Moving on, yet staying within the commune of Barbaresco, my next visit brought me to the hill of Montestefano, where Teobaldo Rivella has been farming two hectares of Nebbiolo organically for decades. These are wines that were new to me and yet at the same time harken back to a time and style of wine that we are very close to losing. Rustic, earthy, complex and particularly honest, these are wines that clearly reflect their place. To be sure the natural winemaking that takes place here does leave an impression on the wine, one which you may or may not enjoy, but they are remarkable wines. With only a single Barbaresco produced each year, still under the brand founded by his father Serafino Rivella, getting a better feel for Teolbaldo’s wines might take a bit of time, but I look forward to better understanding how the wines age and develop in the bottle. If a 1989 recently enjoyed is any indication I would say quite well.
My final visit in Barbaresco, and of the whole trip in fact, brought me to the Cascina delle Rose, still in the village of Barbaresco. While I had enjoyed several vintages of their Barbaresco in the past, as part of large tastings, I was not fully prepared for the wines here. Starting with both Dolcetto and Barbera, stunning examples of each, and moving through their pair of Barbarescos I was struck by the detail and grace of these wines. To put things in perspective, the owners Giovanna and Italo opened a bottle of their 2004 Barbera Donna Elena and it could easily be the wine of the day on any given day tasting Barolo and Barbaresco!
The wines are made by their son Davide, and one might be tempted to call him a rising young star, which though technically true falls to capture the commitment this young man has made. Starting at the age of nine he began pruning the vines that lie in the Rio Sordo and Tre Stelle crus that back up against the family winery. Today at the age of 26 Davide is making some of the best wines in Barbaresco. Period. These are brilliant wines and they remain fabulous values. I don’t intend to regret not buying them further down the road when they receive the full attention that they deserve. The 2011s out of botte look to be a phenomenal pair of wines, be ready for them.
So that’s the short of my trip, the long follows with the detailed notes on the wines tasted. Stylistically Cantina del Pino, Marchese di Gresy, and Serafino Rivella each will find their audience, though I expect the overlap there to be a bit limited. Produttori stands on their over five decades of producing some of the finest wines in all of Italy, as they continue to produce benchmark wines. And then there is Cascina delle Rose, an exciting discovery that could turn just about anyone into a devoted lover of Nebbiolo. If you get the chance to visit Cascina delle Rose, I urge you to try their grappa as well. I almost passed on the opportunity but these two grappe, one of Barbera, which exploded with notes of chocolate and oranges, the other of Nebbiolo and full of fennel and lemon notes are the best grappa I’ve had in a very long time, and I do not shy away, usually, from indulging in my love of grappa!