Finding satin-textured Nebbiolo in Barbaresco that calls to mind Jean Foillard's Morgon Cuvée Corcelette was certainly a surprise. The story here started when a favorite Burgundy producer spread the word our way that this relative newcomer demanded an immediate look. And today, Paolo Veglio's arrival into our Piedmont selection simlply makes me giddy.
Paolo Veglio's story meanders through the cellars of Bruno Giacosa where Paolo's father, an architect, took him as a young boy. Years later in 1991, Paolo returned to Giacosa and asked if he might be interested in purchasing grapes that he was now tending on his home property.
Giacosa asked, "Which vineyard is this?"
Paolo told him it was Roccalini.
Giacosa said, "I'll see you in the morning."
The surprisingly fresh, approachable and remarkably seamless Barbaresco from Roccalini is undoubtedly derived from Paolo's natural approach. Living above the cellar and vines, Paolo knew early on that organic farming was not only necessary for producing the best possible wine, but also for a healthy family life on this estate.
Paolo's insistence on taking the road less traveled in Piedmont leads him to question conventional thinking. He says, "Every time I see something that's too easy, something's not right, something we don't know yet." And, his philosophy at every stage is to take the longer path, one that requires more time, effort, and patience. And, I promise you, what you will find in this bottle will be a revelation unlike any you've had from Piedmont.
Roccalini is a special vineyard, just as Bruno Giacosa knew. It was 10 years of trials before Paolo finally chose to bottle his own family label. Any trepidation about drinking current release Barbaresco can be tossed aside right now. This wine is ready to go and will open your eyes to a very unique spirit in Barbaresco.
2014 Cascina Roccalini Barbaresco Roccalini
$53 per bottle.
I've slowly been amassing this collection from Barbaresco's most historic estate. There's no winery in Piedmont, or perhaps the world, which exemplifies the spirit of collective contribution quite like the Produttori del Barbaresco. Their traditional approach to vinification and aging produce wines that gracefully transform over time. While the single-vineyard Barbarescos garner much of the fame, the blended straightBarbaresco has proven to be one of the world's great values in aged wine. A brilliantly fresh 1988 opened last fall was a testament to this estate that literally put Barbaresco on the bottle.
It was in 1894 when the headmaster of the Royal Enological School of Alba, Domizio Cavazza, created the cooperative by pulling together nine vineyard owners to bottle their wines in his castle. Before then, grapes had been sold off to Barolo producers or simply labeled as "Nebbiolo di Barbaresco". This Cantine Sociali was then closed in the 1930's due to the economic restrictions of fascism. In 1958, the priest of Barbaresco gathered together nineteen growers, knowing the only chance at prosperity was to form as one - the Produttori del Barbaresco was officially founded.
Today, 51 growers are the backbone of production covering nine great single-vineyard Barbarescos: Asili, Rabajà, Pora, Montestefano, Ovello, Pajè, Montefico, Muncagota, and Rio Sordo. Truly reflecting this band of brothers, these prized Barbarescos will only be produced if each one meets the highest standards. Should only one vineyard not make the cut then there will be no single-vineyard wines produced that year.
The Langhe Nebbiolo is the entry-level wine of the Produttori, offering immediate accessibility. The straight Barbaresco is made each year comprised of grapes within the DOCG zone. For me, this is the benchmark bottling of the region, offering a value that consistently delivers well above its price point.
In exceptional years, the nine single-vineyard Barbarescos will be produced. The rigorous standards today are as strong as ever. Barolo saw an exceptional vintage in 2010, but the less consistent quality in neighboring Barbaresco meant that none of the single-vineyard wines would be produced, instead being blended into the straight Barbaresco. It's this strict focus on quality that have endeared these wines to collectors throughout the globe.
2015 Produttori del Barbaresco Langhe Nebbiolo
$23 per bottle.
2011 Produttori del Barbaresco Barbaresco
$35 per bottle.
2011 Produttori del Barbaresco Barbaresco 3L
$169 per bottle.
2011 Produttori del Barbaresco Barbaresco Riserva Montestefano
$54 per bottle.
2006 Produttori del Barbaresco Barbaresco
$56 per bottle.
2006 Produttori del Barbaresco Barbaresco 1.5L
$141 per bottle.
2001 Produttori del Barbaresco Barbaresco
$99 per bottle.
2001 Produttori del Barbaresco Barbaresco 1.5L
$233 per bottle.
2001 Produttori del Barbaresco Barbaresco Riserva Pajé
$84 per bottle.
2001 Produttori del Barbaresco Barbaresco Riserva Ovello
$89 per bottle.
2001 Produttori del Barbaresco Barbaresco Riserva Ovello 1.5L
$189 per bottle.
2000 Produttori del Barbaresco Barbaresco
$93 per bottle.
2000 Produttori del Barbaresco Barbaresco 1.5L
$219 per bottle.
1999 Produttori del Barbaresco Barbaresco Riserva Montestefano
$136 per bottle.
1998 Produttori del Barbaresco Barbaresco
$79 per bottle.
1998 Produttori del Barbaresco Barbaresco 1.5L
$226 per bottle.
1989 Produttori del Barbaresco Barbaresco Riserva Montestefano
$169 per bottle.
1988 Produttori del Barbaresco Barbaresco
$99 per bottle.
1988 Produttori del Barbaresco Barbaresco 1.5L
$236 per bottle.
1985 Produttori del Barbaresco Barbaresco Riserva Rabajá
1979 Produttori del Barbaresco Barbaresco Riserva Rabajá
$173 per bottle.