Abruzzo in four-part harmony

 

A sing-song morning in #atri in the province of Teramo, Abruzzo _ #hadrianum and the Sound of Music at #teatrocomunalediatri

A sing-song morning in #atri in the province of Teramo, Abruzzo

The Italian wine experience and lexicon of denominational constructs are a varied and complex weave that follow no true script as it pertains to appellative laws. There are many regions where the decrees of DOC, DOCG and IGT (or IGP) tow a definitive line and yet others where the system is either turned on its head or clouded by sub-appellative titles that bring multiplicity, but also confusion to the exercise. Abruzzo is a territory that embraces it all, ever-changing, adding new sub-contexts and for many producers an opportunity to express the territory through the title of their wines. Yet there is a refrain that stands out, a four-part ideal clear and above all the noise. It takes but four or five days travelling, visiting, listening and tasting with Abruzzese producers to learn, intuit and fully understand the concept. The DOCs of Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, Trebbiano d’Abruzzo, Pecorino d’Abruzzo and Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo are the four members of the regional band. Together they sing in four-part harmony, in sound bites as pop songs, to explain with clarity about the nature of this special land.

Floating restaurant experience on the Trabocchi Coast – Creative crudo, marvelous mussels and @vinidabruzzo _ Grazie tantissimo Davide @traboccopuntacavalluccio and crew for your seamless service, efficiency and respect – #costadeitrabocchi

By the numbers

There are 12 protected zones in Abruzzo, seven as IGPs and five as DOCs. In addition to the aforementioned four pillars the fifth is Villamagna. The region’s surface area to vines is 36,000 hectares, more than half of which are planted to montelpuciano and the total production is 3.8 million hectolitres. Montepulciano d’Abruzzo is responsible for more than 800,000 hL, Trebbiano d’Abruzzo (192,000), Controguerra DOC (4,000) and Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Colline Teramane DOCG (4,000). Like the four-part appellative harmony of Trebbiano, Pecorino, Cerasuolo and Montepulciano there are four connected provinces or growing areas in Chieti, Pescara, Teramo and L’Aquila, accounting for 76, 10, 10 and 4 percent of wines respectively.

Contrada Chiesa, Emidio Pepe

Related – Bucket list visit with Emidio Pepe

The simplest approach would be to divide the winelands into two areas; 65 per cent inland mountain region and its continental climate and the mild climate of the coastal area with its broad yet modest escarpment perched above the Adriatic Sea. La Pergola Abruzzese still stands at 80 per cent to represent the traditional, tried-and-true regional method of vine-training style for the 6,000 growers, 40 cooperatives and approximately 260 (of which 120 bottle their own) “other” aziende or estates in the whole of Abruzzo. More than 30 percent of the territory is protected by four parks (three national and one regional) and a dozen nature reserves and protected areas. The tope three export market breakdown is as follows: Germany (23 per cent), United States (20) and Canada (10). The British and Northern European markets such as Sweden, Denmark and Norway are seeing the highest new growth.

Vasto

The Consortium

The Consorzio Tutela Vini d’Abruzzo was born in 2002 as a system of control and protection, today constituting 200 members. The current statute, approved by the Ministry of Agricultural and Forestry Policies with decree dated 4 June 2012, attributes diverse and different levels of duties to the Consortium. The Consorzio Tutela Vini d’Abruzzo is led by President Alessandro Nicodemi along with Vice-Presidents Pino Candeloro and Franco D’Eusanio. The Consortium protects wines with controlled designation of origin: Montepulciano d’Abruzzo DOC, Trebbiano d’Abruzzo DOC, Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo DOC, Abruzzo DOC and Villamagna DOC. In addition, under its articles of association, it also protects wines with a typical geographical indication: Colline Pescarasi IGT, Colline Teatine IGT, Colline Frentane IGT, Colli del Sangro IGT, Del Vastese or Histonium IGT, Terre di Chieti IGT, Terre Aquilane or Terre de L’Aquila IGT.

Godello at Castello Piccolomini Capestrano

The grapes

Evidence shows that the montepulciano variety has been in Abruzzo since the mid-1700s. Today it is simply everywhere and represents more than half the regional ampelographic base, as well as defining the Montepulciano d’Abruzzo DOC, which also includes the Cerasuolo type. The grape is cultivated on about 17,000 hectares, with a trend in continuous growth (in recent years over 70 per cent of new vineyards have been created with this vine). The idea of Cerasuolo was born in the mountains where the difficulty in ripening led to a Rosé-like wine being produced. Cerasuolo is anything but Rosé and when made correctly in a style that suits its idiosyncratic nature is in fact one of the most unique wines of Italy. The existence of the white grape trebbiano is specific to Abruzzo and that is why the denominational term holds two-fold meaning, both as a description and as an appellative wine: Trebbiano d’Abruzzo. Old trebbiano vines are constantly being discovered and their DNA transformed into new plantings as a way of preserving heritage and biodiversity. There are approximately 14,000 hectares, followed by pecorino to a much lesser degree. But pecorino’s future is bright and also essential for making white wines of longevity in Abruzzo. Finally, there are a series of native, national and international grape varieties such as passerina, cococciola and then sangiovese, chardonnay, cabernet sauvignon and merlot.

Related – Just a spoonful of Tiberio

Team Yellow

The Experience

Rugged and beautiful Abruzzo is found in Italy’s central-southeast, situated between the Adriatic Sea and the two massifs of Gran Sasso d’Italia and Majella. Every jaunt, from Rome to the Adriatic sea, sea to village and village to estate is a journey through hills and mountains, always with one of the two massifs and the water as markers for establishing position. One’s head must always be on a swivel to manage bearings and assimilate direction because roundabouts, switchbacks and natural obstructions are constantly acting to disorient and confuse. At the Vini d’Abruzzo Grand Tasting in Vasto 335 wines from upwards of 75 producers were poured to more than 100 international representatives (some of them journalists) in a dramatically beautiful palazzo placed under challenging professional circumstances. Some of the following 48 tasting notes are drawn from that tasting but mostly transcribed from estate visits and dinners during a glorious week spent in Abruzzo back in June of 2022.

Abbazia Di Propezzano Trebbiano d’Abruzzo DOC “TAB” 2020

TAB, as in trebbiano d’Abruzzo. Extreme trebbiano (filare) grown by Guyot, skins only during the pressing, for the immediacy it can bring, ripeness at fruition, essential oils and all the sun together as one. Preserved lemon and tonic, ending quick and to the proper Teramo point. Drink 2022-2023.   Tasted June 2022

Abbazia Di Propezzano Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo DOC “CAB” 2020

CAB, as in cerasuolo d’Abruzzo. Not saignée method, instead four hours on skins in direct press. Clean and fragrant, strawberry and cherry, exactly like early June, right in season. A clear vision of cerasuolo within the established DOC, focused and precise. Shows a verdancy at the finish, not by stems but as a variability in the cuvée. Drink 2022-2023.  Tasted June 2022

Bellissima e splendida proprietà @abbaziadipropezzano with thoughtful Trebbiano, Pecorino, Cerasuola and Montepulciano. Grazie Cristiana e Paolo _ #morrodoro #viniabruzzesi #viniabruzzo #collineteramane

Abbazia Di Propezzano Pecorino d’Abruzzo DOC “PEC” 2021

PEC for pecorino. Both more freshness and also texture as compared to the trebbiano, while less glück, though there is always a level of that feeling. Ripe in a melon meets guava way, but the sensation is citrus led, not preserved but still fresh and quite vibrant. Drink 2022-2025.  Tasted June 2022

Barone Cornacchia Trebbiano d’Abruzzo DOC Macerato 2020

Some skin contact, as per the moniker macerato, though nothing that climbs into a fully natural realm. Punchy and tart, in control of emotions and our senses, nothing oily about it. Not a textural effect created but surely one that works the palate with connectability. Drink 2022-2024.  Tasted June 2022

Cataldi Madonna (Ofena) Trebbiano d’Abruzzo DOC Malandrino 2021

Green herbs and near neutral citrus, a spritz of lemon and lime, fresh and crisp. Good clarity if narrowing its focus into one dimension. Crusted exterior and creamy interior. All the dried herbs, fennel pollen and Abruzzese liquorice upon the finale. Drink 2022-2023.  Tasted June 2022

Cataldi Madonna Pecorino d’Abruzzo DOC Giulia 2021

Named by Luigi Cataldi Madonna for his daughter Giulia, next and current generation winemaker and face of the family business. Pecorino is also a next step white, seeming to hyperbolize from the trebbiano where fresh herbs and the aerosol of lemon and lime spritz on through, light and with excitable character. Giulia speaks about this wine and in turn a sip transmits more information and emotion as compared to Malandrino. Drink 2022-2024.  Tasted June 2022

