Today’s Story: Produttori del Barbaresco
I previously wrote about Produttori del Barbaresco, one of my favorite Barbaresco producers for wine that won’t break the bank, when I reviewed the 2016 Barbaresco. To recap:
Produttori del Barbaresco was established in 1958 when, during widespread poverty of the 1950s, a priest in the village of Barbaresco gathered 19 small Nebbiolo growers to pool their resources/fruit and produce wine together to survive. For the first three vintages, the group made their wine in the church basement until they built a winery across the town square where Produttori del Barbaresco is still located. Today, the Produttori consists of 51 members and controls over 100 hectares of vineyards planted entirely to Nebbiolo to craft only Barbaresco D.O.C.G. and a more approachable Nebbiolo Langhe. Though each family is in complete control of their land, when it is time to come together in the cellar the wines are made using traditional methods including 18-21 day primary fermentation and aging in botti for up to three years. In exceptional vintages, the Produttori produces 9 single-vineyard Barbaresco wines from the remarkable Asili, Rabajà, Pora, Montestefano, Ovello, Pajè, Montefico, Muncagota, and Rio Sordo crus. The cooperative’s total annual output is roughly 45,000 cases of which 50% are Barbaresco, 30% are single-cru, and 20% are Nebbiolo Langhe.
Produttori del Barbaresco vineyards range from 600-1,300 feet above sea level on steep hills and consist largely of clay and limestone marl with veins of sand. The land varies greatly due not only to its size and varying microclimates, but also in terms of various crus such as how Ovello, Montefico, and Montestefano having higher clay content. The distinct personalities of the fruit from each cru blend together into the final wine to beautifully marry some of Barbaresco’s greatest vineyards in an unusual and honest representation of the terroir. To learn more about the individual crus and browse a gallery of the vineyards, check out the Produttori website here.
Today’s Wine: 2015 Barbaresco Rio Sordo Riserva
100% Nebbiolo; 14.5% ABV
The 2015 Rio Sordo Riserva is translucent medium garnet in appearance. I let this decant for 3 hours and drank it over the following 2, which it certainly needed. On the nose, I get aromas of ripe red cherry, cranberry, raspberry, rose, mildly sweet tobacco, dried rocky earth, and mint. On the palate, the wine showcases notes of dark cherry, spiced plum, licorice, tobacco, eucalyptus, crushed rock minerality, and spice. This is full-bodied with medium (+) acidity, high tightly-knit tannins, and a long finish. Give this another 5 years of cellaring.
Price: $65. For single cru Barbaresco, this is a great value. While enjoyable after a good deal of air, this wine is perfect for cellaring and will only improve. If you’d like a less expensive entry into Produttori del Barbaresco, try the Barbaresco D.O.C.G. for around $40 and still exceptional value.