2016 TASTING AT PRODUTTORI DEL BARBARESCO WITH ALDO VACCA
Over the lunch and during our tasting we had talked about the Riserva vintages for Produttori.
Aldo had talked about 2016 so far for Produttori, saying there had been heavy rains in June and some hail recently. He said that the season was late starting and that there was uneven shoot growth (this was 20 June), but that the season was now catching up. As always, of course, he said that 15 August to 15 October 2016 will be the key dates ...
Aldo talked about his Riserva vintages:
2007-2011: He said that the 2007s were similar to the 2009s, being more accessible, earlier drinking wines than the more backward, structured 2008 Crus. He said 2009 was in some ways similar to 2011, but that the 2011s had extra fruit and were more lifted than the more austere 2009s. Personally, in terms of quality, I'd rate the recent Produttori Riserva vintages in this order: 2008, 2007, 2011 and 2009 (not that there's anything wrong with 2009s, as a more forward vintage ...).
2012: Riservas were not made because the "Crus did not have sufficiently intense, distinct personalities (they were too similar), so we just made the Normale". Aldo repeated what he has told me previously: "Our limit on the Crus is keeping the basic wine okay. I could double the Crus in volume but the Normale would suffer too much". In vintages when Riservas are made, SV grapes do still make up half of the Normale. Aldo will not make Crus in a vintage like 2010 to protect the quality of the Normale, which is Produttori's key wine.
2013: Riservas will be released between October 2016 and January 2017. The 2013 Crus are very good, in my opinion, based on two sets of barrel tastings, probably better than the 2011s. Aldo described the 2013 Riservas as (very approximately) a cross between the 2004s and 2005s (which sounds pretty good to me!).
2014: Riservas will be released in January 2019. Aldo was at pains to distinguish 2014 Barbareschi from Baroli, saying that Barbaresco produced many good wines in 2014 ("Just as good as 2013" said Aldo). From the Muncagota and Rabajà we tasted, and the 2014s we tasted at Bruno Rocca, I'd believe that ...
2015: Riservas will be made. Aldo described the SVs as being more like 2011s in character, than 2013s or 2014s.
- 2013 Produttori del Barbaresco Barbaresco - Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barbaresco
This wine had been less than three months in bottle. Aldo described 2013 as "Just as good in Barbaresco as in Barolo". He noted that the grapes had ripened well by the end of the season and characterised the vintage as having great aromatics. Stick your nose in this and you'll agree: an attractive bouquet of meadow flowers, spices, raspberries, red cherries and other red fruited aromas. On palate, I preferred the 2013 to the recent 2012 Normale I drank ... It has glossy, bright, succulent red fruit, but they have retained good freshness and acidity. It's well balanced without the extra alcohol you might find in a 2011. "A classic vintage" said Aldo.
- 2011 Produttori del Barbaresco Barbaresco Riserva Montefico - Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barbaresco
At a recent 2011 Riserva horizontal I said we'd been surprised and disappointed by the Montefico, but wondered if it had totally shut down or was just a bad bottle. Aldo opened a bottle that showed that our previous bottle was indeed bad in some way ... On bouquet, dark florals and black fruit with that telltale Montefico minerals and chalk. In the mouth, it is a little closed. Aldo agreed: "Very intense, less open than some, very vertical". Fresher and more lively than the most recent bottle. A little tight, but precise and persistent. Some apparent sweetness to the tannins ("I love the bright 2011 tannins" said Aldo). Good length. Excellent! Give it 3+ years.
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- 2013 Produttori del Barbaresco Barbaresco Riserva Muncagota - Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barbaresco
A nose of cacao and dark chocolate, perfumed and earthy. On palate, instantly not an '11, without that fruit sweetness. Very dark fruited and chocolatey with soil and underbrush and big, grippy tannins on the back.
- 2013 Produttori del Barbaresco Barbaresco Riserva Pajé - Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barbaresco
Like the Ovello, Aldo noted that in his view this Cru is being improved by global warming ... On bouquet, red berries and red rose perfume. On entry to the palate, very pure, clean and precise with pine needles, raspberries, red cherries and other red fruit. Again, the prominent tannins exert their influence across the mid and back palate.
- 2013 Produttori del Barbaresco Barbaresco Riserva Ovello - Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barbaresco
A darker fruit spectrum on the nose, showing lots of spice and some dried herbs and earth. A more imposing, fuller wine on the palate, darker fruited with that earthiness. Less elegant than the Pajé, powerful, dense and chewy. A serious, structured wine with a real tannic grip. Very long. Potentially very good.
- 2013 Produttori del Barbaresco Barbaresco Riserva Rabajà - Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barbaresco
Here's a comparison! A gorgeous, bright and expressive bouquet of black cherries and other dark fruit, dark florals and spices. On palate, slinky, sexy with very fine grained tannins. Satin texture. Packed with black cherry and black berry fruit. Bright and energetic, with excellent acidity. Well balanced and long. At its core, pure, closed and austere. Potentially excellent.
- 2013 Produttori del Barbaresco Barbaresco Riserva Montefico - Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barbaresco
Complex and expressive aromatics. Dark cherries, black liquorice, graphite and rocky minerals on bouquet. Detailed and complex on palate with black fruit, truffle, dark soil, carbon, liquorice and chalky minerals. Again, poised and balanced, with good acids and fine, spherical tannins. Linear and long. Again, potentially excellent.
- 2013 Produttori del Barbaresco Barbaresco Riserva Asili - Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barbaresco
Harder to get an idea from a brief taste here. More subdued aromatics. On palate too, seeming a more subtle wine. Elegant and refined. Very closed and tight. Seemingly well balanced and proportioned, in terms of tannins and acids. The impression of plenty of power held in reserve.
- 2014 Produttori del Barbaresco Barbaresco Riserva Muncagota - Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barbaresco
We jumped across to taste a 2014 with Aldo making the point that in his view 2014 is just as good as 2013 in Barbaresco ("with more of a floral character"). Here however the bouquet and palate were pretty closed showing red fruit, savoury and forest floor elements, with earth and a little espresso. Slightly medicinal but with good volume and acids. Hard to draw any conclusion from this taste ...
- 2013 Produttori del Barbaresco Barbaresco Riserva Rio Sordo - Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barbaresco
Back to a 2013 botti, a more giving, expressive bouquet of apparently sweeter redcurrants, raspberries, red plums and flowers. Also expressive, rich and floral on palate. Not overly sweet, but certainly generous and open, red fruited. Rounded and medium weight. The puckering tannins on exit were a real surprise! Better than the 2011 Rio Sordo, I thought.
- 2014 Produttori del Barbaresco Barbaresco Riserva Rabajà - Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barbaresco
And perhaps the wine of the tasting (competing with the 2013 Rabajà) to finish! Seeming an even more expressive bouquet of dark cherries and berries, black spices and dark florals than the 2013. Silky black cherries, blackberries and espresso. Also a savoury, forest floor character Aldo described as typical '14 in Barbaresco. All the elements you need here, a potentially superb wine. Aldo compared the wine with the 2004 Rabajà.