Giulia Cataldi Madonna

Cataldi Madonna Pecorino d’Abruzzo DOC Super Giulia 2019

A wine of double selection, from the best parcels of pecorino over two hectares and of course named after the winemaker. Takes pecorino to another level for the estate, for Terre Aquilane and Abruzzo. Increased body and mouthfeel, all the summer herbs and now true squeezed citrus captured. Character pecorino with balanced intensity and linger. Drink 2022-2026.  Tasted June 2022

Cataldi Madonna (Ofena) Cerasoulo d’Abruzzo DOC Malandrino 2021

Quite proper Cerasulo because it heeds the under phenolic call where montepulciano is vinified half as a white and half as a red maceration, aka svacata, then finished together in fermentation. A retro-fitted way to make neither a red nor a white wine but a doppio, not exactly Rosato though you might be conditioned to think of it this way. Really smart and traditional in modern rags not to mention wholly in balance. Drink 2022-2025.  Tasted June 2022

Cataldi Madonna (Ofena) Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo DOC Piè Delle Vigne 2021

Not red and not white “but something in the middle.” Like the Malandrino it is montepulciano vinified half as white and half as red through macerations, i.e. svacate, then finished together in fermentation. Here the red portion is greater than the white yet the sum of parts is similar, albeit reductive. Not surprising considering the philosophy at Cataldi Madonna where oxygenation means trouble. Makes haste to access and assess just what Cerasuolo must be, in respect to tradition from a place where that notion is everything. Piè Delle Vigne, like the ilk of Piè Franco hitting the proverbial nail straight on the head. Some tannins tell us to wait six to eight months and then consume with impunity for four years after. Drink 2023-2027.  Tasted June 2022

Cataldi Madonna (Ofena) Montepulciano d’Abruzzo DOC Malandrino 2020

Montepulciano is also reductive in the way of Cerasuolo yet in all out red the salumi character is omnipresent. Abruzzese skins, musky and fortifying, the local equivalent of finnochiona, perhaps Ventricina Picantino, spiced and also just a bit toasted nutty. Lovely aromatic front and serious tannin right up front. My goodness what a tannic and intensely chalky montepulciano. Aging is only in concrete and stainless steel to make sure the fruit stands erect and at the fore. Yes it is tart to the nth but the bones, stuffing and potential are all there. Better acids than many and while there is some structure it’s really not demanding at all. Still it needs time to assimilate all the structural parts. Long finish confirms the quality and the trenchant intendment. Drink 2023-2027.  Tasted June 2022

The gem of Ofena, Il Forno d’Abruzzo, Madonna del Piano and Terre Aquilane is Giulia’s @cataldi_madonna where this beautiful fertile valley transforms into terroir representative in Trebbiano, Pecorino, Cerasuolo and Montepulciano

Cataldi Madonna (Ofena) Montepulciano d’Abruzzo DOC Giovago 2020

An experiment at least as far as elévage is concerned, to make a wine from the best selection of montepulciano grapes without any wood; no tonneaux, barriques nor botti neither. And yet there is creamy lees, malolactic texture and also a cupboard of spice. The concept is to see if this montepulciano can age with the best of them, going it alone with only stainless steel as the vessel in which it was raised. Five-plus years should be a guarantee. Drink 2023-2027.  Tasted June 2022

Cataldi Madonna (Ofena) Montepulciano d’Abruzzo DOC Toni 2018

Montepulciano that spends a year in botti (25 hL) and then one year in bottle. So apposite to Giovago, with oak resins and toasted notes though really just a relative turn against the other two montepulciano from Cataldi Madonna. Compared to many other Abruzzese this is really quite tame and subsequently floral, crunchy and acid-driven. Tannins are firm and ripe, in slight rigorous demand though with more bark than bite. Tastes like Swartland syrah, of meaty pancetta and iron. Tripping awkwardly in the present though a really solid wine, a bit boozy though that too should settle in. Drink 2024-2028.  Tasted June 2022

Costa dei Trabocchi, Trabocchi Coast, Italy

Cantine Mucci Pecorino Santo Stefano 2021, IGT Terre Di Chieti

Nicely rendered and delineated pecorino, inching into tart and edgy but always residing on the ledge and remaining in that necessary location of fruit to acid balance. Really long finish indicates proper farming and cellar attention to detail. Drink 2022-2024.  Tasted June 2022\

Cerulli Spinozzi Trebbiano D’abruzzo DOC Gruè 2021

A trebbiano that turns inward in a taut and implosive way yet also showing a true juiciness. Citrus all over. Drink 2022-2023.  Tasted June 2022

Cerulli Spinozzi Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo DOC Coralto Superiore 2020

Deeper and more pressed though within reason. Brings out a minor amount of brittle tannin through that maceration. Not a hard wine per se but a bit austere, green even. Green and red cohabitants. Drink 2022-2024.  Tasted June 2022

Day-glo, cotton candy yet tart red citrus in currant and pink grapefruit. Crunchy and searing. Drink 2022-2024.  Tasted June 2022

D’Alesio Vini Trebbiano d’Abruzzo DOC Tenuta Del Professore 2015

Dedicated to current generation’s gradfather Mario D’Alesio, Professor of Agriculture for 45 years, born in Colle di Moro (Città Sant’Angelo) in 1922. Airy, fragrant and aromatic, a gently pressed trebbiano meant to satiate a parched palate, here and right now. Straight lemon citrus juicing. Drink 2022-2023.  Tasted June 2022

With Emidio Pepe

Emidio Pepe Trebbiano d’Abruzzo DOC 2009

The youthfulness of honey after ten years turns to racy citrus and a vapour trail smoulders behind in this petrol-mineral and flinty trebbiano. The tenure is just about 35 deep for Emidio Pepe and this seems to exist in a transitional-next level aging epoch (in and around 2009) for an Abrusseze trebbiano that shows 12-plus year-old wisdom. Not only wisdom but calm and good nature. The finish carries a Manzanilla character that is an EP speciality but only in certain vintages. I suppose this would be one. Drink 2022-2028.  Tasted June 2022

Emidio Pepe Trebbiano d’Abruzzo DOC 2004

As with all aged trebbiano (d’Abruzzo) from Emidio Pepe there comes about an almost (if I may) Jura meets Hunter Valley character, here by the hands of Sofia Pepe who was winemaker at the time. A seasonal profile for sure, cool-ish and comparatively more so than the 2009 tasted alongside. Chamomile and scraped orange skin, a true juiciness and most of all a textural element that sets it apart. There is a tart component as well, almost grapefruit, a peppery kick and piques everywhere, especially on the back end. Drink 2022-2025.  Tasted June 2022

Emidio Pepe Pecorino d’Abruzzo DOC 2013

Emidio Pepe have been working with the grape since 2010, after planting in 2006 and 2007. A variety connected to the mountains, north facing, protected from the sun. Aromatic, thick skinned in tight punches like pinot noir. Glistening, viscous, a scintillant of a white wine and leave it to Emidio Pepe to see it age. A one point four hectare vineyard right behind the house. Acidity is easily maintained, especially from a cool vintage which also happened to be wet. A saffron note suggests a smile of botrytis and now like all aged EPs there is honey and here, also green fig. A grape high in pH and yet the opposite seems to be what 2013 delivers. And with age the viscosity builds, the aromatic compounds multiply and mingle with frâiche flavours in Abruzzese cahoots. Drink 2022-2024.  Tasted June 2022

Emidio Pepe Montepulciano d’Abruzzo DOC 2007

Hard to imagine a montepulciano of this age could be so fresh and indeed it was a warm vintage but remember two things. Concrete and no wood. Aged in one and without any contact with the other. Also consider it resting in an aging room and then after 15 years, coming away cool, crisp and clean. That it exhibits with grace and esteem is the problem solved, like grandfather and the way he walks, carries himself, passes the torch. A smoky subtlety and even now the initialization of fungi porcini but truth is only secondary notes are at the fore. Drink 2022-2027.  Tasted June 2022

Emidio Pepe Montepulciano d’Abruzzo DOC 2003

Much further advanced as compared to 2007, not surprising considering the heat of the vintage and yet acidity is so very preserved. Also consider this having rested in an aging room and then, after 10 years, opened to decant from sediment and then re-corked to ensure its ultimate refinement. That is has kept and behold as it still rolls along.  Last tasted June 2022

At the teenage (in wine years) number 12 this is showing less evolution than expected, especially in consideration of the European year that was 2003. Another divaricating Abruzzo, with a dried fruit component that pullulates in a very hydrated way. From a scorching season where anxiety was felt by both the vines and their keepers. Possessive of a bricking that gives of the cracked earth, of dusty, ambivalent rocks and warm, pulpy air. Through the humid tones and with thanks to pergola trellising, balance prevails with close encounters in acidity of the rampant kind. Tannins rage as well, strong and bullish above the earthy notes and peppery berry bites. The old vines and sleight of winemaking hand are ensconced to this vision, void of faults and yet advancing from the frame. Needs just a few more years to find the median point on the chronometer. Drink 2018-2023.  Tasted March 2015

