TN: Side-by-side tasting of all nine Produttori crus in 2011

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John Morris
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TN: Side-by-side tasting of all nine Produttori crus in 2011

#1 Post by John Morris » November 11th, 2016, 4:36 pm

One of my groups tasted all nine Produttori di Barbaresco single-vineyard bottlings from 2011 this week.

They showed very well, with the Pora a standout, far ahead in the group's ranking. The Paje’ in second place was well ahead of the rest, and the Rabaja’, 3rd, was out ahead of the rest, which were tightly bunched.

The wines were poured into unmarked bottles for serving about an hour ahead. Some changed noticeably with air, but overall I’d say there was less change in the glass than I expected. They were tasted over 90+ minutes.

I’ve been a little unsure what to make of the 2011s. When the same group tasted ’11 Barolos last December, they were sort of meh. And tasting in Piemonte in August and September I felt some of the ‘11s lacked a little structure.

Some people felt Barbaresco fared better in this warm year, though, and the results here are certainly consistent with that theory. The Produttoris had ample tannin and acid, plus good fruit concentration in most cases. With the right foods, these are all drinkable now, but plainly have the structure to go for many years.

Of course, the differences here were subtle as the winemaking is the same for all nine. We had a small group this week so there was about a third of a bottle of each left over. When I resampled last night, my impressions were largely the same. I’ll taste them again tonight.

I’ve grouped them in bands since it’s kind of meaningless to attempt more precise gradations among such similar wines.

TOP TIER (92 points or more for me)

Asili: I think there was some residue in my glass or something, because I got some burned rubber in the nose which others didn’t get and I didn’t perceive out of others’ glasses – or on day 2. This had hard tannins but opened up with air and came into balance. Still, more tannic than most. At first I gave this 85, but after tasting it from another glass and with more air, I bumped it up to 92. My 9th based on the initial points/group’s 5th

Pora: A sweetness on the nose and floral perfume that reminds me of talcum powder (someone suggested violets). Good grip, a bit riper than some, with excellent fruit concentration. Lots of tanning at the back but enough ripeness that this is pretty drinkable now. My 1st/group’s 1st

Montefico: This was a little more austere at first, a little less ripe than some. But with air it really came together and my score rose from 89 to 92. My 7th based on the initial point score/group’s 4th

Montestefano: Beautiful nebbiolo rose hips on the nose, and ripish fruit. Tannic but enough concentration of fruit to keep it in balance. The fruit was on the riper side. “Oodles of backbone,” I wrote. Great length. My 2nd/group’s 6th/7th (tie)

MIDDLE TIER (90-91 points for me)


Paje’: Some heat on the nose. A tad more feminine and forward than most, but very good structure in the mouth in the finish. My 5th/group’s 2nd [corrected]

Muncagotta: That talcum floral perfume again. Good grip, with ample fruit to back it up. “A touch less ripe, but in a good way,” I wrote. Long, full, concentrated finish. My 4th/group’s 8th

Ovello: Nice nebbiolo scents with a bit of air. A tad less focused – a little less structured than most, though still a lovely wine with good concentration. My 3rd/group’s 6th/7th (tie)

Rabaja’: Lovely rose hips and flowers on the nose. “Lots of power” I wrote, but harder in the mouth, and there was something a wee bit tart on the finish – a greenness I didn’t get in the others. Perhaps this just needs time, but it wasn’t any more giving on day 2, so I’m not sure. Still, not a bad wine. My 6th/group’s 3rd. 90-ish for me.

DISAPPOINTING

Rio Sordo: Decent wine but lacks a little of everything – aromas, fruit and structure. Still the weakest by far on day 2. 86/87 for me. My 8th/group’s 9th. This would have been my ninth had I not initially dinged the Asili.
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TN: Side-by-side tasting of all nine Produttori crus in 2011

#2 Post by D@vid Bu3ker » November 11th, 2016, 4:45 pm

Thanks John.

I have a bunch of the Asili, and my one time drinking it I thought it was really good.
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TN: Side-by-side tasting of all nine Produttori crus in 2011

#3 Post by Anton D » November 11th, 2016, 5:07 pm

Man! That was a great tour of their wines!

Well done, and appreciated.
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#4 Post by Neal.Mollen » November 11th, 2016, 5:11 pm

Thanks. I have all of the 2008s; maybe one day I'll do this with those.
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TN: Side-by-side tasting of all nine Produttori crus in 2011

#5 Post by Sanjay Nandurkar » November 11th, 2016, 6:26 pm

Thanks for the write up.

I have not tasted any 2011 Produttori. Indeed, hardly any Barolo of Barbaresco from that vintage. So it was good to read your take on it.

Just one point. There seems to be a disconnect between your actual scoring/grouping and the summary you wrote at the beginning -where Pora, Paje, and Rabaja were scored 1st, 2nd and 3rd but down in the notes it did not appear so. Am I not reading it correctly?

