February 28, 2007

Produttori di Barbaresco 2001s

On the heels of the Vietti Lazzarito tasting, Aldo Vacca of Produttori di Barbaresco came to town for another tasting at Pastaworks.

You might remember two years back, when I almost literally stumbled into a free tasting of the 2000s at this landmark spot. This year I planned ahead, and despite a staggering $5 tasting fee, managed to enjoy a sampling of 2001 Produttori di Barbaresco Riservas.

Aldo first poured the Rio Sordo, a lighter, pepper and cherry scented wine with nice floral elements. Aldo suggested this was the most approachable now, but the fierce tannin suggests to me it needs time. This is only ok.

Then came the Pora, a richer, redder fruited wine with more intensity that better matches the tannic structure than the Rio Sordo. This should age well but isn’t showing so pretty today. It’s certainly the more impressive of the first two wines.

Aldo then poured the Ovello, in another league from the first two with terrific depth and a cassis-tinged fragrance. In the mouth it’s chewy with more prominent fruit balancing the structure, I really liked this wine. It’s rich and ripe, but very precise.

Finally, the Montestefano, not Chateauneuf-like as I remember the 2000, rather Burgundian if you can believe it. Ripe Burgundy for sure, think macerated cherries with woodsy fragrance that speaks to me of both Italy and France. Still tannic as nebbiolo can be, I liked this but preferred the elegance of the Ovello just a bit more.

But wait, there’s Peter de Garmo of Pastaworks with a bonus pour, the 1990 Produttori di Barbaresco Montestefano. What a difference 11 years makes. This is classic Barbaresco, maturing with truffe aromas and terrific bottle sweetness already, yet still tannic and wound up on the palate. There’s great length and mature flavors, but the structure requires food or perhaps more time, though the aroma and flavor suggest this should be ready to go. Still, lovely stuff.

What a lovely tasting, made better by my running into a couple of old friends who invited me to a tasting of 2005 Cru Beaujolais, which I’ll report on soon. It turned out to be the best tasting I’ve been to in a while, with numerous wines I really enjoyed.

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