Emidio Pepe Montepulciano d’Abruzzo DOC 2002

The subtle and gentle elegance of 2002 is almost mystifying, if at least a surprise that kinda hypnotizes. Memory serves up a case of conflict and adversity, if also vintage envy for the bookends of 2001 and 2003. And yet the cool of the night prevails to elongate a montepulciano for our pleasure and make it sing 20 years later. It was also decanted to reduce the lees sediment and then re-corked for our benefit. Words cannot express what a beautiful place this 2002 EP is found to be. It is a treat to taste and also behold, exactly as of right now. Drink 2022-2026.  Tasted June 2022

Emidio Pepe Montepulciano d’Abruzzo DOC 2001

Laden with Brett and other exceptional volatility. The lift and high tonality are at the threshold of problematic. Less so on the palate but there are clearly concerning elements in this bottle.  Last tasted June 2022

If the ’03 acts a bit like a hormonal, impulsive, testy, cavilling or petulant teenager, this 2001 is the adolescent. Full of boundless energy, willingly and excitably adventurous and ready to participate in the game. This from a terrific vintage with great aging potential, here Montepulciano manifests with gravity defying weight, like careful Nebbiolo or graceful Burgundy. Where this separates itself from other Grand Cru varietal infinity is in its yeast directive. Singular, remarkable, devoid in spice as if by wood. The structure is innate, indigenously calculated, developing in bottle, verbalizing flavour. Like a bone from the skin of the clay, piaculum by limestone, passed through and brought to light by the leavening catalyst. Drink 2020-2036.  Tasted March 2015

The line-up from Emidio Pepe

Emidio Pepe Montepulciano d’Abruzzo DOC 1983

After seven more years this 1983 remains and persists as one of the greats. “It was the first important vintage that we piled up bottles so high in the aging cellar,” explains Chiara. It marked a turning point for her grandfather and while the tannins are of course long gone the acidity still rises, bringing it into balance at nearly 40 years of age. “It was undrinkable to grandfather because it was so dense and powerful in its first years. The key to understanding and making his wine was time.” This is not a wine that has too much of anything and it is so organized. The aromatics, of cinnamon, rose petal and fenugreek are in multifold metaphysical existence and concentration. They are the driver for all else to follow.  Last tasted June 2022

In 1983, the bottling is the Riserva. Give Emidio Pepe’s reds thirty odd years to develop and the impossible happens. To postulate in a moment’s assessment without remembering the pious tradition with which this was made would be a crime against Pepe, Abruzzo, the natural world and the wonders of the universe. With this much passage the spice cupboard that emits is wow times a thousand. Clove, cinnamon, cardamon, orange peel, galangal and like golden raisins that pass through quarries to become rubies. This wine is perfect. It has not broken down an iota. It requires no decanting. It defies logic, perception and time. There is no sediment, only energy. Speaks from the glass as if it were a child of destiny and mythology. The 1983 Emidio Pepe Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Riserva arrives from along the same road taken but its transmogrification proves that the result, with thanks again to the endemic froth, is different every time. Drink 2015-2029.  Tasted March 2015

Jasci Pecorino d’Abruzzo 2021, IGT Terre Di Chieti

This is not only high level but tremendous value pecorino with both drive and multifarious flavour compounds. It’s about as ripe and fruitful as it gets for the grape out of Abruzzo but there’s a great foil provided by energy, acidity and most of all salinity. Gives and gives of itself some more, lingers and finishes at wet stones, botanical tonic and a return of fruit once again. All around winner.  Last tasted October 2022

Well aged and very flinty, struck chord of saltiness and searing citrus. Will age quite well by showing real secondary character. Drink 2022-2024.  Tasted June 2022

Masciarelli Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo DOC 2021

Sheds a sour and acetic layer but next up is salty and invigorating. The intensity of this rustic Cerasuolo demands food. Drink 2022-2024.  Tasted June 2022

Nicodemi Trebbiano d’Abruzzo DOC Notari Superiore 2020

Well thought out trebbiano, quite taut and wound yet generous enough to deliver some satisfaction. Mainly lemon with moments of both grapefruit and green citrus. Perfect little sipper. Drink 2022-2024.  Tasted June 2022

Nicodemi Trebbiano d’Abruzzo DOC Cocciopesti 2020

Clearly more concentration and depth of flavour, but also character for a trebbiano that works the glass and especially the palate. A fine step up from the already impressive Notari Superiore. Drink 2022-2025.  Tasted June 2022

Rosarubra Montepulciano d’Abruzzo DOC 2018

Smells like proper Abrusseze montepulciano, of fully reasoned and formed dark fruit and then come the soy, resins and depth provided by the barrel. Juicy with great acidity and just a hint of verdancy, merlot like in the tannins. Has energy and drive and given three or four years should really settle into its thick skin. Drink 2022-2027.  Tasted June 2022

Savini Montepulciano d’Abruzzo DOC Bibbio Bio 2020

Characterful and has got the funk, more volatility than anything other extra plus some pressed astringency pulled out in the tannin. Hard and brittle, not likely to ever soften, at least not fully. Drink 2022-2024.  Tasted June 2022

Vineyards at Strappelli

Strappelli Trebbiano d’Abruzzo DOP 2020

From 50 year-old vines on the farm of Guido Strappelli, organic and now a matter of precision farming for old clones kept alive as much as possible. To maintain their relationship with the terroir in Torano Nuovo. Quite a stony nose with a hint of reduction that comes through in minor smoulder. Lime is the citrus and there is more (apple) orchard fruit than many or most examples of Td’A. Also the good green notes, herbal to botanical but not overtly phenolic. Drink 2022-2024.  Tasted June 2022

Strappelli Pecorino d’Abruzzo DOP Soprano Controguerra 2020

The pecorino vineyard ripens earlier and the early pick results in more phenolic, botanical, oily and dried lime character. Green fruit, plum being the closest idea and nothing sour or tart whatsoever. Early picked but not high in acidity yet a balance is struck between the two concepts of citrus in this wine. Lots of poise here and a wine that grows in stature as you work with it. Drink 2022-2025.  Tasted June 2022

Strappelli Pecorino Soprano 2020, IGT Colli Aprutini

Aged pecorino may not be something of great knowledge and also understanding yet here from 2016 the evolution is really quite slow and unintentionally deliberate. The fruit is stable and yet moving into leathery white, yellow and green fruit. Salato, as opposed to sale and sapori as opposed to sapidite. Has aged really well and is quite satisfying right now. Drink 2022-2023.  Tasted June 2022

Strappelli Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo DOP 2021

Oh the magnetic, magic and day-glo pink of it all, a true Rosé in cerasuolo of good red fruit but certainly acetic and with unresolved fermentation aromas. Like raspberry beer and kind of odd in cerasuolo. The native yeasts and low sulphur are the impetus for how this shows, sweet yet sour, of candy floss and bubble gum. Drink 2022-2024.  Tasted June 2022

Strappelli Montepulciano d’Abruzzo DOP 2018

A 75 per cent stainless steel fermentation and then 25 per cent is aged in barriques. Bold, tannic, structured and full in every respect. Plenty of berry, cake and wood but truth be told there is precision and balance here, followed by just some hard brittleness in the tannins. Fruit is true quality and while the seeds lag just behind the drupe it’s par for the course and in a wine of concentration plus extraction there’s no shock in the result. All in all the quality can’t be denied. Drink 2024-2028.  Tasted June 2022

Strappelli Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Colle Trá 2015, Colline Teramane DOCG

After spontaneous fermentation Colle Trà spent 18 months in tonneaux and 18 more in bottle. Takes the normale to the nth level, similar concentration and yet the intensity of flavours and chalky texture add up and reside at the top of the Teramo mountain. A soupy stew of dark fruit, soy, balsamic and everything wood can deliver. It’s what people make and what many like to drink. Old school to represent these last three decades of making big red Italian wines. Drink 2022-2026.  Tasted June 2022

Talamonti Trebbiano D’abruzzo DOC Aternum Riserva 2018

Good flinty beginning and a honeyed motion bringing some texture and balance to a trebbiano that serves intensity of citrus and really long linger. Satisfying and complex. Drink 2022-2024.  Tasted June 2022

Terre d’Erce Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo DOC 2021

Sour cerasuola, vivid and while strawberry and lemon are all over this is just a bit acetic and edgy. Drink 2022-2024.  Tasted June 2022

Torre Raone Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo DOC 2021

Fine aromatic harmony between fresh fruit and ocean air, or at the very least a valley misted by winds blown in, around and down from mountains. Properly tart and never bracing, light on its feet and with great complexity. Drink 2022-2024.  Tasted June 2022