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#6 Post by Robert Pavlovich » November 11th, 2016, 7:39 pm

Gotta love the tasting on paper, though maybe at an awkward stage for at least a few of them.

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#7 Post by John Morris » November 11th, 2016, 7:44 pm

Sanjay Nandurkar wrote:There seems to be a disconnect between your actual scoring/grouping and the summary you wrote at the beginning -where Pora, Paje, and Rabaja were scored 1st, 2nd and 3rd but down in the notes it did not appear so. Am I not reading it correctly?
It was my mistake in the detailed notes. I corrected it.
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#8 Post by John Morris » November 11th, 2016, 8:08 pm

Incidently, tasting back through them all tonight with a lamb chop, my assessment doesn't really change. I don't think you can go wrong with any of these, except the Rio Sordo. The Rabaja is still a bit of a puzzler. Maybe it's just tauter and less forthcoming. But it seems a tad less ripe -- definitely less accessible now
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#9 Post by Eric S n y d e r » November 11th, 2016, 8:21 pm

Purchased 2 2011 Rabaja today - I'll get back to you in 5 - 10 years with a tasting note!

Thanks for the notes. I was planning on adding 2 Asili, but maybe I'll grab Pora instead.

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#10 Post by john stimson » November 11th, 2016, 8:49 pm

Thanks for doing this, John. Interesting that the Pora wins. Do you think you are grading primarily on how the wine is showing right now, or on estimated quality when more mature?

The Rio Sorda is almost always a distant last for me. I really wonder if they should retire this Riserva and just blend it in with the normale.

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#11 Post by Henry Kahn » November 12th, 2016, 4:09 am

I had the Paje this week and it really opened up on the second night; I wasn't sure what to make of the initial pour To me, very distinctive, balsamic plummy fruit that reminded me of this bruit in the hand of Roagna, the bouquet was somewhat lifted but I didn't find it hot. I was thrilled by the wine on a QPR. I've also enjoyed the Ovello several weeks but agree these wines are best stashed away for future enhjoyment...

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#12 Post by John Morris » November 12th, 2016, 5:36 am

john stimson wrote:Thanks for doing this, John. Interesting that the Pora wins. Do you think you are grading primarily on how the wine is showing right now, or on estimated quality when more mature?
I try to look forward. In this case, the Asili definitely showed more of its potential with time in the glass. The Rabaja didn't. I can't say if it's just a tad less complete or whether it's just a bit of a brute and will need more time in the bottle.
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#13 Post by Anders Westholm » November 12th, 2016, 7:50 am

Thanks for the report John. FWIW, I think the Pora has a reputation for being the most open among the Produttori Riservas at an early stage whereas the Montestfano and Rabajà tend to be the most structured.

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#14 Post by john stimson » November 12th, 2016, 9:24 am

Right. If I had to pick one of the Riservas to try early, Pora is usually a good choice. I don't usually buy it as I prefer some of the other ones (I like the ones that have a little herbal or mint note like Paje and Montefico), so I don't have as many data points. It might be interesting to see how folks rank the riservas in order of preference, although I don't want to sidetrack John's thread.

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#15 Post by John Morris » November 12th, 2016, 9:31 am

john stimson wrote:It might be interesting to see how folks rank the riservas in order of preference, although I don't want to sidetrack John's thread.
That would be interesting. I guess I'd always figured that Rabaja and Asili were at the top, but that may have more to do with the fact that others, including Giacosa, produce from those vineyards.
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#16 Post by john stimson » November 12th, 2016, 9:38 am

I usually aim for Asili, Rabaja, Montefico, and Paje (and Torre, a lot of which is Pora, isn't it?). I like the others, but sometimes Muncagatta underperforms, and with Montestefano, you might as well buy a Barolo. Ovello I enjoy, but just seems to get left out when I buy, and Pora and Rio Sordo have already been discussed.

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#17 Post by Anders Westholm » November 12th, 2016, 10:12 am

John Morris wrote:That would be interesting. I guess I'd always figured that Rabaja and Asili were at the top, but that may have more to do with the fact that others, including Giacosa, produce from those vineyards.
Actually, Giacosa no longer makes a Rabajà. When they drew up the MGA zones in Barbaresco, the plots from which he used to make his Rabajà ended up on the "wrong side" of the border between Rabajà and Asili. So I would guess the grapes from those plots now go into the Asili along with those from the plots from which his Asili was made from the outset. The last vintage of his Rabajà was 2005. As we know, he decided not to bottle his 2006s and in 2007 the new "disciplinare" took effect.

