Tuesday, March 11, 2008

1989 Produttori del Barbaresco

Produttori del Barbaresco is a Northern Italian (Piedmont) grape growers co-op dedicated to producing Barbaresco wine. Produttori del Barbaresco was founded in 1958 by the local parish priest, Don Fiorino Marengo, this co-op is widely considered the best in the whole of Italy and among the world's most respected in that category. Today 56 families farm about 250 acres. The co-op produces roughly 35,000 cases annually and in a good vintage they are divided among Barbaresco (40 %), single vineyard Barbarescos (40%) and Nebbiolo Langhe (20%).

The entire Barbaresco appellation has only 1692 acres, so you can see this single producer controls a big share of the market.
You will often hear Barbaresco mentioned in the same breath as Barolo.
Comparisons between Barolo and Barbaresco are unavoidable because they are both made from 100 percent Nebbiolo and their respective growing areas lie not only in the same northwestern region of Piedmont, but on either side of the same town in a hilly area known as the Langhe. The small Barbaresco appellation, named after the sleepy village where the wine originated, radiates to the north and east of Alba and covers the communes or towns of Barbaresco, Neive, Treiso and a sliver of San Rocco Seno d'Elvio for a total of 1,692 acres registered to it.

Last night I had an opportunity to taste the nine single vineyard wines that Produttori del Barbaresco produces. The vintage was from 1989 and the wines are listed below alphabetically with my notes attached. The link above is to the Produttori website and there is some great information about the individual vineyards and their characteristics. What strikes me is that this wine is fairly readily available, yet the single vineyard wine production is around 1000 cases per vineyard (that is tiny!).

Produttori del Barbaresco

1989 Asili: An earthy nose with bright cherry fruit that verges on cherry liquor. The wine finishes with a bit of a bitter edge.

1989 Moccagata: A burnt nose, very astringent, almost mouth puckering with no middle palate and no finish. Over the 90 minutes we tasted this wine actually got worse.

1989 Montefico: Perfume on the nose with a hint of leather. Good soft/ripecherry fruit with a bitterish mid-palate.

1989 Montestefano: Funky nose (sulphur?) that blew off with some time in the glass. Nice tart cherry fruit and a bitter, firm finish.

1989 Ovello: Leather on the nose with ripe, tart cherry fruit, good balance with a long finish.

1989 Pajè: Leather nose, rich cherry fruit with great body and balance and a very long finish.
This was my second favorite of the night. #2

1989 Pora: Medicinal nose, maybe even a bit nutty. A hint of some rich fruit that is overpowered by a bitter, astringent mid-palate and an unpleasant finish. To be fair, this wine was corked and probably oxidized (the nuttiness) as well. This would get a rating of: DPIM-(Don't put in mouth).

1989 Rabajà: A very pleasant earthy nose, rich, tart cherry fruit that verges on cherry liquor. Great balance and a very long finish. My favorite of the night. #1

1989 Rio Sordo: Menthol on the nose, bright cherry fruit with great body and balance with a terrific finish. #3

General Notes:
All these wines were purchased at the same time and have been cellared properly since somewhere around 1992. The wines had a similar appearance in the glass as there was a slight brickishness in the color, but this is to be expected from wines approaching 19 years of age. A great opportunity to taste this Produttori horizontal. As with any tasting favorites are all over the board. In this case, the group of 15 scored these wines the same way I did. My top three of the night have more than enough structure to go 5 more years, but they would be great with a nice Italian dinner tonight.


Heather said...

Nine wines! My palate is fatigued just thinking about it. You're a champion.

Norm Schoen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Norm Schoen said...

These are semi-serious sit down affairs and probably 1 1/2 ounce pours so it is a kinda snooty affair with all kinds of silly wine adjectives getting tossed around....like: "this wine is Juliette Binoche with a whip and handcuffs". ( ala Miles in "Sideways")-I do have a small group of friends who are much more food motivated that do tastings too...
MAD DOG Wine Group-we should invite you for our next gathering.