Godello and Tiberio

Tiberio Trebbiano d’Abruzzo DOP 2021

Mainly limestone soil with sand and from an area rich in water. Tiberio dry farms broad shouldered vines because the roots can always find water below. Trebbiano comes off of five hectares including vines planted in 2012 not yet used in this production. The Tiberio example carries itself with grace and the feeling experienced at a level above. Like night versus day and touchstones fully realized in this elegant and textured trebbiano rising. Taste the juiciness and the energy, cherish it, mimic the eating of ripe picked grapes straight from the vine at a time when there is neither bitterness nor astringency. This is the harmony now, despite the sprint and chaos in seasons of climate change crisis. Trebbiano ’21 is seamless and satisfying. Drink 2022-2027.  Tasted June 2022

Healthy vines and lands in Pescara

Tiberio Pecorino d’Abruzzo 2021, IGP Colline Pescaresi

Tiberio’s 30 hectare Pesacara location is a windy place, ideal to avoid mildew and disease, at 380m with no severe problems by frost. Very close to the mountains so a true mountain climate but also Mediterranean, especially as witnessed by the results of the 2021 vintage. The vines are drawn from organic material found on the property. Started with five vines in 2000, propagated, kept healthy, further planted in 2000 and 2001. Almost one full hectare was created this way. No need to initiate the pecorino discussion by thinking along the lines of intensity because Cristiana Tiberio’s is too free form, openly sensory and one that expresses through full disclosure. Leaves off from trebbiano and accesses another level of grace. No vivid glare or drama but a playful, extended soliloquy, without intermission. Seamless, golden and mellifluous, aromatics transitioning to flavours with undetectable chord changes, palate organza of texture. A reminder that pecorino is a variety born of a mountain climate and not one always capable of fully ripening. This is about as good as that probability will offer but really there is no matter because eight or 8.5 out of ten is ideal. This Tiberio gets there and has the touch in a wine with a strong and pure identity. Drink 2022-2028.  Tasted June 2022

Tiberio Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo DOP 2021

“Cerasuolo has character that is not Rosé,” insists Cristiana Tiberio and when a producer makes one of this kind of energy and crunchiness they can say whatever they like. Born in the mountains where montepulciano couldn’t fully ripen and in this style of wine there has to be bite. Which is exactly what Tiberio’s has, in fact it explains what that means. Free-run juice and one look followed by a taste will make you wholeheartedly believe in the proposition. This Cerasuolo retains the identity of the variety and the place, without compromise. These are a people in the mountains who were trying to make red wine and this was the result. And it was good. Tiberio’s is a memory of fruit, in a vintage, as it has to be. Drink 2022-2024.  Tasted June 2022

Tiberio Pecorino d’Abruzzo IGT 2009

How can it be possible to exist in a vacuum where 12-plus years do almost nothing to advance the timeline of a wine? Well, perhaps some maturity but all things being equal there is very little secondary character in Tiberio’s 2009 pecorino. Some honeyed notes and a toasty, white peppery edge but oven roast or smoke some meats and the match will interact in very beneficial ways. This organic fruit has persevered, remained subtle and in total control. The story unfolds like that of Cristiana Tiberio’s graceful life, as she is, not just what she does. Drink 2022-2025.  Tasted June 2022

Sharp, platinum, straight ahead trebbiano. Light and neutral citrus, simple, quaffable. Reminds of Lugana whites. Drink 2022-2023.  Tasted June 2022

Made for 10 years now at Zaccagnini, as fresh, simple and neutral as it gets. Basic fruit and herbs, from juicy to drying. Turns botanical at the finish. Juice, product, grapes, lines blurred between the three. Drink 2022.  Tasted June 2022

Zaccagnini Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Tralcetto DOC 2019

Spiced monteulciano, of baking mainly by cinnamon, nutmeg and clove. Notably chalky and driven by wood for a highly concentrated and ripe vintage. Reminds of a certain ilk of Rioja though fully versed in dark cherry, then leather and some green tannin creeping in. Drying with tannic austerity. Made with cooperative grapes from Soceita Agricola in Bolgnano. Drink 2022-2023.  Tasted June 2022

Zaccagnini Clematis Passito Rosso 2014, IGT Colline Pescaresi

Made from late harvested montepulciano grapes aged in caratelli style small barrels for three years. Finishes at approximately 140 g/L of residual sugar and only 900 bottles are made. An adversarial task to say the least, to manage and tame the grape’s formidable tannins. Inky of reduced balsamic, black cherry, soy and iodine. Thick as oil, sweet like treacle and meaty in a mince way. Requiem for panna cotta or something of the ilk to cut through the density. Drink 2022-2029.  Tasted June 2022

Good to go!

godello

A sing-song morning in #atri in the province of Teramo, Abruzzo _ #hadrianum and the Sound of Music at #teatrocomunalediatri

A sing-song morning in #atri in the province of Teramo, Abruzzo _ #hadrianum and the Sound of Music at #teatrocomunalediatri

Twitter: @mgodello

Instagram: mgodello

WineAlign

Barbaresco DOCG previews and retrospectives: 2017, Riserva 2015, 2007 and 2005

Flying in to Pi-e-mon-te

Nebbiolo Prima is a wine tasting and immersive concern of impossible equal. The twenty-fourth edition took place in Alba during the latter stages of January 2020, the last innocent period of Piemonte’s recent history and the memories ingrained will last a lifetime. How retrospectively insignificant were the stressors incurred through tasting 300 wines blind over three days plus hundreds more with producers at lunches, dinners and visits? How happy, carefree and miles from non-plussed were the journalists, sommeliers and their Albeisa hosts during a week of connectivity and shared motivations? Less than one month later everything had changed.

Marina Marcarino introduces Nebbiolo Prima 2020

Tutto arriva al momento stabilito, “everything comes at its appointed time.” War, peace, pandemic, recovery. Piemonte has been particularly compromised by COVID-19 and it just seems so unfair but the Piedmontese back down from nothing and move ahead no matter the obstacles. The work ethic never tires, nor do fruit and tannin. There are a thousand wine producers who raised estates out of post-war, mezzadrie ashes to put Barbaresco, Roero and Barolo at the forefront of Italian wine. This generation will do the same beginning in 2020. Piemonte does just about everything well and for so many tangible reasons, everything right. The clash of cultures, detailed attention to seductive and gratifying food particularities and impossible to resist, covetable wines from Langhe and Roero origins add up to one of Italy’s finest destinations. Eating and drinking in Piemonte is one of life’s greatest treats and I’ve not yet even mentioned the word nebbiolo. Life and winemaking are all about the pauses, where art resides in the elusive calm between Barbaresco fruit and tannin. 

It had been a most incredible Nebbiolo Prima 2020 week with gratitude and love to the guidance and effort of the the Albeisa organization’s President, Domaine Punset’s Marina Marcarino. Always the first to pioneer, lead, teach and share, Marcarino expressed the pride and the passion of the community of producers that worked tirelessly to create this formidable assembly. Albeisa’s goal is not singularly focused. This event is not simply a matter dedicated to the tasting of wine. Agricultural evolution and wine-producing innovation are a major focus, always with a socio-economic bearing kept in mind. Albeisa’s deans pointed out that there has been a steady decline of the de-classification of grapes and for Barbaresco that has meant a drop from 46 to 23 per cent of bottlers at harvest moving from Barbaresco DOCG and into Langhe Nebbiolo DOC. 

Mauro Buonocore

Trusting Science

Most fascinating was a climate change talk titled I Cambiamenti Climatici NEI Media, given by Mauro Buonocore, head of the Communication and Media Office at CMCC Foundation – Euro-Mediterranean Center on Climate Change. Buonocore began with a challenge to journalists, to report truths, based on science. “Why are journalists and the public interested in such complex scientific problems?’ he asks. This is Mauro’s question, his purpose for studying the subject. “Attention paid to climate change makes sense if we do so in relation to socio-economic systems.” He then wants to know “what is the cost for business in a world in which temperature is changing and extreme events like heavy rains and heat waves taking place?”

The study by Fondazione Centro Euro-Mediterraneo sui Cambiamenti Climatici presents as a focal point for Italy, to “get out of the green ghetto,” insists Buonocore. “Hugging trees is not the only answer.” The starting point is science because science is informative. “It’s a democratic community.” IDCC creates reports by 300 authors, in 20,000 studies, with 100,000 comments. It’s more than enough to satisfy the most skeptical journalist. It’s also a consistently framed initiative that resides at a global level.

Mauro Buonocore, CMCC

2020 Findings

The foundation’s most recent investigations are heavily reporting about extreme weather, a.k.a the new global warming. Climate action is now responsive and mobilizing to act in response to the natural disasters but also losses in biodiversity. Human made environmental tragedies are the single largest crises faced today and more than ever there is a need for collaboration between journalists and scientists. Un”alleanza necessaria, driving scientific research into journalists’ hands, to report on forests, environment and climate change. Wine journalists. The road goes both ways, recoproche risorese, not a one-man band.  The intrigue of this study takes journalists and in turn the public away from the idea about what can be done to combat and make adjustments for climate change to a realm defined by placing trust in scientists and scientific thought. A blind trust perhaps but this is the request.

