Cantina del Pino Barbaresco - what's the oak story?

I don’t know this producer well. I had a 2012 Barbaresco by the glass in the (excellent) Osteria Savio Volpe in Vancouver a few weeks ago and found it quite oaky. This evening, I opened the 2004 Barbaresco at home and the overlay of oak is also quite intense – a bit surprising at 13 years.

It’s a nice wine, and it’s definitely nebbiolo, but sweet oak dominates on the nose and carries through for a long time on the finish. On the palate, there’s a hardness to the tannins that suggests some come from the wood, though with nebbiolo that’s seldom more than a guess. I’d give it 89 or 90, and I just popped the cork. I think it will stand up to the risotto with gorgonzola that I’ll be making. But I’m curious if anyone knows more about the property.

The cantina’s website isn’t particular informative. All of the Barbarescos are aged “two years in oak” it says, without specifying the size of the vessel.

According to Pat’s list they’re in the modernist camp. I’ve only had a single bottle of the 2011 Barbaresco Ovello and found it overtly oaky myself. I’ve still got one more and plan to leave it for ages to see if it ever integrates. I’m not hopeful to be honest.

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Small oak for the first year, then it goes into something “neutral”, I think. Don’t know the details, but this gives it a more modern feel with some evident oak. Sort of half way between traditional and modern. I haven’t been overwhelmed by it, but also haven’t felt the need to pursue the wines, although I think they eventually even out. they are good, but as John indicates, there is oak there.

After three and a half hours, the oak was still dominant. Still an enjoyable wine with a strongly flavored risotto, but it was a bit like the horns and timpani drowning out the flutes and violins.

It’s interesting that they’re so vague about their oak regime. Based on the two vintages I’ve had, I would assume it’s a high proportion of new oak for that first year in small barrels.

Here are some notes from a few years ago:
2007 Cantina del Pino Barbaresco 150th Anniversary Nebbiolo

12/7/2015 - I WROTE: 88 points (Edit)
Medium ruby, cedar and Marionberry nose. Drying tannins with flinty mineral, restrained fruit, ripe cherries, cola, a little harsh on opening, 88 pts and better with food.

11/8/2015 - I WROTE: 91 points (Edit)
Medium ruby, bricking rim with figs on the nose. Open a day, dry with medium ripe fruit, light acid and chewy tannins. More to the fruit side with figs, cola and some candied cherries, finishes with some sweetness along with the well integrated tannins. Drinks well alone or with roast meats, but more suited as a party wine which will satisfy most if not impress the geeks. Most definitely not AFWE.

12/29/2014 - I LIKE THIS WINE: 91 points (Edit)
Dark ruby, caramel nose. Dry mineral with ripe fruit, mineral and stone fruit tannins. Definitely better with food. Long life ahead with future improvement. Restrained Italian character hiding in the wings.

According to this blog, the wines spend two years in barriques, which would explain the strong oak notes I got in the 2004 and 2012.

That blog also has this photo of the cellar. The postings say they don’t use barriques for their barbera, which suggests that the small barrels here are probably for the Barbarescos.

Don’t know if link will work, but most recent info via Galloni is that the wines spend 6 months in small French oak (for the 2013 vintage), and the rest of the time in cask. the blog you linked looks like it’s from 2005 or so, so I suspect like everyone else, they’ve backed off on the oak treatment. I haven’t cruised the earlier reviews to see what the treatment was for 20112 and before.

Yes, thanks. I meant to point out that that blog post might be out of date, although it may have accurately described the winemaking for the 2004. I found the 2012 not quite as heavily oaked, but the oak was still apparent.

During an excellent visit to the I’ll Drink to That podcast, Renato Vacca explained that all of the wine destined to be Barbaresco spends it’s first year in small oak barrels. He made no mention of the age of the oak. My guess is the crus head towards the newer oak.

My experience with the 05 Normale and the 01 Ovello is that the oak was the most dominant characteristic. In fact in both cases it overpowered everything else.

Both the 2010 and 2011 have shown much differently when I tasted them. No overt oak and quite a bit of young Nebbiolo character.

I’ve had both the 2005 and 2008 Ovello’s. Both are unquestionably"modern" but I quite liked both. Not offensively oaked like I find La Spinetta or older Clerico

John. Glad you liked Savio Volpe. It is one of my favorites.

Yes, it was good, though not quite up to the quality of La Quercia for my tastes. I felt a little cheated that the first two courses in the “a la famiglia” menu were a plate of prosciutto and a kale salad. Not terribly imaginative! But the pastas and main course were excellent, and the wine list is quite solid. And the graphic design is great. I love the wolf wielding a knife and fork chasing the chicken: [cheers.gif]

I’ve never thought a plate of sliced meat was something to go to a restaurant for. I did like the Kale salad though. I really love the room and the exterior.

We always bring wine but order a white. One time it was a Favorita from Verduno. Fratelli Allesandria.

Back to del Pino. Considering the garbage we are forced to drink around here it is a decent alternative.

The last couple of nights I’ve been sipping on the 2007 Cantina del Pino [Barbaresco] with enjoyment. This is their normale from a blend of vineyards - Ovello, Albesani, Starderi, and Gallina. CdP made a bottling with a special labeling this year too, but apparently its just a commemorative label, with the same wine. I listened to Levi Dalton’s interview with Renato Vacca while sipping this, and the discussion is excellent, and bittersweet – as Vacca died young a year or so ago. This warm vintage shows orange bricking at the edges, 14.5% abv with warmth/sweetness, and a nose of dried herbs and roses. On the palate most of the tannin is resolved, acids are in balance, and the nebbiolo fruit has blossomed. I never tasted this young, but it must have transformed. The vintner suggested they think 10-15 years is optimal for those who desire complex mature wine, and this example followed their advice. Some might recognize the name: Renato is a cousin of Aldo Vacco the GM of the prominent local coop. This branch of the family, and their grapes, left that structure some quarter century ago, as they wanted to see the results of their farming work in bottle more directly. I can understand that motivation.

Regarding the oak: Renato, in the IDTT podcast, notes that they only do 1 year of small barrique elevage, and rack just once in the first 3 years. All six of their vineyards are picked and vinified separately, and blended when leaving barrique for the larger foudres. There is still a touch of sweet oak here, but I enjoy/tolerate that. In my ledger this gets an A-

The artist may have departed, but their works endure. Salut!

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