Barbaresco: Fruity summer wine

Scott Rutkowski

June 08 2015 - 1:00 PM

With Bordeaux prices soaring and Burgundy living on its exalted reputation, Barolo has become the “it” wine for people who want big, elegant wines that are fantastic with age and a better value than their French counterparts. The thing is, Barolo’s next door neighbor makes just as good, and in some cases better wine, usually coming with a cheaper price tag.

Barbaresco has always played second fiddle to Barolo. With trailblazers like Angelo Gaja and Bruno Giacosa raising the profile of the region, a bevy of fine producers are now showcasing their wines to a wider audience.

Produttori del Barbaresco shows that the word co-op does not need to be looked down upon in the wine world, especially when that co-op occupies some of the best vineyards in the world. The Produttori was founded in poverty in 1958 when a parish priest organized 19 growers to make wine communally. Over time, the Produttori grew to over 60 members with vines in Rabaja, Asili, and Ovello.

 

The primary fermentation is 18-21 days long with aging up to three years in botti (usually barrels four times the size of barriques). Such techniques produce gloriously transparent wines that gives the drinker a sense of not only the physical terroir, but also of the time and emotion of the area.

 

Produttori del Barbaresco is the perfect first step into this region and is readily available in the Chicago area. Their 2009 vintage is finally starting to open up as well and is ready to drink now. Barolo has more power and structure; Barbaresco is more about refinement and elegance and this wine is showing just that.

 

Aromas of bright cherry, licorice, strawberries, and herbal aromas highlight this fragrant wine. Silky with fine tannins for support this wine surprises the drinker a little on the back end with notes of dried mint and cured meats.

 

Though Barbaresco is smaller than Barolo (Barbaresco has four communes to Barolo’s eleven) and is looked at as the poorer, cheaper, less-quality driven neighbor, the effect of climate change and world class producers means these wines now have a riper flavor while still maintaining their trademark elegance. It is now time for the wine world to take notice and embrace their queen.

 

(Drink from 2015-2025)

 

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