What to make of Barbaresco DOCG 2017

In subsequent articles I will get to what Barolo and Roero have reached in their recent contributions to nebbiolo but today we begin with Barbaresco. Nearly 60 examples of Barbaresco DOCG 2017 were presented, along with 15 Riserva 2015 and a further dozen or so retrospective 2007s. Communes of origin (Alba, Barbaresco, Neive and Treiso) were joined by Cru examples (Montersino, Rocche Massalupo, Asili, Ovello, Pora, Rabaja’, Rio Sordo, Roccalini, Roncaglie, Ronchi, Montaribaldi, Albesani, Basarin, Canova, Cotta’, Gaia-Principe, Gallina, San Cristoforo, San Guiliano, Bricco San Giuliano, Santo Stefano, Senadaive, Serraboella, Serragrilli, Sorì Paitin Serraboella, Starderi, Bricco di Treiso, Casot, Giacone, Marcarini, Meruzzano, Nervo, Nubiola, Pajore’, Rombone, Valeirano and Vallegrande).

Tasting at #nebbioloprima2020 with the Morris, side by each ~ Day one, 120 in

These odd, curious and at times inspiring 2017s are littered with examples that speak to great variability, lined with pockets of hot and bothered micro-climates but also cool spots in spite of the prevailing terms of the vintage. These Barbaresco are wines of patent freedom and some imbibers may think they want in but may not be equipped to handle the liberties they provide. Still others will unite over the untied and untucked nature of the lot. The highlights are nominally noted by nebbiolo quietude that act as breaths of fresh 2017 air. The Riserva of 2015 are at their best when the spice cupboard is wide open for nebbiolo to act aromatically gregarious, volatile and yet unsettled. The best of 2015 have yet to peek out of the open windows.

The task of tasting 360 nebbiolo blind or not in four days would be unthinkable without the guidance and assistance of a professional Sommelier. What is a Sommelier? A Sommelier is completely invisible, yet always in sight. A Sommelier remembers what wine tasters hate. A Sommelier anticipates the taster’s needs before the needs are needed. A Sommelier is, above all, discreet to a fault. In total here are 92 reviews for Barbaresco nebbiolo tasted in Alba, January 2020.

Barbaresco at Hotel I Castelli, Alba

Barbaresco DOCG 2017 (59 reviews)

  • ***** (denotes the top wines of the vintage)

Ada Nada Barbaresco DOCG Valeirano 2017

Sweet and saline Treiso nebbiolo, light and bright, lemon to orange. Quit and confident, the silent type that allows its actions to speak louder than its words. Good tang in its textural step and fine tannins will lead to mid-term aging exceptionality. Drink 2021-2025.  Tasted January 2020

Adriano Marco E Vittorio DOCG Barbaresco 2017

Plays hard to get from the outset though there’s a prettiness to the lightness of this nebbiolo’s being. Can be tough when it needs to be and so there is potential here. Will need to wait and see just what becomes of this light, underestimated and yet understood Barbaresco. Drink 2023-2028.  Tasted January 2020

Adriano Marco & Vittorio Barbaresco DOCG Basarin 2017 ($45.00)

Candied exterior in that the fruit scents are like flowers dipped into a sweetly perfumed liquid that permeates and infiltrated so that everything comes up roses. The palate then dries out a bit so that fruit succumbs to the tannins in the wine. Neive traditional and so plausible. Drink 2022-2028.  Tasted January 2020

Albino Rocca Barbaresco DOCG Montersino 2017

Tannic and intense. Decent fruit more or less speaks to varietal obviousness and basic understanding. There’s a comfort level in the rustic charm of the tradition found inherent and fomenting in this Montersino nebbiolo. Drink 2022-2026.  Tasted January 2020

Albino Rocca Ronchi Barbaresco DOCG 2017 ($75.75)

Once again a menthol note permeates but here from Ronchi in Barbaresco it is met with notable citrus, namely pomegranate, deep blood orange and also a real cherry-ness. Also very spiced, cinnamon and nutmeg, plus a variegation that comes across as much textural as it had aromatic. A serious wine of great integration and potential more than anything as a quotient of its fineness and deep-rooted complexity. Drink 2024-2037.  Tasted January 2020

Alessandro Rivetto Barbaresco DOCG Montersino 2017

Ripe and syrupy nebbiolo, simpler than many or even most with fine-grained though negligible tannin. A bit of disconnect between the fruit and the finish, namely because the acidity is not a catalyst or a matchmaker in the Montersino equation. Drink 2021-2023.  Barrel Sample tasted January 2020

Antica Casa Vinicola Scarpa Barbaresco Tettineive DOCG 2017

No cru designate mention (but referred to as Tettineive, “at the head of,” or above the village) and the Neive ubiquity is noted in the swarthy and swarming aromas that speak foremost about ripe fruit. It’s so very raspberry and not so very tannic though the acids are developed and encompassing. Not so complex but a great dinner date companion for the next few years. Drink 2021-2024.  Barrel Sample tasted January 2020

Antichi Poderi Dei Gallina Barbaresco DOCG Gallina 2017

Quite bright and very citrus, light blood orange meeting green tannins. Seems like a very cool spot in spite of the ’17 Neive vintage. A tonic injection and a botanical feel make for a unique take on nebbiolo from Gallina. Drink 2021-2025.  Tasted January 2020

Bera Barbaresco DOCG Serraboella 2017

Very cherry, very glycerin and also light on its aromatic feet. The scents are spiced and varietally obvious as Neive nebbiolo with a sweetness that speaks to the land. Good structure, even sweeter tannins and very apparent that the barrel is a major part of the game. Needs time and also tells us that if you like sweetness from wood then you should clearly stick around. Drink 2022-2027.  Barrel Sample tasted January 2020

Now we are onto and into something other, ulterior, extraordinary even. The berry and cherry scents are ripe, effusive and frank. The subtleties speak to the knowledge and the knowing. There’s a restraint and a consummate professionalism in such a Treiso Barbaresco but also an accumulation spurred by precision. The real deal, needing no swagger to solicit no adulation. Drink 2023-2035.  Tasted January 2020

Gran Bollito alla Piemontese, Ristorante Luna, Sinio

Briccogrilli Battaglio Barbaresco DOCG 2017

Slightly over-developed, heading towards oxidative and not far from raisin. Flat, little acidity and no real potential. Drink 2020-2021.  Tasted January 2020

Ca’ Del Baio Barbaresco DOCG 2017

If ever a Barbaresco nebbiolo carried an uncanny aroma that is purely reminiscent of liquorice than this would be the one. Fruit quality is impressive and structure supports with a proper frame,. Nothing overtly complex here but overall the game is played quite well. Drink 2021-2024.  Tasted January 2020

Ca’ Del Baio Barbaresco DOCG Vallegrande 2017

Sweet meets savoury for fruit that needs little introduction. So bloody nebbiolo, Barbaresco, Treiso and seemingly, clearly, obviously Vallegrande. Ripe and grippy tannins take control so maybe try and avoid needing to spend too much time here over the next five years. Drink 2022-2028.  Tasted January 2020

A clear and concise look at Treiso nebbiolo from Barbaresco with tart currant, pomegranate and cherry fruit, tang in pocket and a lovely liquidity. This is the textural one of clarity and precision. Clearly textural, structured and fine. Not overtly tannic and so far from intrusive in terms of what the barrel wants to say. Drink this everyday and for no particular reason. Drink 2021-2029.  Tasted January 2020

You can tell straight off the top that this Barbaresco-Asili nebbiolo is not begging for attention, nor does it care if you get it or not. The fruit wades and treads easily, comfortable, without any real tension. The acids are delicate and fine, real and necessary. The tannins repeat the yoga mantra. This is a sneaky one, seemingly light and uninterested but time will see flesh, bone and serious intention come to the surface and swim with strength deep into the distance. Drink 2023-2031.  Tasted January 2020

Cascina Luisin Barbaresco DOCG Rabajà 2017

A deep inhalant of hillside brush, red citrus and well-ripened fruit are the three-part harmony sung by this Barbaresco. Simplifies a bit once you realize the heavy bass played by the wood takes over and commands a sweetness but also a simplicity in the structural line. Still there is a quality that just aches with the singsong verse of Rabaja’. Drink 2021-2026.  Tasted January 2020

Cascina Morassino Barbaresco DOCG 2017 ($58.62)

Lovely and complex nebbiolo aromatic profile with crisp bites and red fruit drawn off the right kind of soils for all to take part. One part kind fruit, one part energy building and one part lengthening structure. Adds up to quality Barbaresco and accessibility. Drink 2021-2026.  Tasted January 2020

Impressive from go with high-toned, pectin-developed and transparent, glycerin fruit. Really fine lines, bones and structurally sound encroachment into the tough areas only such Barbaresco nebbioli can go. Serious Ovello wine with a long life ahead. Drink 2023-2032.  Tasted January 2020
 