With or without Giacosa, I'd say that Asili and Rabajà are on pretty much everyone's list of the very top vineyards in Barbaresco. But that doesn't necessarily mean that they are the very best from Produttori or the very best in every vintage. Personally, I have tasted all nine Riservas in the 1999 vintage only (where I cellared at least three of each). In that year, Montefico was my favorite. It was the most structured of them in that vintage (although I don't think that's generally the case) but with "fruit" to match. Luckily, it was also the one I had the most of (a full case).

EDIT: I now see that Ken V shows Giacosa to produce a Rabajà again from the 2013 vintage. The explanation is that Giacosa has bought a new small plot (half a hectare) in the Rabajà MGA zone. The plot was previously owned by Ca' du Rabajà and used for the Produttori Riserva Rabajà up to and including the 2005 vintage.

http://www.finewinegeek.com/giacosa/bar ... index.html
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#18 Post by Robert Pavlovich » November 12th, 2016, 10:56 am

john stimson wrote:I usually aim for Asili, Rabaja, Montefico, and Paje (and Torre, a lot of which is Pora, isn't it?). I like the others, but sometimes Muncagatta underperforms, and with Montestefano, you might as well buy a Barolo. Ovello I enjoy, but just seems to get left out when I buy, and Pora and Rio Sordo have already been discussed.
Most of us can't or won't buy them all, but I always want the Montestefano. In these hot years especially, Montestefano's cooler site comes up roses.

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#19 Post by Anders Westholm » November 12th, 2016, 11:27 am

Montestefano cool? It is largely southfacing, at relatively low altitude (200-250 meters), and protected from the wind in all directions except east. I'd say that's likely to be about as hot as it gets in Barbaresco.

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#20 Post by John Morris » November 12th, 2016, 12:18 pm

john stimson wrote:Right. If I had to pick one of the Riservas to try early, Pora is usually a good choice.
FYI, the Slow Food Wine Atlas of the Langhe calls Pora "aristocratically austere" and says it "needs a period of ageing before its full potential emerges and the wine achieves a pinnacle of harmony." I.e., not so forward in their reckoning.
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#21 Post by Sanjay Nandurkar » November 12th, 2016, 12:19 pm

I have not purchased all 9 cru but have had the opportunity to taste the 9 cru side by side on two occasions. On those occasions, which were not blinded, the Asili and Rabaja looked better than others. May be I was biased by the label and was also influenced by Giacosa making better wine from those two sites. So I always go for the Asili and Rabaja. Similarly, i have purchased Verduno Rabaja and Roagna Asili. Occasionally I have purchased Pora and Paje from Produttori.

Recently, with 2009 vintage, a warm one like the 2011, I purchased few bottles of the Montefico and Montestefano in addition to Asili and Rabaja. I have tasted those four cru from 2009 albeit not side by side so comparisons will be confounded by recall bias. I found the Asili to more substantial with earthy notes, but it lacked finesse and structure. It also had a jube like sweetness which was a bit distracting. I felt the Montefico and Montestefano to be also quite powerful but they have savoury note and nice tannic structure. Rabaja was well poised, forward and drinking well with good balance of fruit and tannins. As a vintage 2009 lacks the classicism of 2008 ( which i adore). Perhaps for this reason I have not purchased any 2011; I will wait for the 2013.

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#22 Post by John Morris » November 12th, 2016, 12:29 pm

I don't recall if I ever tasted any of the Produttori '09s, but the '11s did not seem to suffer from the warm vintage, and my palate runs toward 2010 and 2012 rather than years like '07 and '09.
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#23 Post by Anders Westholm » November 12th, 2016, 4:29 pm

Sanjay Nandurkar wrote:Verduno Rabaja
That sounds like a contradiction in terms. Do you mean the Castello di Verduno Rabajà?

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#24 Post by Anders Westholm » November 12th, 2016, 4:38 pm

John Morris wrote:FYI, the Slow Food Wine Atlas of the Langhe calls Pora "aristocratically austere" and says it "needs a period of ageing before its full potential emerges and the wine achieves a pinnacle of harmony." I.e., not so forward in their reckoning.
Which classy Nebbiolo cru doesn't need a period of aging before it really shows what it's good for? It's all relative right? Here's what Galloni says:

"Pora is one of the vineyards in Barbaresco that lies in close proximity to the Tanaro River. The warming influence of the river leads to early ripening and supple, generally open Barbarescos best suited to near and medium term drinking."

Then there's of course the Pora of Ca' del Baio, which is their best Barbaresco, riservas aside (priced above their Asili). Promised life is 15-30 years as compared to 10-15 for their Asili (where their plots are interspersed with those of Giacosa). I know both bottlings and wouldn't protest their judgment. Both are very nice at five or so years though. ;-)

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#25 Post by G. Newman » November 12th, 2016, 4:57 pm

I was at the tasting at John's and found it hard to rank them as they were all showing well (except for the Rio Sordo and the Montestefano IMO). The hardest part was trying to decide whether to rank on most approachable now or on structure for the long-haul. I tried to aim for the latter. I was afraid that there would be no consensus among the group on how to rank (now vs later), but surprisingly there was some consensus at the top and bottom.

