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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.

My 1st meeting with Aldo

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

Asili

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.

Ovello

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.

Montefico

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.

Rabajà

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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About the Wines

Produttori del Barbaresco, Asili, Barbaresco Riserva 2005

From one of the top crus of Barbaresco, though one with multiple aspects.

93/100 Points

“The 2005 Barbaresco Riserva Asili is sweet, sensual and perfumed. For now, the wine remains extremely reticent, but the tannins show extraordinary purity and silkiness, suggesting the only thing missing is time. The 2005 Asili shows great integrity in its dark red fruit, with notable persistence on the palate and a round, powerful close.”

Antonio Galloni

Produttori del Barbaresco, Asili, Barbaresco Riserva 2009

92/100 Points

“The 2009 Barbaresco Riserva Asili blossoms on the palate with lovely depth and richness. The fine Asili tannins are there, as the fruit shows its depth and roundness. The style is soft, supple and generous. The suave Asili personality comes through, but the pure excitement of the best vintages proves to be elusive. A generous, caressing finish rounds things out nicely.”

Antonio Galloni

Produttori del Barbaresco, Montefico, Barbaresco Riserva 2005

From a south-facing site, but one which acts as a corridor for winds from the river which head towards Neive.

93/100 Points

“The 2005 Barbaresco Riserva Montefico is simply beautiful in the way it combines elements of florality and structure, which makes it one of the more complex, multi-faceted wines in 2005. Sweet roses blossom on the palate, followed by succulent ripe raspberries, mint and baking spices. As the wine sits in the glass the layers continue to fill out, revealing a wine of first-class pedigree. This is an exceptional effort from the Produttori!”

Antonio Galloni

Produttori del Barbaresco, Montefico, Barbaresco Riserva 2007

93/100 Points

“The 2007 Barbaresco Riserva Montefico is all about energy and sheer power. The Montefico is quite virile, even in this vintage, with a certain austerity in the tannin that will require time in bottle to soften. Dark red fruit, leather, anise and spices are some of the notes that wrap around the insistent, pointed finish. There is plenty of nuance here, but not the early appeal of the year. This is a great showing, but readers will need to be patient.”

Antonio Galloni

Produttori del Barbaresco, Ovello, Barbaresco Riserva 2005

Ovello combines the best qualities of Montefico and Montestefano. Historically, Ovello was named after a winery that used to be called ‘Aloello’. It faces west, south west and is the most northern of all the vineyards and sits at 290 meters. It renders more balanced tannin and extremely delicious earthiness. The winery’s classic Barbaresco is sourced primarily from Ovello.

92+/100 Points

“The 2005 Barbaresco Riserva Ovello is usually one of the more reticent of the estate’s Riservas, but in 2005 it is especially unyielding. Still firm and tightly wound, the wine possesses notable detail and clarity in its fruit in a focused, compact style. Based on previous experience, I may very well be underestimating this wine, but only time will tell for sure. After several hours the Ovello opened up nicely and my impression is it will develop into a splendid Barbaresco with time.”

Antonio Galloni

Produttori del Barbaresco, Ovello, Barbaresco Riserva 2009

93/100 Points

“The 2009 Barbaresco Riserva Ovello is one of the more detailed, vibrant wines in this range. Sweet dark red cherries, mint, pine, graphite and crushed flowers all take shape in the glass. The typical high-toned Ovello bouquet, slightly firm tannins and energy are all there, making this one of the more site-specific of the 2009 Riservas. In 2009, the Ovello is a bit more accessible than it usually is, even if I don’t quite find the visceral thrill of the very best years.”

Antonio Galloni

Produttori del Barbaresco, Rabajà, Barbaresco Riserva 2009

Rabajà is often considered as potentially the greatest Barbaresco site of all: a long, sinuous ridge line which begins with a roasted amphitheatre above Martinenga, limestone percentages in the marly soils vary here to great effect. This is the historic part of the Rabaja’ subzone. It is south-west facing overall. Rabaja’ is one of the best-known and most celebrated vineyards in Barbaresco, so much so, that, Bruno Giacosa recently bought a parcel, release 2013 as the 1st vintage.

94+/100 Points

Dark cherries, menthol, cloves, cinnamon and leather wrap around the palate in the 2009 Barbaresco Riserva Rabajà. A rich, layered, enveloping wine, the Rabajà is a wine that shows plenty of character and personality. Deep, implosive and full of personality, the Rabajà is another wine that delivers tons of character, class and personality.

Antonio Galloni

Intense

Rich, long core of fruit with supple tannins, this is a cracking Rabajà, made with great skill. Packed with personality, the layers of complexity are incredibly inviting. Just starting to head into the drinking window (tasted 2017) it's still got years ahead of it. Pure & delicious!

Paul Kaan