Cascina Sarìa Barbaresco DOCG Canova 2017

Quite ripe and developed Neive nebbiolo with an oxidative waft. Will go quickly into the pruned night with so much vanilla by wood in its fading light. Drink 2020-2021.  Tasted January 2020

Castello Di Neive Santo Stefano Albesani Barbaresco DOCG 2017 ($51.75)

Fruit is sweet and properly ripened, a touch herbal and tannins take quick stage to cover and draw the curtains. Chewy in a liquorice way and drying though tradition runs like blood through the structure. Solid Neive Barbaresco. Drink 2021-2025.  Tasted January 2020

Collina Serragrilli Barbaresco DOCG Serragrilli 2017 ($45.00)

Wildly earthy and aromatic Neive nebbiolo from Serragrilli, a touch overdrawn but still sitting on that ledge. Smells like a scorch of sorts and a light char on wild game. Also brings the hematic aromas that only fresh meat, toasty wood and blood orange can gift. Complex specimen here if just a touch ripe into the beyond. Drink 2021-2026.  Tasted January 2020

Sweet scented aromas and a chewy textural aspect make this Barbaresco nebbiolo one of the more impressively expressionistic examples. The substance in grain and disposition are clearly developed and designed to create a gregarious and exhibitionist example. So much Rabajà proposition, supposition and expectation await. Drink 2023-2032.  Tasted January 2020

Figli Luigi Oddero Barbaresco DOCG Rombone 2017

Unusually scented Treiso Barbaresco, almost like baking biscuits mingling with cured meats. Quite chalky tannic and earth crusted too. Very nebbiolo, high strung and extended perhaps beyond means but there will be a sweet spot somewhere out there in the mid ages. Drink 2022-2026.  Tasted January 2020

Another about face for nebbiolo twists and turns within the variability and variegation found in the Neive Barbaresco from Gallina. Tartness, tang, tannin and even a moment’s tumult make this curious, foreboding and so very interesting. Watch to see where this one goes. Drink 2022-2028.  Tasted January 2020

Grasso Fratelli Barbaresco DOCG Vallegrande 2017

Darker, bloodier and richer than some but also as compared to brethren within the cru. Vallegrande is quite expressive Treiso Barbaresco though this example is clearly driven by the barrel. Vanilla in droves, chocolate not too far behind and tannins thick as thieves. Drink 2021-2024.  Tasted January 2020

Icardi Barbaresco DOCG Starderi 2017 ($78.00)

Intensely reductive and closed, even for Neive nebbiolo. There too is a pine resinous note and some charred meeting preserved citrus. Curious and yet to open up its charms. Drink 2022-2026.  Barrel Sample tasted January 2020

Pasta heaven in Alba

Il Bricco Barbaresco DOCG Bricco Di Treiso 2017

The mix of cured meats, wood smoke, spice and wet concrete make for a Treiso nebbiolo with so much bloody character that keeps changing with every nose put into the glass. Brings blood orange and bresaola to the mix. What a potpourri, what a design and what a complication. That all said the tannins are not so firm and not so demanding, More wood and texture than anything else. Drink 2021-2026.  Tasted January 2020

La Ganghija Di Enzo Rapalino Barbaresco DOCG 2017

A touch past ripe and syrupy though with complex aromatic notes, namely preserved citrus and gingered chocolate. A gastronomic Treiso Barbaresco in a dessert course kind of vein with notable cask sweetness, spice and strength. Very modern and ambitious. Drink 2022-2026.  Barrel Sample tasted January 2020

La Ganghija Di Enzo Rapalino Barbaresco DOCG Giacosa 2017

A bit past the centre line for ’17 Treiso ripeness and evergreen amplitude. Also an earthy note, albeit a sweet one that mingles with fruit and tang. Lots of wood, texture and grip. Very chewy and will develop some fun funghi and umami secondary character. Drink 2022-2028.  Barrel Sample tasted January 2020

Mainerdo F.Lli Barbaresco DOCG Roccalini 2017

Quite a mentholated sauce and scented nebbiolo, not unlike the Barbaresco of Pora though Roccalini also delivers a multitude of red fruit. It’s berry, plum and citrus all rolled into one. There too is a note that seems uncanny but you can’t quite put your aromatic sensors on it. Chalk it up to memory that will come back one day. Drink 2022-2029.  Tasted January 2020

Manera Barbaresco DOCG 2017

Simple and basic nebbiolo with mild acidity and grippy tannin. Proper enough but just not that interesting. Drink 2021-2025.  Barrel Sample tasted January 2020

Masseria Barbaresco DOCG Montersino 2017

Extremely high-toned Montersino nebbiolo with a decidedly vinyl shower curtain note. Also some fennel, mountain tea and sweet herbal aspect. Funny wine with a hard candied shell. Drink 2021-2024.  Tasted January 2020

Massimo Rivetti Barbaresco DOCG 2017

Very herbal almost in a cough concoction sort of realm and certainly an alcoholic warmth mixed with some mephitic material. Smells like the stable. Not clean. Drink 2020.  Tasted January 2020

Moccagatta Barbaresco DOCG 2017

Curious one this nebbiolo, at once a rich and ripe ’17 and on the other hand tight, taut and closed. Somewhat pine verdant and cool with a graphite note. Crunchy acids and plenty of texture make this one gregarious, full and ambitious. Tannins follow suit with grip and energy. Yes, the drive and the energy her are the thing. And the potential. Drink 2022-2028.  Tasted January 2020

Molino Barbaresco DOCG 2017

Extreme ripeness and developed cherry fruit that ultimately means simple and straightforward juice. A bit meaty and chewy in a cheaper cut, a bit too quick braised way. Drink 2020-2022.  Tasted January 2020

Montaribaldi Barbaresco DOCG Montaribaldi 2017

Quite simple, tart, woody and unreflective. Comes across as sweet and overtly intentional. Drink 2021-2024.  Tasted January 2020

Musso Di Musso Barbaresco DOCG Rio Sordo 2017

Perfume is off the charts in a Barbaresco nebbiolo that clearly speaks for the land from whence it has come. Fruit quality is ripe, sweet and developed while acids are just as important as tannin for a cru Barbaresco of style and no real overt need to go decades for best pleasure. The results are now and for 10 years max. Drink 2021-2029.  Tasted January 2020

Wow the mentholated and graphite noted aromatics are off the charts in this singular Barbaresco. Also tobacco and a fine liquidity that runs through like one substance suspended within another. Should be interesting to see when the two will emulsify and get together as one. Drink 2023-2030.  Tasted January 2020

Mustela Barbaresco DOCG 2017

Ostensibly what you’d imagine Treiso Barbaresco to nose without a cru mention and in a wholly modern way. Sweet spice, cured meat and vanilla. Big wine with lots of texture. Drink 2022-2027.  Barrel Sample tasted January 2020

Nada Giuseppe Casot Barbaresco DOCG 2017 ($33.25)

Very right, credible and proper Treiso nebbiolo from Casot here with all the constituent parts in line, one following another and no gaps to speak of. There’s a salve texture that you already knew was coming because the aromas told you so. The texture carries forth with admirable consistency and the elasticity of this Barberesco is right there behind, in support and with en eye towards the eventual conclusion. Drink 2022-2029.  Tasted January 2020

Ristorante La Libera, Alba

Negro Giuseppe Barbaresco DOCG Gallina 2017

Deeper and more developed for Neive-Gallina and surely from a warm and sunny exposition to take full advantage of the vintage. A bit lean on the other hand and also a touch verdant. This one will travels to all four corners of nebbiolo earth. Drink 2022-2027.  Tasted January 2020

Orlando Abrigo Meruzzano Barbaresco DOCG 2017 ($42.95)

Earthy and reductive with the forest and the barn’s floor all over the Treiso aromatic room. Plenty of wood and where this excels is in its cool, silky and pleasurable texture. Needs time, of course it needs time. Success depends, well of course it depends. Drink 2022-2027.  Tasted January 2020

Paitin Barbaresco DOCG Sorì Paitin Serraboella 2017

Almost negligible in so many ways in that it’s so very hard to get. That said the quietude is a breath of 2017 Neive air because no intrusions have been allowed to get through, neither red, green, overt or unwanted. A simply rendered nebbiolo can be your friend and here the structure is likely sneakier than first, second and third time around imagined. Charming wine from Serraboella. Drink 2022-2028.  Tasted January 2020

Pasquale Pelissero Barbaresco DOCG 2017

Quite blood orange, hematic and even ferric nebbiolo form the odd, curious and at times inspiring Neive 2017s. Textural on the outside and linear and lean on the inside, even this example owes to its very own variability. Tannins are a bit grippy and energy comes back and forth, in and out of time and waves. Drink 2021-20327.  Barrel Sample tasted January 2020

