2016 Produttori del Barbaresco Langhe Nebbiolo

Year: 2016
Appellation: Piedmont
Country: Italy
Wine Advocate: 91+
Red Wine
Alcohol by Volume: 14.5%
Price :
$19.95

"The 2016 Langhe Nebbiolo was bottled last September and is almost sold out at this point. The next vintage, 2017, will be bottled this upcoming September. Because Produttori del Barbaresco makes its Langhe Nebbiolo with declassified Barbaresco fruit, you see less of this wine in the good vintages and more of the wine in the difficult years (in which not all fruit meets the higher Barbaresco standards and is better sold at the more affordable Langhe Nebbiolo price tag instead). For example, 80,000 bottles were produced in 2016 compared to 120,000 in 2014. That said, Langhe Nebbiolo is quickly becoming its own wine with its own distinct identity and consumer. This is an elegant and silky expression with long flavors of dark fruit, tar, smoke and toasted clove. Best of all: it is a terrific value buy. Too bad not much is left.

Produttori del Barbaresco is about to break a record. It looks very likely that this important co-operative estate will be making its single-vineyard Riserva wines five years in a row. The wines were made in 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and I'm told there is a 90% probability they will be made in 2017. Never have those wines been produced in five back-to-back vintages. The previous record saw them produced three years in a row in 2007, 2008 and 2009 and before that in 1999, 2000 and 2001. This important estate has been making the cru selections since 1978 and the house philosophy is to make them all, or not make them at all. General Manager Aldo Vacca says the co-operative counts 54 members, of which four joined the group within the past three years. Produttori del Barbaresco counts a total of 100 hectares (for an average annual bottle production of 500,000). Each individual farm is very small in size. In terms of winemaking, all Riservas are made in precisely the same way. Fermenting grapes see up to five weeks of skin contact with frequent pump-overs to break the caps during the first couple of weeks. That long maceration time finishes slowly until the wine is separated from the skins. It rests in both stainless steel and cement until malolactic fermentations are complete. During the winter cold in February, the wine undergoes a natural cold stabilization (Nebbiolo loses some of its color here as a result) and is later transferred to 25- and 55-hectoliter botte for three years. Two rackings are completed during this time, with more frequent topping offs. No refining occurs. These Riserva expressions usually see nine months of bottle aging before their commercial release, but times have been shortened to meet market demand. Below is a list of the correct order in which I tasted the single-vineyard wines, starting with the lightest expressions and ending with the most powerful and structured:

1. 2013 Barbaresco Riserva Pora
2. 2013 Barbaresco Riserva Pajè
3. 2013 Barbaresco Riserva Ovello
4. 2013 Barbaresco Riserva Rio Sordo
5. 2013 Barbaresco Riserva Asili
6. 2013 Barbaresco Riserva Rabajà
7. 2013 Barbaresco Riserva Muncagota
8. 2013 Barbaresco Riserva Montefico
9. 2013 Barbaresco Riserva Montestefano " (WA)

Winery Notes:
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