Produttori del Barbaresco is a benchmark producer of Nebbiolo and one of the world’s great co-operative winemakers. Reformed in 1958 following decades, the revived Cantina Sociale comprised 19 families who banded together to survive, making the first three vintages in a church basement before moving across the street to their current location. Today they are owned by 51 families and are the single most important producer of Nebbiolo in the world.
Dedicated to making only Nebbiolo, the co-operative also insists that if you sell them any grapes, then you must sell them all of your grapes – none can be kept back to make an own label or super cuvee. It means that this Barbaresco producer is a reference point for the style, and a beacon of value and quality.
The Riservas are only made in great years and when they decide to make them then all 9 of the cru sites are made separately. These are sourced from the 9 classic sites within the Barbaresco village boundaries. This case includes one bottle of each of the Cru and comes in a beautiful, wooden presentation box. 2014 has been hailed as triumph for Barbaresco where the Summer was challengingly damp and cool before turning into one of the sunniest and driest Autumns on record. With so much key ripening achieved during warm, dry days and cool nights the wines are bracing with freshness and intensity and have wonderful persistence. These will age well for a decade at least.
'Piedmont fans will want to be on the lookout for the 2014 Riservas from Produttori del Barbaresco when they are released later this year. I can't think of too many wines that offer this level of quality for what remain incredibly fair prices. Managing Director Aldo Vacca told me the 2014 harvest stretched from October 8 to 24, which is very late by present day standards. The 2014 Riservas are dark, potent and built for aging. The 2014s spent about five weeks on the skins, including ten days of submerged cap maceration. Malolactic fermentations took place in steel and the wines were aged in cask. In many years, this range includes one or two slight underperformers, but in 2014, the wines are superb across the board. Some will drink well earlier than others, of course, but this is one of the most consistently outstanding set of Riservas I can remember tasting here. Antonio Galloni - Vinous'
Pajé - in the heart of the village, south-west facing amphitheatre, noted for its spice and tight, elegant structure and background of floral whispers. Beams of minerality and salinity cut through a core of dense, dark fruit in the 2014 Barbaresco Riserva Pajè. Deeply pitched and tannic, the 2014 is a super-classic, youthfully austere Barbaresco that is going to need time to be at its best. Readers should expect a firm, structured Barbaresco. The finish alone is striking. Crushed rocks, minerals, sage and lavender add nuance to this chiseled, finely sculpted Barbaresco. Readers who can find it should not hesitate. Galloni - 96
Muncagota - close to Paje but higher and facing southeast, this is extremely elegant and supple with pinpoint balance and a waft of characteristic mint. The 2014 Barbaresco Riserva Muncagota is another of the overachievers in this range. White pepper, bright red cherry, floral notes and mint cut through the fruit in this beautifully vivid, crystalline Barbaresco. There is a level of energy, drive and overall nuance in the 2014 I don't recall having seen in the past. The 2014 is a terrific Muncagota. Galloni - 94
Pora - close to the river Tanaro and low in altitude, the warm meso-climate gives this a softness and approachability and a rich, earthy substance to the finish. The 2014 Barbaresco Riserva Pora is a dark, sensual beauty. Deeply spiced and balsamic, with tremendous textural richness, the Pora is utterly beguiling. I can't remember a Pora with this much depth, textural resonance and brooding intensity. The 2014 needs at least a few years to be at its best, but it is superb even in the early going. I won't be surprised if the 2014 turns out to be better than this note suggests. Galloni - 94
Rio Sordo - also low altitude, but further away from the river than Pora with a southerly aspect. The limestone content gives this a soft, supple feel that is gorgeous in its youth. The 2014 Barbaresco Riserva Rio Sordo is the most open-knit and easygoing of these Riservas. Creamy and giving, the Rio Sordo is one of the more available of the Riservas in the early going, an impression that is reinforced by its mid-weight structure. Perfumed floral notes add lift to the dark, red-toned fruit. Galloni - 93
Asili - one of Barbaresco's greatest sites, this faces southwest but is away from the river with warm days and cooler nights. A wine of impeccable presence and personality, these age spectacularly well. The 2014 Barbaresco Riserva Asili is somber and dense in this vintage. Silky Asili tannins bring out the wine's voluptuousness and soft contours. Dark red cherry and plum fruit show some of the typical Asili sensuality, but the 2014 is a powerhouse that is going to need time to come around. In 2014, Asili is unusually – almost uncharacteristically – austere. Galloni - 96
Rabajà - one of the most complete Barbarescos with a soil profile from west to east of increasing limestone, giving this wine magnificent complexity and richness. The 2014 Barbaresco Riserva Rabajà is powerful, dense and explosive, with tremendous intensity of fruit and structure. The Rabajà is dark and potent – as all these wines are – but the tannins and acids give the wine considerable tension and energy. The Rabajà is a powerful, towering wine endowed with massive structure and intensity to burn. Like so many of these wines, the Rabajà is somber and brooding in feel. Galloni - 96
Montefico - a small site in the north of the village that faces due south, gathering warmth, but exposed to cool northern winds. This is bright and mineral Barbaresco that is highly sought after by aficionados. The 2014 Barbaresco Riserva Montefico is another of the more inward, reticent wines in the range. A core of huge dark fruit virtually covers the beams of incisive tannin that are such a signature of this Barbaresco site. Dark red plum, chalk, cured meats, plum, iron, smoke, leather and licorice confer attractive elements of savoriness to this potent, structured Barbaresco. Galloni - 95+
Ovello - the most northern vineyard at high elevation facing the river, this is a large cru with multiple exposures and facets. The wine is truly complex but austere and closed in its youth. With age its possessed of great perfume and elegance, a real collector's wine. The 2014 Barbaresco Riserva Ovello is bright and piercing, as it so often is, and yet it also has more than enough fruit to fill out its mid-weight, energetic frame. Pine, mint, crushed rocks and sweet red plum build into the huge, piercing finish. The Ovello is another wine in this range that demands patience. Even in the early going it is super impressive. The 2014 s an unusually dense, packed Ovello. It should be terrific in another few years' time. Galloni - 95
Montestefano - a limestone-rich site yielding abundant tannins, and a rich decadent profile thanks to its southern exposition. A monster in waiting and one of the last to be picked, it sometimes looks more like Barolo with loads of rose and liquorice complementing the deep-seated red fruits. Worth a few years in the cellar. One of the many highlights in this range, the Barbaresco Riserva Montestefano is superb. A big enrobing wine, the Montestefano wraps around the palate with stunning depth. Today, the Montestefano is utterly embryonic, and yet it exudes depth, resonance and pure class. The Montestefano is one of the more complete wines in the range because of the way it deftly balances fruit intensity and structure. Readers will have to be patient, though. Galloni - 95+
Vinification is the same as for the standard Barbaresco and Langhe Nebbiolo. Fermentation up to 30C for 4 weeks, then long ageing in large, old oak vats for 3 years then 6 months in bottle before release.
Origin: Barbaresco / Piemonte / Italy