I'd divide up the wines into 3 groups, but the overlap with John's isn't perfect. We both put Pora in the top tier and both but Rio Sordo in bottom. I'd add the Paje to the top tier and Montestefano to the bottom with the rest in the perfectly delicious middle tier. Ranked in my order of preference:

TOP TIER

Paje: This was the most elegant of the wines we tasted and plenty of tannic structure to hold up over the long-term.
Pora: Bright floral nose, with great acidity and a touch of bacon fat at the end. It was a close 2d to the Paje.


MIDDLE TIER

Rabaja: Powerful ending, but just not quite up to the top tier wines.
Montefico: Ready to drink now with touch of tar. I did not find this to be austere.
Ovello: Smooth and less structured. Lighter than most but very drinkable now.
Moccagatta: Fresh nose, but again less structure. Drinkable now.
Asili:The nose would put this in the top tier, but I found tannins too strong. If I had to guess where I'd be most wrong, it would be here: this one might belong in the long-term aging group.

DISAPPOINTING

Rio Sordo: Tannic, but lacked much depth.
Montestefano: A hot and musty wine.
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#26 Post by Ken V » November 12th, 2016, 5:51 pm

John Morris wrote:
Sanjay Nandurkar wrote:There seems to be a disconnect between your actual scoring/grouping and the summary you wrote at the beginning -where Pora, Paje, and Rabaja were scored 1st, 2nd and 3rd but down in the notes it did not appear so. Am I not reading it correctly?
It was my mistake in the detailed notes. I corrected it.
It still does not seem that you corrected it. You wrote, "Pora a standout, far ahead in the group's ranking. The Paje’ in second place was well ahead of the rest, and the Rabaja’, 3rd, was out ahead of the rest, which were tightly bunched." which would make one thing that Pora, Paje and Rabaja would be the top 3, but you have Asili, Pora, Montefico, and Montestefano in the first group and Paje and Rabaja in the 2nd group.
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#27 Post by Robert Pavlovich » November 12th, 2016, 6:15 pm

Anders Westholm wrote:Montestefano cool? It is largely southfacing, at relatively low altitude (200-250 meters), and protected from the wind in all directions except east. I'd say that's likely to be about as hot as it gets in Barbaresco.
Any other Montestefano truthers out there? I was under the impression Rabaja is about the hottest site, and somewhat suffering from Climate change, with Asili a bit more protected from heat.

I came across a Produttori Montestefano tech sheet that stated the elevation as 885 ft., or about 270 meters, a good cut above the 200-250 range, but would like to see a recent quote. Anyhow, elevation is scarce in Barbaresco, so it makes a difference.

Calcium rich limestone.

One of the Nothermost of Produttori's Cru's, just south of Motefici, which appears Northermost of Produttori's cru's, and within Barbaresco.

The mostly south facing is correct, though they are all at least south-southwest facing it seems.

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#28 Post by G. Newman » November 12th, 2016, 6:40 pm

Ken V wrote:
John Morris wrote:
Sanjay Nandurkar wrote:There seems to be a disconnect between your actual scoring/grouping and the summary you wrote at the beginning -where Pora, Paje, and Rabaja were scored 1st, 2nd and 3rd but down in the notes it did not appear so. Am I not reading it correctly?
It was my mistake in the detailed notes. I corrected it.
It still does not seem that you corrected it. You wrote, "Pora a standout, far ahead in the group's ranking. The Paje’ in second place was well ahead of the rest, and the Rabaja’, 3rd, was out ahead of the rest, which were tightly bunched." which would make one thing that Pora, Paje and Rabaja would be the top 3, but you have Asili, Pora, Montefico, and Montestefano in the first group and Paje and Rabaja in the 2nd group.
I believe that John's opening line referred to the group's consensus, which differed somewhat from his own ranking. I had ranked top 3 in order as Paje, Pora and Rabaja. The group's top 3 ranking was Pora, Paje and Rabaja.
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#29 Post by John Morris » November 12th, 2016, 8:04 pm

Ken V wrote:It still does not seem that you corrected it. You wrote, "Pora a standout, far ahead in the group's ranking. The Paje’ in second place was well ahead of the rest, and the Rabaja’, 3rd, was out ahead of the rest, which were tightly bunched." which would make one thing that Pora, Paje and Rabaja would be the top 3, but you have Asili, Pora, Montefico, and Montestefano in the first group and Paje and Rabaja in the 2nd group.
Yes, as Gray said, the groupings in my original post are mine, not the group's. I'm just arrogant enough to think my take is more valid. neener
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#30 Post by Sanjay Nandurkar » November 12th, 2016, 8:08 pm

Anders Westholm wrote:
Sanjay Nandurkar wrote:Verduno Rabaja
That sounds like a contradiction in terms. Do you mean the Castello di Verduno Rabajà?
Yes.

