~ Sloping Vineyards in Barbaresco ~

In “Italian wine circles”, and you can conjur up an image of a definition for that term, there is one discussion that is certain to raise the hackles of the “purists” and that is traditional versus avant garde Nebbiolo. 

Now, I’ve never really cared much for the debate.  I am fortunate enough to appreciate and enjoy wines from both styles.  I can equally love B. Mascarello and Scavino.  G. Conterno and an example like today’s wine, Moccagatta.  I was never invested emotionally in the debate; I just want to drink good wine.  

One of the main criticisms that is leveled against the “new wave” producers is that the wines won’t age as well as their traditionally made counterparts. Well, if today’s wine is a fair example to cite, I say again – hooey!  

The Moccagatta estate is a tiny slice of Piedmontese heaven.  With just 11 hectares under vine in the towns of Barbaresco and Nieve,  Franco and Sergio Minuto lovingly create Barbaresco from three separate Cru’s; Basarin, Bric Balin, and Cole.  Each is vinified separately to enhance the terroir of each vineyard and all three vineyards are treated organically.  Today’s article is on the former. 

The 1996 Barbaresco “Basarin” is oddly considered to be the earliest maturing of the three Cru’s but if that’s the case, then this range of Barbaresco has long lives ahead.  Basarin comes from vineyards near Nieve, and has always been a favorite Barbaresco of mine because the vineyard was planted in 1968, my birth year. 

The wine was decanted for 60 minutes and a large coffee grind like sediment was removed. In the decanter the wine appears darker than the deep ruby it clearly is in the glass.  Aromas are classic, prevalent.  There’s a broad array of floral elements, roses & lavendar that reminds me of those ethereal British tea and soap stores that dot Covent Garden on London’s West End.  These notes wonderfully surround the deep anise laced core of crushed red fruits.  On the palate, the wine is an elegant, concentrated display of red fruits, ripe fennel, spices and newly turned earth. The tannins are sweet and ripe, yet they’re still noticeable and although this is drinking beautifully right now, it can still be held.  This is powerful, yet displays that sense of femininity that Barbaresco often achieves in contrast to it’s more powerful Nebbiolo brother, Barolo.  It’s what I love about the appellation.  Perhaps to a lesser observer, this distinction might be missed.  But as has been said by Kings and Queens,  I am not a lesser observer. 

93 points.  About $34 on release.  Recent vintages are available for around $40.  

~ Barbaresco Cru Basarin from Moccagatta ~

Merry Christmas!

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