Featured Producer: Produttori del Barbaresco

Produttori del Barbaresco, Barbaresco 2004 normale
Produttori del Barbaresco, Nebbiolo Langhe 2007, DOC
Produttori del Barbaresco, Nebbiolo Langhe 2008

Produttori del Barbaresco, Barbaresco 2004 normale

I’ve decided to tell you first about the Produttori “Barbaresco” wine label for inspiration:

produttori-barbaresco-2004-thumb2Take a moment to regard the aureus – the gold coin of ancient Rome – imprinted on the wine’s label.  You can see it in the graphic at left.  With bottle in hand, brush your fingers over the aureus, feel its raised, embossed lettering.  Feel the detailed relief of the image bust.  Feel history.  The coin was struck during the reign of Roman Emperor Pertinax, emperor of Rome for just 86 days, who appears to have been born in the area of Barbaresco / Alba.  There is an amazing history associated with the reign of Pertinax, but that is another story, one I hope you become familiar with should you decide to enjoy the wine.

Barbaresco is a charming, characteristically enigmatic wine:  at 14%, it exhibits strength, yet it is a delicate, floral perfume which is one of its most irresistable characteristics; on the palate Barbaresco is full bodied and flavorful, but still one’s sense of touch recognizes a tender, velvetly quality about it; powerful tannins take the stage but maintain a graceful, ballet-like balance with the wine’s other components.  Barbaresco wine is made from 100% Nebbiolo, which can be a finicky, difficult grape to grow.  When conditions are right, however, Nebbiolo produces elegant and complex wines capable of long ageing.

Generally speaking, in the world of Italian wine, the word “co-operative” – a collectively owned organization producing wine – is not always associated with the highest levels of quality.  Produttori del Barbaresco, however, is a solid exception.  Year after year, Produttori del Barbaresco have made their name by pridefully maintaining the highest standards and quality practices.

Produttori del Barbaresco is successor to the original Cantine Sociali founded by Domizio Cavazza in 1893: unfortunately, during the 1920’s, the 9 vineyard owner members who came together to make wine only from the Nebbiolo grape were forced to close the cooperative in the face of fascist economic politics.  When in 1958 a local priest recognized that growers would fare better by sharing resources, a “version 2.0” of the co-op was re-founded with a membership of 19 growers as Produttori del Barbaresco.  Today, the cooperative has grown to approximately 60 members strong, producing approximately 420,000 bottles per year.

Produttori Barbaresco is produced every year from 100 or so hectares of various multiple grower vineyards in the Barbaresco DOCG zone under direct control of the Produttori.  Most are in near proximity to the actual commune of Barbaresco in Italy’s Piedmont region.

The soil is clay like, rich in both calcium and limestone with sandy aspects.

The 2004 vintage is typically full bodied and characterized by bright fruit and floral aromatics with the hallmark strong tannic structure of classic Barbaresco.  The wine was vinified in stainless steel with fermentation completing in 18 days and was then matured for 20 months in oak cask.

Tasting Notes / Impressions:

A musical metaphor is required:  It’s intense – it’s the whole orchestra playing a profound, far reaching melody.  Sweet, ripe cherry fruit embellished with floral notes, spice, herbs, and a hint of balsam pine resonate on the nose and palate. Classic Barbaresco tannins remind you of their authority, never getting out balance in the overall “mix”.  Finally, the finish: reverberation. Echo. Re-echo.  Long and beautiful.

Food pairing suggestions:

Poultry and red meat: try pan fried veal cutlets filled with melted fontina cheese, or a braised beef dish;  Casseroles: bean casserole “Fagiolata” with sliced cabbage and sausage, served with polenta;  Egg pasta with rich meat sauces; Risotto – especially mushroom, truffled, or sausage; Mature cheeses; Fondue.


Produttori del Barbaresco, Nebbiolo Langhe 2007, DOC

produttori-nebbiolo-langheEach year, Produttori del Barbaresco declassifies between 10 – 30 percent of its production to sell as Nebbiolo Langhe. Nebbiolo Langhe – a deliciously second label to Produttori’s Barbaresco – is a wine the quality of Barbaresco, with vivid, characterful, but, younger fruit, good acidity and tannins.

The 2007 Nebbiolo Langhe is made of 100% Nebbiolo grapes from different vineyards in the Barbaresco zone. Vineyard exposures range from south, west, and east, in soil of limestone, rich in calcium, and with sandy components.

Fermentation was carried out in concrete vats with 22 days on the skins. The wine was then matured for six months in large oak.

Tasting Notes / Impressions:

Pretty garnet color with scents of cherries, raspberries, violets, and spice on the nose. Cherries and raspberries continue on to the palate, accompanied by notes of earth and eucalyptus, delicious acidity. Nice articulation, molto elegant 😉

Produttori del Barbaresco Nebbiolo Langhe 2008

Tasting Notes / Impressions

Intensely vivid cherry aromas spin around a scented thread of spice cake. On the palate, red and black cherries, subtle hints of cola and mountain herb. A remarkable intensity of fruit and a long, crystal clean finish. One to consider for your “wines-not-to-miss” list.

Food Pairing Suggestions:

MEATS: Grilled or braised meats – baby lamb chops recommended; POULTRY: Roasted bird or medium-rich sauced breasts; PASTA: Baked and stuffed, gnocchi, try grilled vegetable lasagna; RISOTTO: mushroom; VEGETABLES: Grilled in combination; CHEESES: Medium aged; CURED MEATS


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Joel Mack has worked for a celebrated importer / distributor of Italian wines and continues to study the wines and winemaking of Italy. He has advised many restaurants in making their Italian wine list selections and has provided training to restaurant staff. Today, Joel conducts wine classes and leads specialized private and corporate tastings of Italian wines. Joel carried out his higher education at a highly regarded College of Music and continues to extend an artistic point of view to Italian wine, balanced with factual information about wine, its nature and identity. By day, he applies his time to collaborative software technology. Joel can be contacted at joel at vintrospective dot com.

2 thoughts on “Featured Producer: Produttori del Barbaresco”

  1. Hey, Joel… the Produttori Barbaresco is one of the best Cantine Sociale in Piemonte to this day. It is certainly one of the most welcoming — a visit to the town of Barbaresco is somehow not complete without going in and tasting/drinking some of the local fare.

    I often find that I prefer Barbaresco to Barolo. Both wines are sublimely structured, but Barbaresco can seem more appealing and drinkable.

  2. Diana ! Hello, yes, you make a good point about Barbaresco’s drinkability – there is an incredible smoothness especially in the older vintages. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts !

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