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#31 Post by john stimson » November 12th, 2016, 9:11 pm

John Morris wrote:
john stimson wrote:Right. If I had to pick one of the Riservas to try early, Pora is usually a good choice.
FYI, the Slow Food Wine Atlas of the Langhe calls Pora "aristocratically austere" and says it "needs a period of ageing before its full potential emerges and the wine achieves a pinnacle of harmony." I.e., not so forward in their reckoning.
Don't know anything about the Slow Food folks, but I would agree with Anders. Pora is "down by the river" and when you hear Aldo Vacca talk about the crus, he lists it as an early accessible wine, and lacking some of the complex elements he sort of likes. Hard to know which cru he likes the best, but I think he likes the cooler sites a bit (eg Montefico). Also, I think he likes Ovello, as I believe he basically grew up in the vineyard.

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#32 Post by Anders Westholm » November 13th, 2016, 6:26 am

john stimson wrote:Don't know anything about the Slow Food folks, but I would agree with Anders. Pora is "down by the river" and when you hear Aldo Vacca talk about the crus, he lists it as an early accessible wine, and lacking some of the complex elements he sort of likes. Hard to know which cru he likes the best, but I think he likes the cooler sites a bit (eg Montefico). Also, I think he likes Ovello, as I believe he basically grew up in the vineyard.
Yes, Vacca tends to say about the same thing as Galloni about Pora, and what they say is in line with my own experiences as well. Here's a quote from Produttori's web site about Pora:

"Soil fertility is slightly higher here and this gives to the wine a smoother character, tannins are soft and the aromas always tend to open up in the early years of life."

http://www.produttoridelbarbaresco.com/ ... gneto=pora

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#33 Post by Anders Westholm » November 13th, 2016, 6:44 am

Robert Pavlovich wrote:Any other Montestefano truthers out there? I was under the impression Rabaja is about the hottest site, and somewhat suffering from Climate change, with Asili a bit more protected from heat.

I came across a Produttori Montestefano tech sheet that stated the elevation as 885 ft., or about 270 meters, a good cut above the 200-250 range, but would like to see a recent quote. Anyhow, elevation is scarce in Barbaresco, so it makes a difference.

Calcium rich limestone.
I was looking at Masnaghetti's 3D-map and associated info. He says 175-265 meters for Montestefano. Produttori themselves say 230-280 meters on their web site. Rabajà is higher (235-315 according to Masnaghetti, 240-300 according to Produttori) and open to winds from the west and the cooling effect the river might have during the hottest part of the season.

Here's what Produttori themselves say about the climate of Montestefano:

"The extra heat of the South facing slope is responsible for the Montestefano full body and almost meaty texture. It is deep flavored wines with massive tannins, but quite ripe and well integrated in the wine because of the warm exposure."

http://www.produttoridelbarbaresco.com/ ... ntestefano
Robert Pavlovich wrote:One of the Nothermost of Produttori's Cru's, just south of Motefici, which appears Northermost of Produttori's cru's, and within Barbaresco.
Ovello is actually furthest to the north although I don't think it really matters from a climate point of view exactly how far north or south the crus are.
Robert Pavlovich wrote:The mostly south facing is correct, though they are all at least south-southwest facing it seems.
No, not really. Ovello, for example, is to a large extent facing east and west.

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#34 Post by Claus Jeppesen » November 13th, 2016, 9:18 am

The 2011 Produttori Rabaja is a great wine. I am amazed by the quality compared to the low price. It is a gem.
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#35 Post by John Morris » November 13th, 2016, 6:47 pm

I just realized that I forgot to upload this:
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#36 Post by Murray Stiles » November 13th, 2016, 7:04 pm

Firstly, thanks for all the notes!
John Morris wrote: I’ve been a little unsure what to make of the 2011s. When the same group tasted ’11 Barolos last December, they were sort of meh. And tasting in Piemonte in August and September I felt some of the ‘11s lacked a little structure.
Agreed RE: 2011 Barolo, most that I tasted lacked freshness and structure and were often too ripe or showing alcohol heat. I think 2011 Barbaresco carried the vintage somewhat better, but the wines I would actually buy are few and far between.

I am somewhat perplexed about the lack of single cru wines from produttori in 2012, however its a great opportunity to go large on the standard Barbaresco which is excellent.

