So, should we be excited? Well, a lot of the wine media and critics parade would have you believe so, but if you’re like me and prefer more traditionally proportioned wines, a word of caution is in order.
2007 is another hot climate vintage for Piedmont, and the wines certainly show it. While many of the wines show a much greater understanding of how to cope with these warm vintages than, say, 1997 and 2003, the fact remains that it’s easy to see the effects.
Many wines show very candied fruit with a large percentage veering off into the cola-flavored end of the spectrum. While the wines generally have excellent acidity, the flavor profile and weight in the mouth all point to the warmth of the vintage.
Barbaresco: What to ExpectBarbaresco is a wine that shares much with its close neighbor Barolo. Both are made with the Nebbiolo grape and from nearly contiguous plots of vines in Piedmont. The slightly warmer climate of Barbaresco, and the resulting earlier harvest, makes these wines a touch lighter and less complex than Barolo, if more elegant and earlier maturing. They share much the same flavor profile with their siblings, though tend to be less intense.
For me, these sort of warm vintages can produce lovely wines, with a richness and fruitiness that is uncommon in Piedmont, but all that ripeness generally comes at a price: Typicity.
There were very few of the 2007 Barbarescos that I tried that really screamed Barbaresco, and relatively few that really screamed Nebbiolo, for that matter. While this may seem a minor quibble to many -- the wines are, after all, full of fruit and mostly well-balanced -- they really didn’t ring my bell like many wines from the so-called “lesser” vintage of 2005.
I won’t go into detail about the 2005’s, been there and done that (but do watch out for my notes from a fabulous tasting of the 2005 Produttori Riservas) -- but they were as a group, fresh, pure, and better balanced wines than these 2007’s. It’s funny in a way, how perceptions have evolved over the years. In the past a weak vintage of wine was often referred to as a restaurant vintage for its easy appeal and early accessibility.
In today’s world there are two distinct types of problem vintage – those that are cool and/or rainy, and those that are too hot and/or dry.
2007 should be looked at as a restaurant vintage of sorts. It will have plenty of detractors, as well as proponents, but the truth is that many of the wines are a bit cooked in flavor. I can’t see most of the wines improving with time; the freshness of their youth gives them some complexity and helps to support those cooked flavors -- for now.
So, if you like this style, drink them sooner rather than later. They are perfect for the restaurant list, and will be sure to please many people. For those who look for something different in Nebbiolo, precision, brightness, red fruit, and elegance – do yourself a favor and look elsewhere. There is a veritable pipeline full of great Barbaresco waiting to be sold, so a smart shopper should have many options from the last three vintages, 2004-2006 – each with its own character and many great wines to choose from.
Having said all that, there were good Barbarescos made in 2007, you just have to be selective and know the style of the wine before diving in. The notes below are from a large tasting, which I try to do blind, though the wines can be viewed, if one wishes. It is sponsored each year by the Albeisa group, a union of producers in Piemonte.
My notes are brief, and should only be used as very general pictures of what each wine offers. The tasting is rather fast-paced, giving me little time in which to form my opinion, and of course these notes are only my opinion, and an opinion about how the wine is showing today. I don’t have enough time to really try and plot out each wine's evolution, though I will make note in the text of a review if I feel a wine shows particular potential for improvement.
So without further ado, please visit page two for Barbaresco 2007, with a few bonus 2005 Riservas thrown in at the end!