Pelissero Pasquale Barbaresco DOCG San Giuliano 2017

Developed in many ways, not the least of which is fruit in syrup and dried fruit character. Turns lean and uninteresting with a cool mint and graphite quality on the back end. Drink 2020-2022.  Barrel Sample tasted January 2020

Pertinace Barbaresco DOCG Marcarini 2017

A traditionally accumulated, developed and rendered Treiso nebbiolo to be frank with generous big barrel character and silken ripe 2017 fruit. Big bones and full texture make for a mouthful and one that will take years to find its classic stride. Drink 2023-2030.  Tasted January 2020

Pertinace Barbaresco DOCG Nervo 2017 ($59.95)

Nervo is south facing on famous Treiso blue clay. Just a lovely nose here, sweet scenting, floral and savour-candied. Just a touch of so many things; herbs, creosote, pine, cedar and scorched earth. Vanilla, chocolate and spice. Gone for it all. Drink 2022-2028.  Tasted January 2020

Pietro Rinaldi San Cristoforo Barbaresco DOCG 2017

Light to developing in aromas and textures with variegations. Crunchy and chewy at the same time, with a taste profile that encompasses the liquorice, earth and wood spice profile. Lots going on here from San Cristoforo in Neive but in the present not overtly complex. Probably best to wait a year or two ands then drink young. Drink 2021-2025.  Tasted January 2020

Poderi Colla Roncaglie Barbaresco 2017 ($50.00)

Wound tight, taut and far from ready to unravel there are layers upon layers of structure in this ’17 Roncaglie-Barbaresco. Crunchy and crusted you will have to exercise great patience before even thinking you can see the light or feel the gentle pull in the elasticity of this wine. Take it slow, take your time and let it flow. Drink 2024-2032.  Tasted January 2020

Rattalino Massimo Barbaresco DOCG 2017

Pretty and effusive Barbaresco nebbiolo with notable tannic structure. Quite a mouthful of barrel-influenced spice and tannin. The length is impressive so there is no doubt that this will go far. Drink 2022-2028.  Barrel Sample tasted January 2020

Rizzi Barbaresco DOCG Pajoré 2017 ($42.95)

Again this is Pajore’ in its basked light of delicacy, ripe and rising. Understated and yet so cumulative of fruit, acidity and fine tannin. In fact the tannins accumulate with great numbers and in even greater force. This will outlive many of us to die another day. Tour de force is what nebbiolo can be albeit with Treiso subtlety and drive. Drink 2023-2034.  Tasted January 2020

Roberto Sarotto Barbaresco DOCG Gaia Principe 2017 ($43.00)

There’s an almost appassimento note to this strange and unusual Neive nebbiolo and also an over-developed fruit feel. Like roll-up, very strawberry and quite overripe. So simple as a result and mired in a pectin-glycerin way. Drink 2020–2021.  Tasted January 2020

Socré Barbaresco DOCG 2017

Takes a walk along a wire that supports both a lightness of being as well as some high-tonality to the point of volatility. There is an old-school Barbaresco quality to be sure and a traditional waft that is both obvious and comforting. Clean enough to eat off of though you also knows where its been. Drink 2021-2027.  Tasted January 2020

One of only two Cru Neive Barbaresco made by the family in 2017 because of hail that rained down on Basarin the 25th of April. Lower production on one hand, indelible mark of concentration and focus on the other. Elegant, lightly lifted and breezy with that density of fruit laying low, stowed safely and securely away to rise only as necessary, as the tannins melt, spread out and dissipate. Accented with chromatic prejudice as only a Sottimano nebbiolo will, xanthous, cinnabar, maroon, together imagined as spices that feed the flavours. Liquid berries, cool, fine and finessed. Does Barbaresco get more honest than this? A true window into a cru and snapshot of a vintage. Drink 2021-2031.  Tasted January 2020

Taverna Barbaresco DOCG 2017

Very ripe and organized, developed and heading forward with great haste. Acids are brighter than some so there is light streaking through the Neive vintage darkness. Another example that speaks to the great variability in 2017. Drink 2020-2024.  Barrel Sample tasted January 2020

Tenuta Baràc Barbaresco DOCG Rocche Massalupo 2017

Dark and developed nebbiolo fruit with some serious grip in its tannic step. The wood is a major factor early on and the stuffing is surely there. Needs a few years easy to let things settle and to allow full or even partial integration. Great potential from Rocche Massalupo. Drink 2024-2030.  Tasted January 2020

Unusually restrained for a Neive nebbiolo of clear complexity and might. The substantial fruit texture and mineral-alloy impression cannot be ignored, nor can the exquisiteness of the elasticity be denied. So much acumen, passion and planning are clearly meant to make many requests, most notable the one that asks for patience before judgement and ultimately joy plus pleasure accumulated in the decades long exercise. Drink 2023-2035.  Barrel Sample tasted January 2020

Barbaresco DOCG 2016 (2 reviews)

Sottimano Barbaresco DOCG Basarin 2016

Basarin in the newest Cru for Sottimano, established in 2014 though the vines are already between 45-50 years old. Released just at the start of 2020 and already displaying a prominence in aromatics that speak to this exceptional nook just below Neive. From a vintage blessed for its place in history matched by a requiem for a dream. Crunchy for nebbiolo surely caused by the policy of classically long Piedmontese maceration, drawing fruit with gentle impunity and long-grained tannins in thrushes and intermingling chains. Pure dark fruit (almost raspberry) and a generous application of wood varnish. Architecture, length and character, all together. Drink 2022-2037.  Tasted January 2020

Taverna Barbaresco DOCG 2016

Comes from one vineyard at the top part of the hill, Gaia Principe it’s called, one of four that make Barbaresco in the MGA (menzioni geografiche aggiuntive). Quick maceration, only seven days, not very Piedmontese and because the house tradition is to make wines to drink and drink now. A very fresh nebbiolo, sweetly perfumed, clear, pure and precise. Drink this most days. No good reason not to. Drink 2020-2024.  Tasted February 2020

Marina Marcarino

Barbaresco Riserva DOCG 2015 (15 reviews)

Briccogrilli Battaglio Barbaresco Riserva DOCG Serragrilli 2015

All about aromatics for this Neive nebbiolo. Candied meets spiced, like a cinnamon lozenge, soothing and yet peppery. Not the most structured affair and thins out as the hard shell cracks, softens, melts and disappears. Drink 2020-2022.  Tasted January 2020 

Cantina Del Nebbiolo Barbaresco Riserva DOCG 2015

Set at the highest tone, nearly to 11, with fruit rising along and everything just hanging out on the edge. Drink 2020-2022.  Barrel Sample tasted January 2020

A bit linear and herbal though there’s some substance hiding in the Barbaresco reeds. Quite closed and yet to open for the world to know and perhaps understand. Seems to shed some light with time in the glass before structure creeps in and up. Definitely wait and return. Better times lay ahead. The transparent and confident fruit will emerge. Drink 2023-2029.  Tasted January 2020

Francone Barbaresco Riserva DOCG 2015

Now here is a Barbaresco Riserva for an overall consumer platform with ubiquity and pleasure across all fronts. Mildly fruity and with acids meeting tannins that mimic a concept of the same, Unquestionably Neive nebbiolo and without making any demands. Drink 2020-2024.  Tasted January 2020

La Bioca Barbaresco Riserva DOCG Secondine 2015

Aromatically gregarious, volatile and yet unsettled in what is still an unfinished state. So much acidity and wood without respite. Can surely be imagined as the sort of Barbaresco nebbiolo that will suddenly transform and morph into something completely other, brilliant, ethereal even. Drink 2022-2028.  Barrel Sample tasted January 2020

Marchesi Di Barolo Barbaresco Riserva DOCG Rio Sordo 2015

Here’s a taut, tightly wound and spice-filled aromatic nebbiolo with a soil’s firm intention in solicitation of a wine’s structural intuition. Serious Barbaresco here with bones and elastic flesh. Let it ride. Drink 2020-2026.  Tasted January 2020

Tajarin, Osteria dei Sognatori, Alba

Massimo Rivetti Barbaresco Riserva DOCG Cerebella 2015

A cool and almost minty Neive nebbiolo that lies in the nether between transparent and glycerin. Far from reduced or reductive and yet not overly oxidative either, Very middle of the road. Drink 2020-2023.  Tasted January 2020

Molino Barbaresco Riserva DOCG Ausario 2015

Not merely ripe but nearly over the top, the edge and the precipice towards a falling down the other side. Tries hard and ultimately fattens, flattens into soft tones and sits out of balance. Drink 2020-2021.  Tasted January 2020

Nada Giuseppe Barbaresco Riserva DOCG Casot 2015

Clear and marked upscale notes give this Treiso nebbiolo a true blue Barbaresco feel that can only lead to sensation. Very cherry and great in its soul connection to the way the wine slides gracefully into its structural components. A bit over-heated on the back end with a plethora of wood spice and mild char but it finds its way back to the cool tempered wine it wants and needs to be. Drink 2021-2026.  Tasted January 2020