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#37 Post by John Morris » November 14th, 2016, 8:13 am

There was a lot of wine left over from this tasting because we had a small group, and they have held up very well in the fridge. We finished off the Paje last night, and it was still drinking very well after four days -- lots of fruit and the tannins were relatively (for nebbiolo) soft.
Murray Stiles wrote:I am somewhat perplexed about the lack of single cru wines from produttori in 2012, however its a great opportunity to go large on the standard Barbaresco which is excellent.
I think someone posted the explanation, but I don't remember what it was. In some post, Aldo Vacco was quoted as saying the first priority is to ensure the quality of the torre/normale because that's the bulk of their production and revenue. I can see how that could have been a factor in a lighter year.

Also, the coop rules are that they must bottle all or none of the crus, so if some didn't turn out as well, that might explain it. And in some years where the quality was good, like 2006, they nonetheless opted to blend them because they thought they'd be hard to sell given past vintages in the distribution pipeline. Since there are still a fair number of 2008s and 2009s around, and the 2011s are recently released, perhaps that's an issue this time.
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#38 Post by Anders Westholm » November 14th, 2016, 9:15 am

I think the point you mention about protecting the quality of the "normale" might be a pretty important one. Judging by the pattern we see, it seems that the Produttori are more likely to release the Riservas in good and "warm" years than in good and "cool" years. And it might simply be that some of their lesser vineyards (those whose grapes are always destined for the "normale" or Langhe Nebbiolo) have difficulties ripening the grapes properly in at least some cooler vintages.

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#39 Post by Ken V » November 14th, 2016, 7:43 pm

And they either do all 9 or 0. So say the Rio Sordo wasn't good enough in 2012, that could be reason enough not to produces the Cru Riservas.
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#40 Post by john stimson » November 14th, 2016, 8:47 pm

Not to be obnoxiously insistent or repetitive, but I think they would be better off to close out the Rio Sordo Riserva. Then they'd have a more consistently stellar group, and perhaps be able to declare in more vintages (although there are clearly other considerations--how much wine is in the pipeline, and whether the Torre has enough concentration and character without the riserva juice mixed in.

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#41 Post by Anders Westholm » November 15th, 2016, 2:30 am

In my personal experience I haven't found that the Rio Sordo is generally some kind of black sheep among the riservas although any one cru may of course be subject to some kind of mishap in a certain vintage. Rio Sordo has also enjoyed a good reputation for quite a long time and figures as one of the best growing positions already on Ratti's Barbaresco map. As far as I can tell, there is nothing wrong with the specific plots owned by Produttori members either. Finally, the Produttori can of course select, on a vintage-to-vintage basis, exactly which plots or subsections of plots they let into the riserva from a certain MGA zone. It's only if an entire area has been more or less wiped out by some problem (say hail) that they run into problems with the rule that they must either produce all riservas or none.
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#42 Post by John Morris » November 15th, 2016, 12:24 pm

I was looking at the empty bottles, noting the vine owners' names on the back, so I went on the site and dug out the production figures for 2011. I thought maybe more owners would equate to bigger production, but it doesn't.

What is interesting is that the production is not in the same proportions all years; some vineyards such as Montefico, Asili and Paje' produced much more in 2011 than in 2009, while the others showed smaller increases -- or none at all in the case of Rio Sordo. I don't know if that reflects the yield in the vineyard or selectivity in the winemaking. (Perhaps less Rio Sordo made the grade in 2011.) I would guess the latter, but it could get complicated under the coop's all-or-nothing rules for cru bottling if a much smaller proportion of some vineyards is selected for cru bottling.

I suppose it could also reflect new vines that came of age in that two years.

I wonder, too, whether the large crop affected the decision not to bottle single vineyards in 2012.

That's all speculation. Here are the facts:

Asili: 13,333 bottles (3 owners)
[+33% vs 10,000 in 2009]
Montefico: 13,333 bottles (4 owners) [+100% from 6,666 in 2009]
Montestefano: 16,584 bottles + 1,708 magnums (5 owners)
[+20% vs 14,442 bottles and 1,112 magnums in 2009]
Muncagotta (fka Moccagatta): 16,666 bottles (3 owners)
[+25% vs 13,333 in 2009]
Ovello: 16,650 bottles + 1,720 magnums (12 owners)
[+20% vs 14,350 bottles and 1,158 magnums in 2009]
Paje’: 10,000 bottles (2 owners)
[+50% vs 6,666 bottles in 2009]
Pora: 16,666 bottles (2 owners)
[+25% vs 13,333 in 2009]
Rabaja’: 16,524 bottles + 1,738 magnums (9 owners)
[+20% vs 14,586 bottles and 1,040 magnums in 2009]
Rio Sordo: 13,333 bottles (2 owners)
[unchanged from 2009]

FYI, the Vacca family has holdings in Rabaja’, Ovello, Montefico and Montestefano.
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#43 Post by Robert Pavlovich » November 15th, 2016, 1:46 pm

Anders Westholm wrote:
Robert Pavlovich wrote:Any other Montestefano truthers out there? I was under the impression Rabaja is about the hottest site, and somewhat suffering from Climate change, with Asili a bit more protected from heat.

