This installment of CellarNotes focuses on one of the prominent “avant garde” producers that emerged from Piemonte over the last 20 years thanks to the export king, Marc de Grazia.  Paitin had been a grape grower for decades, previously selling their fruit to other prominent producers, but that changed with de Grazia’s help. 

The 1996 Paitin “Sori Paitin” is a fully mature, elegant lady of a Barbaresco.  I remember when many of these similar arrivals showed up on the market, Barolo and Barbaresco purists wondered if they would age like classically, traditionally crafted Nebbiolo.  Some do, some don’t – and while this one is delicious today, I don’t think it will show as well in another 5 or 10 years. 
In the glass, it’s a pretty, deep brick red with slight orange hues to the rim.  The aroma is filled with orange rind, cherries, anise and earth. It’s not as intense as the vintage might suggest, but it’s got nice persistence and complexity.  In the mouth the wine is all Barbaresco.  There’s a core of cherry fruit, with cured meat, citrus, mushroom, anise and flowers. Slight leather toward the finish provides a rustic feel. Tannins are fully resolved.
For me, this is at peak and I wouldn’t hold it any longer.  Elegant, feminine, and balanced.  Like a soft, worn leather bomber jacket.  92 points, about $32 upon release. 

Sori Paitin Barbaresco 1996
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