2001 Produttori del Barbaresco ‘Barbaresco Riserva Montestefano’

February 4, 2015

Name:Barbaresco Riserva Montestefano
Type:Red Wine
Producer:Produttori del Barbaresco
Region:Italy / Piemonte / Barbaresco / Barbaresco


Produttori del Barbaresco has always been a unique wine animal for me for a couple of reasons.

Firstly, it is a relatively large scale production (100ha & 400k btl/yr = ~10% of total vineyard area and production volume in Barbaresco) and large size often implies a decisive sway towards standardized and formula-driven wines.

Secondly, it is a cooperative, which normally implies that the wines should be a mass-produced plonk.

Well, Produttori del Barbaresco has never matched any of these two implied notions.Instead it produces some of the most reliable quality wines for the price in Barbaresco.

These are proper and serious Barbarescos made with a heavy lean towards traditional style and sourced from its 58 grower-shareholders’ plots in some of the most prised Barbaresco Crus / MGA (MGA = Menzioni Geografiche Aggiuntive) like Asili, Rabaja, Montefico, Rio Sordo, Montestefano, Ovello, Pora, Paje, Muncagota.  All single-cru bottlings are produced as Riservas and receive 36 months in Slavonian and French botti vs. 24 months for a Barbaresco normale, which is a blend dominated by fruit from Ovello and Pora.

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This particular bottle was 14,470th of the 17,920 Montestefano Riserva produced in 2001.

Vineyard: Montestefano (from plots of the following growers: Gonella, Maffei, Marcarino, Rivella, Rocca, Vacca) / Exposure: South / Soil: Clay and limestone with some tufa and sand / Maceration & fermentation: 21 days @ up to 30C / Ageing: 36m in botti (25-55hl) + 18m in bottle

Decanted for about 30 minutes and drunk over the course of 1.5 hrs thereafter.

It opened up, true to Produttori’s style, with an earthy and slightly dusty note. Fruit is shy and not bright at all, but rather well hidden under the overripe cherry pit, prunes, some herby underbrush and porcini. Weirdly the nose felt a bit too evolved for 2001. After about an hour, liquorice notes join the prunes in pushing the nose towards darker earthier and more savory realm.

The flavor also matches this lean with some burnt dark chocolate/espresso and modest sweetness of a dried fruit. I stumbled a bit over the slight disconnect between the more evolved nose and still robust tannins and very fresh and on-point acidity.

I do not exclude the possibility that an extra hour of decanting might have helped to air out the “aged nose”, but a bottle of Montestefano Riserva 1999, drunk only a couple of weeks later, showed much fresher nose from the onset, which makes me wonder if the 2001 had some very minor storage issues.  Need to retry a different bottle of the 2001.

Overall, this was a very enjoyable bottle of Barbaresco made in a bigger/denser interpretation of the traditional style, but this somewhat awkward mismatch between the nose and the flavor profiles (if proven not a storage issue) would keep me from ordering a second bottle.

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