I came across a Produttori Montestefano tech sheet that stated the elevation as 885 ft., or about 270 meters, a good cut above the 200-250 range, but would like to see a recent quote. Anyhow, elevation is scarce in Barbaresco, so it makes a difference.

Calcium rich limestone.
I was looking at Masnaghetti's 3D-map and associated info. He says 175-265 meters for Montestefano. Produttori themselves say 230-280 meters on their web site. Rabajà is higher (235-315 according to Masnaghetti, 240-300 according to Produttori) and open to winds from the west and the cooling effect the river might have during the hottest part of the season.

Here's what Produttori themselves say about the climate of Montestefano:

"The extra heat of the South facing slope is responsible for the Montestefano full body and almost meaty texture. It is deep flavored wines with massive tannins, but quite ripe and well integrated in the wine because of the warm exposure."

http://www.produttoridelbarbaresco.com/ ... ntestefano
Robert Pavlovich wrote:One of the Nothermost of Produttori's Cru's, just south of Motefici, which appears Northermost of Produttori's cru's, and within Barbaresco.
Ovello is actually furthest to the north although I don't think it really matters from a climate point of view exactly how far north or south the crus are.
Robert Pavlovich wrote:The mostly south facing is correct, though they are all at least south-southwest facing it seems.
No, not really. Ovello, for example, is to a large extent facing east and west.
Thanks for doing the follow up on this Anders. I put some trust in to Ian d'agata's claims about Montestefano (cool), and Rabaja (hot), and have to doubt that after seeing this. He even described Rabaja as a "heat trap".

I'm not sure if I've seen him on these boards before. Will see if I can ping him for a response.

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#44 Post by Ken V » November 15th, 2016, 2:13 pm

John Morris wrote:I was looking at the empty bottles, noting the vine owners' names on the back, so I went on the site and dug out the production figures for 2011. I thought maybe more owners would equate to bigger production, but it doesn't.

What is interesting is that the production is not in the same proportions all years; some vineyards such as Montefico, Asili and Paje' produced much more in 2011 than in 2009, while the others showed smaller increases -- or none at all in the case of Rio Sordo. I don't know if that reflects the yield in the vineyard or selectivity in the winemaking. (Perhaps less Rio Sordo made the grade in 2011.) I would guess the latter, but it could get complicated under the coop's all-or-nothing rules for cru bottling if a much smaller proportion of some vineyards is selected for cru bottling.

I suppose it could also reflect new vines that came of age in that two years.

I wonder, too, whether the large crop affected the decision not to bottle single vineyards in 2012.

That's all speculation. Here are the facts:

Asili: 13,333 bottles (3 owners)
[+33% vs 10,000 in 2009]
Montefico: 13,333 bottles (4 owners) [+100% from 6,666 in 2009]
Montestefano: 16,584 bottles + 1,708 magnums (5 owners)
[+20% vs 14,442 bottles and 1,112 magnums in 2009]
Muncagotta (fka Moccagatta): 16,666 bottles (3 owners)
[+25% vs 13,333 in 2009]
Ovello: 16,650 bottles + 1,720 magnums (12 owners)
[+20% vs 14,350 bottles and 1,158 magnums in 2009]
Paje’: 10,000 bottles (2 owners)
[+50% vs 6,666 bottles in 2009]
Pora: 16,666 bottles (2 owners)
[+25% vs 13,333 in 2009]
Rabaja’: 16,524 bottles + 1,738 magnums (9 owners)
[+20% vs 14,586 bottles and 1,040 magnums in 2009]
Rio Sordo: 13,333 bottles (2 owners)
[unchanged from 2009]

FYI, the Vacca family has holdings in Rabaja’, Ovello, Montefico and Montestefano.
You could have just looked here:
http://www.finewinegeek.com/produttori/index-qty.html

The quantity varies because different vintages have different yields and because they don't use (say) all the Asili grapes every year. Some Asili lots may go into a lesser wine in some years. Same for each of the other vineyards.

The names on the back are all the growers for that vineyard, even if not all of them have grapes in the wine. Also, "Vacca" on the back could be any one of several Vaccas. Same for several other names there.
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#45 Post by John Morris » November 15th, 2016, 2:40 pm

Thanks for the additional info, Ken.

But your table doesn't calculate the totals for each in 750ml equivalents. [wink.gif] [shock.gif]
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#46 Post by Chris V. » January 19th, 2017, 5:19 am

Thanks so much for this commentary. 2011 was my wedding year and I've had the opportunity to buy a few of these. I bought some Montefico as that's the only cru that's been released in the Union of Soviet Socialist Ontarians. On an upcoming trip to Montreal I'll get the chance to buy Ovello and Pora. I'm convinced I'll like the Ovello as that sounds like the most elegant, red fruited, almost Pinot like? The Pora I'm on the fence about. The fact that it was top rated by the group in this tasting is promising, but I can't say I love hearing the "a bit riper than some" comment. Hopefully that's in a more minor relative sense.

