbalanced and currently dominated by a promising, but currently edgy acidity, but maybe it is about to close down and that is why it feels a little backward at the moment. A wine now hard to both score and to predict its destiny, since it currently is not a charmer. My guess is to forget this wine until earliest 2018.

93p/100

Andreas:

Very generous and seductive nose with lots of bright red fruit, mainly raspberries, hints of tar, paint and roses.

In the mouth the wine is quite light and very fresh and has lots of quite sweet mouthwatering red fruit. The acidity is crisp and gives energy to the wine. It is dominated by raspberries but also some eucalyptus. Tannins are a bit harsh but also fruity. Should soften and integrate with time. The finish is not very long and dominated by the acidity.

After the Asili and the Montefico expectations on this wine was very high and unfortunately not met. This wine is fresh and seductive but lacks depth and complexity for a top score.

93p/100

2008 Montefico, Produttori di Barbaresco Riserva

South exposition.

Sir Galahad:

I refer to my tasting notes and introduction to Produttore del Barbaresco here.

94p/100

Andreas:

The nose offers darker berries, blueberries, eastern leaf, lots of tar, basil, eucalyptus, tobacco, liquorice, and paint. Much more power compared with he Rabaja and the Asili. There is a good balance between acidity, fruit and tannins but they need to integrate further before the wine reaches its peak. The fruit is deep and dark and there are earthy notes and some alcohol.

Very long finish with chewy and a bit dry and heavy tannins at the moment.

This wine has the ingredients for an amazing wine, but it needs time time to integrate and soften. I will definitely stock up with bottles and then forget them.

94-95p/100

 

2008 Asili, Produttori di Barbaresco Riserva

Sir Galahad:

The nose emerges incredibly slowly and first offers loads of fragrant red flowers, distinct menthol, ethereal notes, oil paint, ginger, cardamom, tiny notes of new leather and wet stone. Then after about three hours, we are rewarded with an intense, dense and seductive perfume and distinct raspberry candy. As always with this vineyard, we are offered beautiful and detailed fragrant flowers and its feminine inner perfumes and here it is unusually enchanting and complex.

The taste offers pure, ripe layers of red fruit, mainly cherries, but also wild strawberries, red current, sloe berries and raspberry candy. Just a little overripe fruit with some excessive sugars, but this a minor note. Alcohol is notable, but not disturbing. The palate goes on with anise, herbs and the base holds vibrating dark, chalky minerals and tiny notes of tar. The acidity is currently just a little whiny, but balsamic and in a few years it will be perfectly fresh wrapping grape juice, lime and pears. Texture is now fine sandy but still quite soft, even though the tannins currently still spurs the tongue a little and are just a little dry in the end. They are not as perfectly ripe and smooth as in the Montefico, but promising. I lack some structure, but at the same time it is very precise and persistent with a generous finish.

Even though not equally as perfect tannins as in the Montefico, this wine compensates with its young beauty, finesse and details. Here there are tar, smoke or earthy notes at the base that you find in the Montefico. This elegant, sophisticated and slender beauty is met in the lovely rose garden, dancing gracefully like a ballerina. I would say that there is a resemblance to Romanée-Saint-Vivant in place in terms of its body and focus in details to its precise finish. Please notice that this wine needs a minimum of three hours now and then serving temperature is best at 17 degrees Celsius. Open in 2017.

94-95p/100

Andreas:

Lots of floral notes, perfume, solvent, hints of rowan berries  grape, minerals, herbs, roses and some minerals. This is a quite careful but very complex and intriguing nose. After a few hours the red fruit and mainly raspberries takes a more dominant role. The acidity is direct and vibrant in this youthful wine. We also find lots of red fruit, minerals some herbs and after a while more strawberries enter the scene. The tannins are sandy and slightly dry in the finish.

This is a fantastic Asili, best described with the words elegance and finesse. The nose is amazing and a bit Burgundian.

95p/100

Summary

Amazingly, these very price-worthy Barbaresci riservas only costs about €40/$65. We are looking forward to tasting the upcoming 2010’s, even though it is certainly greater in Barolo and it may turn out that 2008 is better in Barbaresco than 2010 after all.

