Tasting Report: Sottimano Barbaresco Tasting at Vintages West Concord

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Just back from a tasting of some really nice Barbaresco, and if there's one thing I've learned about blogging about wine events it's this:  I better to do it quickly and off the cuff, otherwise I'll never get around to it.

With that in mind, here are my thoughts on the Nebbiolo-based wines at today's Sottimano tasting at Vintages in West Concord, MA.  I met a friend there to taste through the wines with the owner of the shop prior to the winemaker arriving.  That being the case we got to hear a lot about Piedmont wines in general and a lot about Barbaresco specifically.  The store's focus on Barbaresco is incredible, and given that I'm hot on this category lately I've enjoyed getting to know their inventory.

(Note: Prices below are one-day special event pricing. The regular price for the Barbarescos is $70.)

2007 SOTTIMANO Langhe Nebbiolo  $22

I'm always hopeful that I'll find a Nebbiolo that delivers the intensity of fruit and elegance of Barbaresco at a fraction of the price.  I thought the nose on this wine was excellent.  Delicious red fruit.  On the palate, I found it a little harsh unfortunately.

Wine Advocate was really impressed with this one, rating it 91 points and calling it "a Barbaresco in everything but name" and "a very serious bottle of wine for $25".  I'd rate it 88 points for my palate at this time with hopes that some bottle age will soften the finish a bit and allow the fruit to show through to match the nose.

2006 SOTTIMANO Barbaresco Fausino (Neive) $51
2006 SOTTIMANO Barbaresco Pajore (Treiso) $51

I thought these first two Barbarescos were quite similar- and that's a good thing because they were both really nice wines.  Elegant and complex with pretty red fruits and floral aromatics.  Some tar.  Full of flavor on the palate and enjoyable chalky tannins.  I'd rate both of these wines 91 points.

2006 SOTTIMANO Barbaresco Curra (Neive) $51

This was my favorite wine of the bunch because it offered more ripe, round cherry aromas than the others, along with a flavor profile to match.  I'd rate this wine 93 points.

2006 SOTTIMANO Barbaresco Cotta (Neive) $51

Similar to the first two but more tobacco and earth.  Perhaps a more serious/austere wine compared to the more feminine/elegant first two.  For me, 92 points.

My Favorite (label borrowed from 2005 vintage):

After tasting through the Barbarescos I came back and tried the Langhe Nebbilo again in hopes that perhaps my palate would be conditioned by the other wines and the Nebbiolo would have softened a bit.  I thought it was still a little rough, but given the price I was willing to try a bottle and give it some time in the wine refrigerator.

I thought it was really enjoyable tasting through a bunch of different wines at the same price point with the object being not to pick which one was "best" but rather to pick the one that I enjoyed the most.  Wine Spectator and Wine Advocate thought similarly highly of all of these Barbarescos.  I picked up a bottle of the Curra Barbaresco and I'm looking forward to cracking it open some day.

Question of the Day: What are some of your favorite producers from Barbaresco?


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