2004 Serafino Rivella Barbaresco

April 27, 2015

Type:Red Wine
Producer:Serafino Rivella
Region:Italy / Piemonte / Langhe / Barbaresco / Montestefano


Teobaldo Rivella of the Cantina Rivella Serafino (Serafino was Teobaldo’s father) produces a meagre 12,000 bottles from his  ~50 y.o. vines in the 2ha of vineyards (mostly in Montestefano cru) split between only two bottlings: Dolcetto and Barbaresco.

Baldo is well set in his traditional and conscientious approach to both viticulture and winemaking, which are evident in the clean, vibrant and honest style of his wines.

At a younger age, Barbaresco from Rivella can be lighter and sometimes a little muted, but always with a great focus and clean lines of herbs, liquorice and strawberry.

This bottle of a 2004 was the oldest Rivella Barbaresco I tried. It was one half of a great 2004 duet we had over dinner recently. The second half was a Barolo Vigneto Rocchette Riserva from Cavaliere Accomasso.Rivella Accomasso 2004

I was a little surprised by the Barbaresco. Especially with its reasonably well evolved in the nose. Nothing that would be out of place for a 10 year-old Barbaresco, but somewhat more than my expectations of the Rivella evolution curve. We decanted the wine and poured in the glasses, while the remainder was left to aerate in the decanter. This gave us a full range of the experience over the 4 hour dinner.

Open and ready nose. Very friendly. Pleasant, healthy, ripe tertiary notes were quite pronounced in the nose. A good mix of tea, balsamic, mint and a slightly simmered-down fresh strawberries.  A peculiar hint of flint too.

The weight, texture and density also surprised me a little bit. In line with what the nose suggested, but somewhat denser and darker than the younger bottlings I had. It still feels very traditional, but a little more towards the brawnier spectrum of the style.

Flavor is also full of tertiary stories – earthy, underbrush, but tannins are quite dense, albeit suede in their texture.  This juxtaposition of old’ish and young’ish in one reminded me of a number of  Produttori del Barbaresco bottles from the 2001 vintage, where acidity and tannins were laced with residual fruit, but all that was trumped by the tertiary aromas and flavors.

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