A holy santo stefano from a great traditionalist

This estate has been selling their fruit from the great Santo Stefano vineyard to the famous Bruno Giacosa for several years. Noteworthy is, that the grapes for this wine has been the best of Giacosa’s range since 1964, even including the mythical Asili according to many critics around the world, but lately the Stupino brothers have decided to produce everything themselves from the 2012 vintage. They put Albesani on the label since they want the customer to know that this is an important lieu-dit in the Santo Stefano vineyard. After thorough selection, this wine undergoes 12 days of maceration. The estate ages the wine in barriques for 24 months in barriques, one year in neutral botte and one year in bottle before it is released to the market. We don’t know if any new toasted oak is employed for this barbaresco, but we have not noticed any, so we assume 2nd passage only or at least a very low portion. First bottling of this vineyard was in 1971 and the vineyard is about 40 years old now.


Castello di Neive Santo Stefano 2007 Barbaresco

When you open up this wine, it at first gives you the impression of being somewhat diluted and lack concentration, but give it a three hours of airing and it really opens up. I mean really gets to life!
The colour is very translucent deep ruby to dark red purple with clean, transparent edges.
After about 3-4 hours of airing, the nose is distinct and very special, delicate and offers seductive inner perfume as well as very detailed roses and the tar and asphalt. In addition, some balsamic fur, some clove and dried herbs as well as notes of mint and worn leather slowly arriving. Very impressive and deep complex nose indeed that reminds me of when Bartolo Mascarello is at its best which is quite a record of notice in my opinion really.
When taking a sip, it offers distinct layers of raspberry fruit and ripe, fresh and very pure wild strawberries, orange-peel, distinct anise, fennel, balsamic herbs, exotic spices pastry and loads of fine tuned lime minerals. Concentration is really good, but maybe just a little volatile. It is medium bodied and there is just enough power to lift it. The acidity is gnarly now, but energetic and balsamically fresh wrapping grape-peel after decanting and this just needs a few more years to shape up. Texture is fine sandy, dusty now, but the tannins are good, but lacks a little chewiness. However, they are ripe and not green. A really good soprano is offered in the persistent finish and fine tuned details in the base.

When the overly energetic, sulky acidity will calm down in a few years, we are absolutely sure this is a real treat, so don’t forget to air it for at least 3-4 hours. This wine is really forward, but at the same time shows the secrets of this magnificent vineyard. Even though we may lack some complexity regarding the taste, this is tiny remark and we are sure this will be great in a few more years, since everything is in here that we seek for; transparency, some depth, purity and elegance. Open 2015.

93-94p/100

An impressive nose in a mature Barbaresco from Asili

Last time we tried the Asili from CA’ del Baio it was the 2007 and we were not very impressed, but we decided to give the wine a second chance in a more classic and now peeking vintage. We have previously tasted the CA’ del Baio Valgrande from 2001 and thought this was better.
The 2001 vintage in Barbaresco had one week earlier flowering, a mild summer that turned dry and hot in August, but grapes were saved by rains in September and a much cooler weather that rendered a slower growing-cycle that is favourable for nebbiolo and the result is equally very ripe fruit and tannins. A great classic vintage with excellent concentration, very expressive aromatics and structured, big wines with plenty of acidity that is well balanced too and one that should definitely be peeking now, but be around for another two decades or more.

2001 CA’ del Baio Asili

The first impressions are great, offering a dense and expressive nose with deep dark berries, dried rose petals, paint, exotic spices, tea, orange peels and earthy tones.

The palate is dominated by berries that unfortunately are slightly sourish. There is an abundance of blueberries, cherries, tea and some spices.
One day later the acidity had calmed down tremendously and the fruit at this stage, were more expressive and appeared more ripe. Clearly an improvement after plenty of airing, but still the fruit is a little sourish that we find a little unpleasant. The relatively soft and silky tannins provide a good backbone and structure to the wine. The texture is relatively soft and silky and tannins are quite ripe and all is well integrated.
This wine was a positive surprise and impressed us with its fantastically seductive and multifaceted nose. We lack some elegance and energy, but this is over-all a really good wine that should be decanted for several hours before consumption.
92p/100

Piedmont Trip 2013: A very Burgundish estate in Barbaresco

The Sottimano estate was founded in 1974 by Maggiore Sottimano, and is currently run by Mr. Rino Sottimano together with his son Andrea and his daughter Elena. We visit the estate in November last year and met with Elena and Rino Sottimano.