Small sidenote. It appears the Ovello is only available in Montreal in Magnum. I was interested to see in a previous post that only some crus are made in magnum. Other than the production numbers, I was wondering why only some crus are available in magnum.

I'm also wondering more generally about the vintage. I loved the Produttoris in the 2008 vintage, but what I tasted from '09 I really didn't enjoy. I'm expecting '11 to be between those extremes, but I'm hoping it leans toward '08 in terms of ripeness, but I'm seeing some mixed comments. Wouldn't mind some clarity on that.
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#47 Post by Neal.Mollen » January 19th, 2017, 6:57 am

It would be interesting to those who know little (me) to have those who know a lot put the crus in a sort of rank order. By preference or style. I have had bottles of one cru or another in most recent vintages in which they were produced, but have too little experience to be able to perform that exercise.
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#48 Post by Ken V » January 19th, 2017, 7:20 am

Neal.Mollen wrote:It would be interesting to those who know little (me) to have those who know a lot put the crus in a sort of rank order. By preference or style. I have had bottles of one cru or another in most recent vintages in which they were produced, but have too little experience to be able to perform that exercise.
I think this is very hard to do. I've even heard Aldo Vacca do this, and I didn't entirely agree with him.

One aspect is that occasionally the growers and their plots change, and this can change the character of the wine, esp. in the larger, more variable vineyards. Even when the growers don't enter or leave the coop, one's wine could be left out in a particular year (yet still the family name will appear on the back label).

If I haven't caveated that to death, here's a shot at it (all from memory):

I think of Rabajà, Montestefano, and Asili as the most structured, usually in that order. Having done a couple of Rabajà verticals, I feel confident that Rabajà is the longest ager of all of them. Within this group, Asili often has the ripest fruit.

The next group would include Pora, Pajé, Montefico, and Moccagatta/Muncagota. Here, I think of Pora as the closest to the above group. Pajé and esp. Montefico often have a delicacy and fragrance that I find appealing, what some call "lifted".

Ovello, esp. in recent years, seems to be the ripest, most fruit forward of their wines. It's a huge vineyard. I think it is more affected by global warming than any other. If I was picking one Produttori for someone with no history in Nebbiolo, I might pick a fairly young Ovello.

Rio Sordo has consistently been the least impressive to me after 1978. I just find it has less of everything.
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#49 Post by Walt Hoehler » January 19th, 2017, 7:23 am

Neal, as I think you have hinted, 'ranking' is probably not the best approach. Rather, I'd suggest that a list of the outstanding and weakest attributes of each cru would be more valuable. While I enjoy Produttori as much as any other wine (on a QPR basis), I not confident enough to tease out those strengths/weaknesses in great detail and will leave it to the esteemed cognoscenti of the board. It should be a great exercise.

I will start it out with one sort of ranking....alphabetical.

Asili:

Montefico:

Montestefano:

Muncagotta:

Ovello:

Paje’:

Pora:

Rabaja’:

Rio Sordo:

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#50 Post by G. Newman » January 19th, 2017, 7:35 am

Chris V. wrote:Thanks so much for this commentary. 2011 was my wedding year and I've had the opportunity to buy a few of these. I bought some Montefico as that's the only cru that's been released in the Union of Soviet Socialist Ontarians. On an upcoming trip to Montreal I'll get the chance to buy Ovello and Pora. I'm convinced I'll like the Ovello as that sounds like the most elegant, red fruited, almost Pinot like? The Pora I'm on the fence about. The fact that it was top rated by the group in this tasting is promising, but I can't say I love hearing the "a bit riper than some" comment. Hopefully that's in a more minor relative sense.

Small sidenote. It appears the Ovello is only available in Montreal in Magnum. I was interested to see in a previous post that only some crus are made in magnum. Other than the production numbers, I was wondering why only some crus are available in magnum.

I'm also wondering more generally about the vintage. I loved the Produttoris in the 2008 vintage, but what I tasted from '09 I really didn't enjoy. I'm expecting '11 to be between those extremes, but I'm hoping it leans toward '08 in terms of ripeness, but I'm seeing some mixed comments. Wouldn't mind some clarity on that.
For what it's worth--I was at the tasting, but am hardly part of the cognoscenti when it comes to Produttori or much else--I found the Paje the most elegant (my 1st, group's 2d) even though the tannins were roaring. I also thought the Pora (my 2d, group's 1st) was excellent. I didn't pick up the "riper than some" but did get a beautiful balance between higher acid notes than the Paje and yet a bit of bacon fat at the end. I think you can't go wrong with either of those.
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