Valle Berta Barbaresco, DOCG, Piemonte, Italy, 2008
Barbaresco neighbours the more famous Barolo on the same, right bank, of the Tanaro, and it is only in these 2 sub-regions that great wine can be made from nebbiolo. It is also planted in the lesser regarded Roero sub-region, more or less opposite on the left bank. There are 4 Barbaresco communes – Barbaresco, Neive, Treiso and San Rocco Seno d’Elvio, with the best quality from Barbaresco.
Barbaresco has similar marly (limestone-clay) soils to Barolo, but lighter and more uniform, hilly too, but with gentler gradients and lesser altitude, at around the 300m mark, rather than Barolo’s 300-400m. The climate is warmer and drier, with grapes ripening 2 weeks earlier than Barolo.
Barbaresco and Barolo have similar aroma and flavour pallettes, as below for example. Where they differ, is in Barolo’s superior structure and power, with Barbaresco appearing more ‘feminine’, with earlier maturation and a shorter life; nevertheless they can be difficult to tell apart.
Best Barbaresco vintages – 2011, 2008, 2001.
This wine – varietal nebbiolo, 2 years ageing in old oak casks, 14% abv, natural cork closure. Available UK about £12.
Needs decanting for an hour.
WSET style tasting note
Appearance – clear and bright, medium intensity garnet, showing tears.
Nose – clean on the nose, medium intensity, developing, with floral aromas of tea rose and violet, fragrant dried herbs, stewed red cherries, a bit smoky.
Palate – the wine is dry, with medium acidity, medium smooth tannins, medium alcohol, medium (+) body, a medium (+) intensity, with flavours of red currant and herbal savoury notes. The finish is long, with a slightly bitter aftertaste with a hint of almond.
Quality: a wine of acceptable quality, with moderate concentration on the nose, but lacking on the palate, balanced with smooth moderate tannin, a long length, but with a bitter note. A food wine.
- D’Agata, I. (2015). Barbaresco, first among equals. Decanter magazine, pp.18-26, April 2015.