Piazzo Comm. Armando Barbaresco Riserva DOCG Nervo 2015

A ripe Nervo nebbiolo from Treiso on the darker, nearly black cherry spectrum with a clear directive from pressing through extraction and into barrel. Flavours are cough candy and tonic. Really quite botanical in the end. Drink 2021-2025.  Tasted January 2020

Prinsi Barbaresco Riserva DOCG Fausoni 2015

Closed in aromatic terms though a sweet-scented baking spices resides in mild fade where the middle meets the background. Cool and taut, not yet ready to play or offer pleasure. Will do so when time gets under its belt. Not an overtly generous 2015 Barbaresco from Neive but clearly a serious one. Drink 2023-2031.  Tasted January 2020

Produttori Del Barbaresco Barbaresco Riserva DOCG Muncagota 2015

Quality through really earthy fruit that reflects a feeling of beetroot in a chalky tannic Barbaresco nebbiolo. Quite crusted, nearly crusty and some bitters mark the finish. Dry and tannic. Young but the fruit will need to work hard in order to stand the test and onslaught of time. Drink 2021-2026.  Tasted January 2020

Wildly aromatic of wild strawberry and sweet bitters liqueur. Highly glycerin and textural with grippy and elastic stretched tannins. A huge Neive Barbaresco with time definitely secure on its side. Drink 2022-2030.  Tasted January 2020

Punset Barbaresco Riserva DOCG San Cristoforo 2015

This nebbiolo in the Barbaresco Riserva category goes for broke, pressed to find the fulsome glycerin that is entirely vintage possible. Extracted in tow are volatile and woolly characters with the present tense ability to infiltrate and distract. Time will act as catalyst to link the moving parts and give Neive life to what is at current a dry and tannic finish. Drink 2022-2027.  Tasted January 2020

The sense of place is clearly in with a jig of fruit that whispers Martinenga in Barbaresco. Wears a fine-knitted woolly cap and wraps up red fruit in a fine tannic sweater. Well-delineated from a generous vintage with the sort of bone structure and taut flesh that will withstand and bask in comfort through many cold winters. Drink 2022-2030.  Tasted January 2020

Masseria’s Alessandro Giordano and Gurvinder Bhatia

Retrospective Barbaresco DOCG 2007 ++ (15 reviews)

Masseria Barbaresco DOCG Montersino 2015

From the brothers Giordano, Stefano and Alessandro in San Rocco frazione and only 8,000 bottles produced. Spent 12-18 months in (30 per cent new) barriques and grandi botti. Almost oily rich, certainly luxurious with the blood orange notation. Nicely balanced, thoughtfully pressed and a joy to drink. Proper tannins speak for the site which makes this nebbiolo a representative of place and the youthful presence of its then 10 year-old vines. Drink 2020-2024.  Tasted January 2020

Pertinace Barbaresco DOCG Nervo 2009

Vigneto Nervo is south facing on blue clay in Treiso and here 11 years on this is no longer tense and nervous as it surely once was. Still nervy to be sure and from a big vintage. Generous red fruit with more than many shakes of spice and an almost dried balsamic wooden note. Wholly unique aromatic profile. Must be the compact blue clay we’re smelling. The silky palate texture tells us we’re right in the window. Last tasted at Ristorante Luna in Sinio, January 2020

A tight, saliva-sucking, bone dry, ossified, ferric Nebbiolo. Just two sips and my tongue and gums feel like a lorry has run over them. That and the crimson smell of climbing roses. Classic really.  Tasted September 2013

Adriano Marco E Vittorio Barbaresco DOCG Sanadaive 2007 ($26.45)

At 13 this Sendaive nebbiolo out of Alba has put in the work and the time, now quiet and rested. Must have been a raging one in its day because the residual volatility is present albeit rendered and flaccid now. Now all chocolate and vanilla so in other words, wood. Drink 2020.  Tasted January 2020

Cascina Luisin Barbaresco DOCG Rabajà 2007

Quite advanced Rabajà having taken all the steps necessary to travel through the portal into tertiary character. The secondary Barbaresco stage is but a faint glimmer in the rear-view mirror. It’s all milk chocolate wafers and milk now. The late bites are wood spice, not acidity. Drink 2020.  Tasted January 2020

Castello Di Neive Santo Stefano Albesani Barbaresco DOCG 2007 ($44.95)

The fruit has vacated the Neive premises leaving wood, alcohol and mineral smells to keep the nebbiolo faith alive. Was and persists as an earthy soul with old-school and big barrel ideals in all its former glory. Drink 2020-2021.  Tasted January 2020

Cortese Giuseppe Barbaresco DOCG Rabajà 2007 ($46.95)

Advanced and chocolate-filled, red fruit still juicy and thriving, acidity too. Tannins mostly resolved but still holding the fort. Solid Rabajà 2007 from Barbaresco to be sure. Drink 2020-2023.  Tasted January 2020

Paitin Barbaresco DOCG Sorì Paitin Serraboella 2007

Amazingly characterful Neive-Sorì Paitin Serraboella nebbiolo, with a pronounced note of Brettanomyces mixing with the dried fruit and mineral salts. Would peg it for older than 2007 aromatically speaking but palate wise it still crackles and pulses with life. Drink 2020-2022.  Tasted January 2020

Pelissero Pasquale Barbaresco DOCG Bricco San Giuliano 2007

Quite the quiet, soft and sultry nebbiolo with fruit very much intact. This is a warm 2007 that did not get under the covers and saw a Bricco San Giuliano stay away from overheating. Plenty of chocolate here and lots of life left to live and give. The Neive Pelissero heyday incarnate for Barbaresco and 2007. Drink 2020-2024.  Tasted January 2020

Pelissero Barbaresco DOCG Nubiola 2007 ($45.95)

Nubiola out of Treiso is showing some age here with acids still raging and a candied sweetness to the aromas. Not nearly as expressive on the palate but when you think about the vintage and the age it still shines with as much happiness as you’d hope it would. Drink 2020-2022.  Tasted January 2020

Poderi Colla Roncaglie Barbaresco DOCG 2007 ($50.00)

Colla’s 2007 Roncaglie saw a great compliment of wood, that much can be true in a 12.5 year later assessment. The fruit and the thrill are gone with the barrel and the cool savour stringing it out. Quite easy, amenable and one of the better food Barbaresco nebbiolo in this 2007 retrospective. So it’s got that going for it, which is nice. Drink 2020-2021.  Tasted January 2020

Produttori Dei Barbaresco Barbaresco DOCG 2007 ($41.95)

A wee hint of mephitic reduction is maintained in this earthy, salt of the land nebbiolo from the great Barbaresco cooperative. Still showing its tannic teeth and elevating fruit up along with the high-toned character. The finish is like a Piedmontese chocolate and hazelnut torte. Drink 2020-2023.  Tasted January 2020

Punset Barbaresco DOCG 2007 ($55.95)

Wildly aromatic, in a terrific window to check out the progress and clearly a top cru for nebbioplo from Neive in 2007. Which tells us Basarin is always a top cru. All have come to play and join the serious fun; fruit, nuts, wild shrubs and herbs, but also things toasted, charred, roasted and seared. All the while keeping a coolness and a winter savoury character to match the natural and honest personality it just feels so comfortable in display. Drink 2020-2027.  Tasted January 2020

Rizzi Barbaresco DOCG Pajoré 2007

Pajoré from Rizzi is youthful to bely the 12 and a half years it has spent in its vessels. The notes of cherry are joined by a pinot noir like cola in Treiso nebbiolo clothing. Acids are still string and in charge while tannins are the ones to have softened. Spectacular look back in retrospection that I would wish upon everyone to have and enjoy. Drink 2020-2026.  Tasted January 2020

Socrè Barbaresco DOCG Roncaglie 2007 ($50.00)

Pretty much what you might and want to expect from 2007 Barbaresco tasted in 2020. High-toned, fruit a mix of fresh and dry, acids in total control. Impressive Roncaglie that leaves a lasting impression. Drink 2020-2024.  Tasted January 2020

Punset Barbaresco DOCG Campo Quadro Riserva 2005 ($71.95)

Highly complex Neive Barbaresco from Marina Marcarino’s Campo Quadro with age fully engaged but also on its side. The tones, bones and fleshy substance all show off their balance and their agility. Wise? Sure. Fortuitous? Maybe. Proper? Exactly. Drink 2020-2026.  Tasted January 2020

Tenute Cisa Asinari Barbaresco Riserva DOCG Camp Gros 2005 ($104.00)

A bit of a demurred Barbaresco here from Camp Gros and yet the fruit has surely lasted without too much stress or effort. Crunchy and a touch earthy, quite floral and really elegant. Lovely at 14 years-old. Drink 2020-2024.  Tasted January 2020

Good to go!

godello

Flying in to Pi-e-mon-te

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