SOTTIMANOPIEMONTE, ITALY

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Having first visited nearly 10 years ago and spending more and more time in Piemonte over the years, I still haven’t found better value and quality wines across everything they make. The care and attention they show for their Dolcetto and Barbera is the same they exhibit for their Barbareschi Crus.

Owning select parcels in coveted vineyards (Cru’s) within the region, Pajore, Basarin, Cotta, Curra and Fausoni, their dedication to the vine, and gentle nurturing within their winery (which is accessed through a cellar door in their home kitchen), the varietal expression the wines o er is unparalleled, and when tasted side by side, the terroir is channelled overwhelmingly through each wine (of which some are grown within 200 m of each other)

The approach here is one of minimal intervention: indigenous yeasts, no fining or filtering. No insecticides are used and only organic fertilizers are used, and only minimally. Each of their four cru Barbarescos are given the same treatment to allow the uniqueness of each cru to express itself. Fermentation is done in oak, of which about 30% is new, followed by 18-20 months in neutral barriques.

The “Cottà,” always the most fruit-driven of the crus, comes from 25-year old vines and features notes of red and black fruits and re ned nuances of mint. The “Fausoni,” from 40-year old vines, is the softest and most oral of the four, with trademark notes of mint and licorice and a rm core of vibrant acidity; elegant “Currà” is a big mouthful, extracted and built for the long term. The more traditional “Pajoré” from the Treiso area is the epitome of elegant austerity, with striking balance and perfect ripeness.

Dolcetto “Bric del Salto” is varietally stunning as is the barrique- aged Barbera “Pairolero” and the Langhe Nebbiolo, made entirely from declassified Basarin (a coveted ‘cru’ in itself) fruit. To experience these truly singular wines is to understand why they are rare gems indeed.