Elena and Rino Sottimano
Sottimano has to be categorised as modern in Barbaresco, but it is in a very Burgundish way meaning mainly that they are skillfully using french barriques and keeping very low controlled yields in the vineyard. The vineyards are kept organically with grass growing between the vine rows. After gentle pressing, alcoholic fermentation in steel, they move the grape juice into barriques of which 25% are new for the malo and then it ages on the lees for 18-20 months in 1-6 year old barriquesThe same applies to all the barbaresci wines. Maceration has recently been extended a little up to 24 days. They tailor their wood at the french company Francois Frères (Tonnellerie) for each vineyard, since they strongly believe that this is necessary to reach perfection in terms of elegance and still be transparent to the expression of the soil. A serious handcrafting with oak is employed aiming to avoid adding little flavours from oak to the wine. No filtering or fining is carried out. They make three barbaresci from vineyards south-west of the town of Neive: Cottà, Fausoni, Curra and since 2001 they produce one langhe nebbiolo from the young Basarin. In addition, one barbaresco is made from the Pajoré in Treiso, in the south of the Barbaresco area. It is the best vineyard from Treiso and famous in the area especially for the work of Enrico Giovannini-Moresco back in the 70’s, who was a pioneer with insane low yields in Piedmont at the time.

All in-all five barbaresci including a riserva that is a blend of a selection from grapes from Cottà and Pajoré. In addition, they produce a barbera too from Pairolero, a dolchetto from Bric del Saito and a brachetto from Mate.
Elena and Andreas in the cellar

We have previously been impressed with the freshness, roundness and elegance of Sottimano wines from the 2006 and 2008 vintages. The wines are usually relatively quiet and careful in their youth and handcrafted to perfection. The average quality level also seems to be very high, making the Sottimano wines a “safe buy”. When we ask Rino about which expression he wants in his wines he says that their focus is on finding the right balance between elegance and structure, but without being powerfully heavy. Rino quickly adds “You should want to finish the bottle” with a smile, as a way of describing it in a more obvious and simple manner.

We discuss the vintage 2010 and Elena explains that even though there was some rain causing issues close to the late harvest for some producers, mainly in Barbaresco, they were lucky here in Neive but also in Treiso. Actually, she thinks the rain was good for them, since it was quite dry at the time. She thinks it is a great vintage with its very slow ripening for nebbiolo and all their wines turned out really well. They started harvesting nebbiolo in mid October beginning with Fausoni.


Notes from our tasting 

2012 Dolcetto Bric del Saito

Color: Scarlet, light purple edges
NoseClassical dolcetto notes, cherries, red fruit, fragrant and fresh. 
TasteThe acidity is quite soft for a Dolcetto, and there is an abundance of fresh red fruit.

It is fresh, soft and full of fruit, but quite short.

86p/100

2011 Barbera Pairolero

A really good year for barbera that does best in warmer years.

Color: Dark purple red with deep red purple edges.
NoseNice fruity nose which is not too sharp. Deep, both red and dark fruit, some floral notes and hints of grape and peach. Quite complex nose. 
Taste: Full bodied and round. Very energetic and with a balsamic acidity. Fresh, ripe and quite deep fruit. 

This is a very good Barbera which is very generous but also offers elegance and good balance. This was definitely a positive surprise.

90p/100

2011 Langhe Nebbiolo

The grapes are from the Basarin vineyard, but since the vines are quite young (15-20 years) they are not used in order to produce a Barbaresco yet. The soil in the vineyard is clay, brown and compact. The wine is stored 12 months in barriques of which 25% are new.

Color: Garnet red, light orange edges.
Nose: Perfumes, generous with raspberries and other red fruit, some herbs, marzipan, mint, rose petals and delicately fragrant. 
Taste: Fresh and cool acidity, ripe and clean red fruit, blood orange, grape, gravel. Acidity is freshly balsamic. Texture is fine sandy and tannins are relatively soft and of good quality.

This is a very approachable Nebbiolo which can be described as seductive with its freshness and fruit. As expected with relatively young vines it lacks complexity. Drink now.

89-90p/100

2010 Barbaresco Fausoni 

The vines in the very small Fausoni vineyard is a south west-facing vineyard in Neive planted in 1970The soil here is predominantly limestone and clay, with streaks of sand.

Color: Garnet red, light-orange edges.
Nose: Very closed and quiet at the time, but there are fragrant notes in here; peons, red flowers, raspberries and also some eucalyptus. We hope it will open up and reveal more with time.
TasteExtremely fresh wine with good, but still a bit sharp, acidity. The mid palate offers boysenberries, peach, menthol, grape juice, orange peel, leather, some gravel and fine minerals. The texture is not silky yet and tannins are just a bit dry and harsh at the moment.

