50 families. 250 acres. 1 wine.
The years following World War II were hard, arduous years for many Italians. Jobs were scarce, the country was torn to tatters in many regions and making a living was about banding together as a community with one purpose; survival. They say necessity is the mother of invention. In the case of the Produttori del Barbaresco, it was a way to put food on the table. Started by a priest in 1958, the coop we know today resulted from nineteen small family growers who realized they didn’t own enough land to farm independently and earn a living. One by one they banded together for a greater common purpose and now today, the 50 families that grow grapes for the Produttori del Barbaresco stretch back three generations.
Those early vintages of Barbaresco were produced in the basement of the Church whose very own priest organized the initial collaboration. Previously, grapes from Barbaresco were sold to neighboring Barolo producers to be bottled as Nebbiolo del Barbaresco. However, it was soon realized that despite the close proximity of the two areas, Nebbiolo grown in Barbaresco has distinct differences from Nebbiolo grown in Barolo. A new wine was born in the basement of that church and slowly, the Cantine di Sociali evolved into the Produttori del Barbaresco.
Today, the coop owns parcels of 9 distinct vineyards, some of which stand among the best site names in the appellation. Vigneto Ovello is the Produttori’s single biggest holding, with 50 acres. Each year, if vintage conditions merit, the coop bottles each vineyard separately as a Riserva. Fruit that is not of optimal quality is held back and blended to form the coops “tan label” Barbaresco.
Today we’re looking at the latest release from the Cantina, the 2013 Barbaresco.
Sourced from vineyards throughout the DOCG zone, the 2013 was vinified in stainless steel tanks and then refined in a combination of large botte and medium sized tonneaux for approximately 24 months. We did not decant the wine.
In the glass, the wine is a bright medium ruby color with violet reflections. Pretty aromas dot the nose and lead to cherry, spice, menthol and soft floral notes. On the palate, this is fresh and medium bodied at most with fennel, red fruits and warm spice. Straightforward and simple, this wouldn’t make a name for the appellation of its own merits, but it was a good foil for a simple roasted chicken. The white label Riservas are much better wines than this tan label normale. However, the value and early accessibility are present here. Readers should take note: In years when the Consortium deems the fruit not good enough to produce the range of white label riservas, this tan label wine receives all the declassified fruit and is markedly better in quality. (i.e. 2012 being one such vintage) 87 points. About $24-$28.
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