The wines of Produttori del Barbaresco were my first introduction to Barbaresco. The good bit was being introduced to a producer that is now a staple in my cellar. The bad bit was all of the lesser Barbaresco I tried after that. They had set the bar high!
Barbaresco is often considered the poor cousin to Barolo. That it certainly is not! The benefit for us is the marketing hype around Barolo which is often deserved and sometimes not help keep prices of Barbaresco reasonable. Prodottori produces what are undoubtedly some of the best value Barbarescos available today.
Aldo Vacca has deftly brought the Produttori del Barbaresco into modern times while making subtle changes to farming and winemaking yet maintaining the traditional style that has made this coop so adored by its rabidly loyal fan base. The changes at Produttori have been gradual to the degree they aren’t always so noticeable, but they are there. No one knows every nook and cranny of Barbaresco better than Aldo Vacca, but Vacca has also proven to be incredibly wise in making choices that have positioned the Produttori for much continued success in the future. I can’t think of too many wines that deliver this much pleasure and value. Antonio Galloni
The Cru’s / Single Vineyards
Vineyard size: 2.28 ha Exposure: South West Elevation: 230 – 290 metres.
This spectacular vineyard has created in the past some of the greatest Barbaresco and it has a strong following all over the world. The main part of the Asili vineyard is a protected bowl facing South/West, next to Pora, but farther away from the river and the valley influence, with warmer and less breezy microclimate during most of the summer. To the East, Asili ends with a bricco, top of the hill, also facing South/West and with a similar soil composition, bordering Rabajà. The wine is intense, certainly not a full bodied Barbaresco, but nevertheless showing a very imposing personality. Usually quite closed in its youth it opens up slowly with impeccable complexity and style; a classic Barbaresco, and also one of the most distinctive vineyards of the region. First produced as a single vineyard in 1967.
Vineyard size: 20.3 ha Exposure: South West and South East Elevation: 250 – 320 metres
Ovello is the northernmost vineyard in the village of Barbaresco, higher in elevation and dropping down in an abrupt 90 metres from a bluff. It is a relatively large area with a number of subzones with West and East exposure, all sharing a similar calcareous soils rich in clay. The higher percentage of clay and the cooler microclimate give the Ovello its exuberant and youthful quality in the fruit and its fuller body, which defines its distinctive personality. Explosive fruit on the palate and firm, sometimes rough tannins on the finish, these wines always bring a lot of joy to the palate and deliver powerful structure that needs some years of bottle ageing to balance out. Domizio Cavazza had vineyards in Ovello (and Pora) when he started producing Barbaresco in 1894. It was also among the first 5 vineyards produced as single vineyard by Produttori in 1967. Fruit from Ovello also commands the largest percentage in the Barbaresco classic wine.
Vineyard size: 3.86 ha Exposure: Sud / Sud-Est Elevation: 230 – 260 metres
A not widely known vineyard, yet highly sought after by the Barbaresco aficionados. It is often compared to the slightly larger and more famous Montestefano vineyard because of the similar soil (high calcium) and close proximity between the two. It lays half way between the Montestefano and the Ovello. Exposure is full South, therefore quite warm, but it is not unusual for Montefico to have brisk morning hours during the growing season because of the cooler northern wind that occasionally funnels in from the Tanaro River and into the narrow valley between the villages of Barbaresco and Neive. Austere when young and somehow less fleshy than Montestefano, it shows a beautiful mineral finish. It produces wines with the breed of any classic Barbaresco and with incredible complexity behind the tannins. First vintage released was 1970.
Vineyard size: 3.7 ha Exposure: South West Elevation: 240 – 300 metres Vineyard
Rabajà produces a quintessential Barbaresco, one of the most complete and balanced of the single vineyards. The vineyard lays at the conjunction of the two main ridges that form the Barbaresco village, one starting at Rabajà and going West towards the Tanaro River (with progressively less calcium and higher fertility in the soil) and the other one that goes from Rabajà to Ovello, South to North (with higher calcium content in the soil).
The meeting of these two different soils give to Rabajà its incredible complexity. Bordering both Asili and Muncagota it combines the personality of those two great vineyards with and extra richness due to the South/West warm exposure. First produced as a single vineyard in 1971.
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