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A montefico with a very wide scensoric, stroking brush and sexy fruit

This cooperative is shared among 56 growers in Barbaresco and makes nine single crus in good years. Vinification is traditional and employs a very hands-off approach to wine making. If you look at the backside of your bottle, you can always read who the growers are. The juice undergoes maceration in steel for 28 days with submerged caps and are aged in big, neutral barrels (botti) for three years and released after six months in bottle. Montefico is one of the best vineyards in this area around the Barbaresco village alongside Rabaja, Montestefano and Asili.

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.

The harvest for this wine started on October 4th and in line with classic years such as 2004, 1999, except for in general some more minerals and just a little higher acidity
. The climate was ideal here and the harvest lasted for a full two weeks without issues. The sugar level in the grapes are not as high as the previous vintage 2007 and the tannins are much more high-quality and complex thanks to the slow ripening this year that is so favourable to nebbiolo. The fruit is intense, and the acidity not shy… a great vintage for Nebbiolo especially in Barbaresco!

2008 Montefico, Produttori di Barbaresco Riserva

After just one hour, the nose emerges as holding back with tar, saline much rooms, oil paint and dried red flower petals. After another three hours, there is suddenly a lot of Swedish raspberry candy boats, some worn leather, deep balsamic herbs, fresh salvia, coriander, fragrant, intense red flowers and distinct, flirty, seductive young perfumes. In the base there are distinct summer grill notes, vibrating, somewhat burned limestone and loads of tar that cannot be from anywhere else than Piedmont. A truly fantastic and transparent nose of two opposite scent foundations that is so special from this very complex vineyard.
This taste offers chalky and somewhat burned lime infused layers of packed very ripe red berries; raspberries and wild caramelised strawberries, and exotic herbs. In addition, the palate offers anise seed, liquorice, notes of tobacco and smoke. The fruit is very ripe, intense and pure and satisfactory, without disturbing excessive sugars or any notion of alcohol. The acidity is energetic, balsamically fresh and wraps ginger, honey melon, passionfruit and lime. It is now still just a little gnarly and needs a few more years in bottle. Very unexpectedly, the texture is dusty and, surprisingly, already incredibly soft, almost velvety for such a classic vintage. The balance is striking, it is medium-bodied and concentration is consistent all the way to the very persistent, beautiful finish.

Amazingly, when considering the classic characteristics of this vintage, this wine puts me with a very young, sexy, flirty and lovely, but sophisticated, girl on very sunny summers evening at the grill in a garden of fresh herbs and roses. Impressively fresh and enchanting, young lovely perfumes really stand out and she offers tons of crowd-pleasing ripe fruit and personality. Her love is immediate and irresistible. Truly an already very approachable, very aromatic wine with perfect tannins and with loads of characteristic tar and smoke as well as herbs, seductive perfumes and blossoming flowers. Open in 2016 just to let the acidity integrate just a little more and don’t forget to serve at about 17 degrees Celsius after four hours of decanting. Costs about €40 which is remarkably price-worthy for this quality and probably impossible to beat.

95p/100

An impressive entry barolo from Ceretto

The vineyard Zonchetta on the border of the communes La Morra and Barolo is called Zonchera in old Piemontese language and that is what Ceretto puts on one of its bold labels. I am pretty sure that Ceretto still buys this fruit from producers in this interesting vineyard that is situated a bit down in the valley with east-north-east exposition between the great unofficial grand crus; Brunate and Cerrequio. It has more than 50% of calcareous clay, lower level of sand and no sandstone that has the potential of producing elegant, comparably less tannic wines with finesse.

Grapes undergoes maceration for a long time for a modernist, so this should extract more aromas from the terroir. Fermentation inclusive malo is carried out in steel. When malo is finished, the wine is moved into barriques of which 50% are new for 12 months and then the wine is put into neutral big barrels for another 12 months. I am pretty sure this is a change from keeping it in barriques for more than 24 months in previous years and even during malo at times, before 2005.


2007 Ceretto Barolo Zonchera

Colour: Dark ruby red, white edges.
Nose: Solvent, oil paint, tar, grass, truffle, balsamic-fresh minerals, autumn leaves. After an hour of airing, lovely violets and fragrant roses emerges from the glass. An elegant and terroir-complex nose.
Taste: Deep, ripe and caressing fruit; boysenberries, plum and cherries. A little on the sweet side. Tar, worn leather, anise, orange-peel, distinct dry licorice, some toffee and very fine tuned balsamic minerals. The wine is very approachable, round, texture is really fine sandy almost silky already and tannins are soft and of good quality. The structure is almost full-bodied and the tannins and the very fresh balsamic acidity converge beautifully in the persistent finish.

We have tasted other earlier vintages from Ceretto and had some issues with overuse of oak, but here Alessandro and Federico Ceretto’s team have obviously been cutting down on the time new oak is in contact with the juice and clearly show that they really got it right this vintage. We really enjoy its transparency for terroir, its richness, complexity and unexpected level of elegance at this price level. Open now-2020. Costs about €35.

93+p/100