This is clearly now a very, very quiet, shy wine that needs more time before it opens up and get better integrated, but the quality seems good and it is complex, probably the softest wine of them all and delicately floral, so we expect it to be just a question of time… A fair guess is to wait until 2017.

90-92p/100

2010 Barbaresco Cottá 

The vines in the Cottá vineyard is 45-55 year old. Soil contains a lot of lime stone here and some clay.

Color: Garnet light red, transparent edges.
Nose: This wine is much more open and fruity than the Fausoni. There are many layers of fruit and we also notice some glue, fragrant notes, red flowers, perfumed, some minerals and it is quite balsamic. This is stylish and complex.
Taste: Incredibly balsamic and the mid palate offers very pure darker fruit, orange peel, mint, anise, lots of limestone minerals and some tar. Clear, energetic acidity which will develop nicely. Good structure and body is slim. Fine sandy texture and tannins are chewy, but a little hard now.

This is already a good wine fresh and fresh, energetic acidity that we expect it to develop nicely over the coming years. This is a very clean, smooth wine with feather-weightless power and building structure that offers some depth and has the potential to be quite elegant with time. A little more fruitier than the others. Open 2017.

92-93p/100

2010 Barbaresco Pajoré

The vines are 50-60 years old and it is situated at 420 meter altitude. Pajoré is the top vineyard in Treiso in the Barbaresco area and the soil contains more limestone than calcareous clay and it is very poor. We drank this bottle twice; the second time the day after it was opened, but not decanted. For the vintage that offered both an unusually prolonged, cool growing-cycle that is desirable for nebbiolo and a much rain late right before harvest this vineyard was the one that excelled this year and did not end up having tendencies of being thin, diluted.

NoseThis wine has a very seductive nose. It is fresh with a lot of cut flowers and inner perfume in here that emerges from the glass. Then it continues with exotic spicessome tar, nutmeg, wild strawberries, ethereal, even hints of tobacco, and some cherries in the background. The second day the wine added dark fruits and there where hints of black current, solvent, and it offered more depth.
Taste: Very cool, fresh and very ripe (not sweet) fruit; prominent are wild strawberries and raspberries. Moreover, the mid palate offers tar, leather, some orange, menthol, fresh herbs, very clear balsamic notes, vibrating minerals and some tobacco. Structure is a little more powerful than expected, fruit is a little intense and it is quite persistent. The texture is fine sandy and the tannins are a bit softer, rounder and maybe riper than in the Cottá but still needs some more time to settle. The complexity of the wine increased a lot the second day as well as the freshness once the saline acidity has calmed down tremendously.

It may lack some complexity now, but it is impressively balanced, offers really good concentration, high-quality tannins and its mineral-balsamic freshness is fantastic. Great wine that offers both finesse, details and structure at the same time that we expect to develop really well. Open 2016.

93-94p/100

2009 Barbaresco Currá

We did drink this wine twice, where the second time was one day after it was opened. The vines are 45 years old. Elena tells us that this is the nose of Neive, with the herbs and eucalyptus.

Nose: Wood glue, ethereal notes, dry raspberries, quite ripe strawberries, mint, nutmeg, subtle herbs, some smoke, water-on-stone, ethereal. Very complex, broad-spanning and fresh nose!
Taste: Super-balsamic acidity that wraps cool and fresh fruit, orange, some tobacco and white pepper. Medium bodied with quite intense flavors and many deep layers of fruit. Texture is sandy now and tannins are firm, but obviously of very good quality and they have silk potential. Almost full-bodied, great concentration and offers some building power to the quite long final.

The second day, we tasted the same bottle and it had opened up more and actually the depth and complexity had improved a lot. This was our favourite wine in the Sottimano line-up, especially because of the overall combination of complexity, depth, richness and freshness. It may be that the vintage was more ready too of course, since 2009 is a warm, early approachable vintage. Obviously the bigger, deeper and more structured wine in the line-up. We guess opening this in 2015, even though the vintage suggests an early drinking window.

95p/100

Summary

Sottimano continues to deliver elegant wines that are as always a bit quiet and very delicate in the beginning, but with personality. The base level is impressively high which is a good sign of a quality producer. They are very skillful with small oak barrels in a very good way and steer clear of producing wines where oak is dominating and in stead render wines that are round, elegant and are transparently expressing the characteristics of Barbaresco. In addition, we had the chance to experience the 2010 vintage that appears so unusually balanced in most parts of langhe, where the rain was not an issue.