A Vision of Barbaresco: June 2023

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Special Feature
The Wines of Produttori del Barbaresco
A Vision of Barbaresco
The legacy of Produttori del Barbaresco is the legacy of an appellation and a fiercely visionary line of individuals that have striven to carve its name into the annals of Italy’s finest wines. Until the time of the late 19th century, the vineyard holdings surrounding the town of Barbaresco were exclusively being maintained as a supply of additional grapes for the wineries of the neighboring Barolo appellation. This was until an enterprising educator and viticulturist named Domizio Cavazza arrived with a mind to change the perception of Barbaresco forever. After being rebutted by the governing authorities on the idea of expanding the Barolo appellation to formally include the vineyards of Barbaresco, he took matters into his own hands. With the partnership of 9 Barbaresco landowners in 1894 he formed a cooperative that bottled Barbaresco on its own and with a quality that rapidly won the hearts and attention of local and foreign wine drinkers. 

In the early 1930s this trailblazing cooperative was closed in the face of hardships spun from the economic uncertainties following World War I and the rise of fascism in Italy. The first changing of the guard occurred when a new figure arose to take on the mantle of the former glory achieved by Cavazza. Don Fiorino, a parish priest of high esteem in the town of Barbaresco rallied 19 growers from 1954-1958 to light the fire that Cavazza started over 60 years earlier and formed the Produttori del Barbaresco more or less as we know it today. Eschewing the potential to perhaps earn more from focusing on additional grape varieties like barbera and dolcetto, the winery cemented its stance on only top quality nebbiolo grapes for its bottlings. The only winery in the Langhe region to do so.

Today (and for the last 20+ years) the management of Produttori lies in the hands of the talented but humble Aldo Vacca, a man whose respect for the wines are matched by his respect for the history that they represent. Having had both of his grandfathers be part of the original 19 founding growers of the cooperative, and his own father as managing director from 1958-1984, Aldo is firmly aware of the responsibility he has to continue the legacy of this great winery. Aldo had previously worked with wine legend Angelo Gaja, which has partly shaped his perspective on the potential that Barbaresco has and the unique qualities that distinguish it from its neighbors.

The vineyard holdings of Produttori have never been more impressive. Total incorporated growers now number 51, and the plots that the cooperative has to work with are the finest in the entire appellation. Since 1967 the winery has often offered single-vineyard Riserva bottlings from the finest plots in excellent years and these continue to be the gems of the portfolio. Here at Vinopolis we have an incredibly deep inventory of Produttori’s wines, many of them aged to perfection and expressing a fineness of character that cannot be yet replicated by younger bottlings. We’ve long been committed to offering Produttori for our customers as there is no other winery that could hope to embody the soul of Barbaresco in the same way. These wines are utterly delicious, perfumed, and nuanced. Will you be drinking to history with us?

Produttori del Barbaresco Ovello, Barbaresco Riserva DOCG 2013 750ml $79 special, 36+ bottles available
Vinous 96 points“The Produttori’s 2013 Barbaresco Riserva Ovello is all power, tension and nerve. Even so, the 2013 is remarkably civilized and much less austere than young Ovello Barbarescos usually are. Scents of cranberry, white pepper and mint give the wine its signature high-toned aromatics. The Ovello has a Volnay-like purity to its fruit, with Nebbiolo tannins and structure, of course. If that sounds appealing, well, it is. Vivid, sculpted and impossibly beautiful, the Ovello is simply magnificent.”
Wine Advocate 95+ points“The 2013 Barbaresco Riserva Ovello is the third wine tasted in our lineup of Produttori del Barbaresco Riservas and is one of my favorite expressions overall. The Ovello vineyard site sees a greater presence of limestone in its soil composition, and this factor helps to develop the tannic structure and consistency of the wine. At 18 hectares, Ovello is one of the biggest cru sites sourced by this co-operative estate. Twelve separate farmers tend to their private parcels in Ovello. Fruit from this site is often the main component of Produttori’s base Barbaresco along with blending material from Montestefano, Pora and Muncagöta (previously known as Moccagatta). You notice the color graduation getting darker here. The bouquet is expressive and bright and reflective of the cool and crisp late summer and pre-harvest nights. Some 17,000 bottles were made along with 1,500 magnums.”

Produttori del Barbaresco Pora, Barbaresco Riserva DOCG 2014 750ml $66 special, 36+ bottles available
Vinous 94 points “The 2014 Barbaresco Riserva Pora is a dark, sensual beauty. Deeply spiced and balsamic, with tremendous textural richness, the Pora is utterly beguiling. I can’t remember a Pora with this much depth, textural resonance and brooding intensity. The 2014 needs at least a few years to be at its best, but it is superb even in the early going. I won’t be surprised if the 2014 turns out to be better than this note suggests.”
Wine Spectator 93 points “Round and supple, exuding cherry, berry, licorice, eucalyptus and tar flavors. Harmonious and well-built, with a long aftertaste of menthol. Best from 2021 through 2038.—B.S.”

Produttori del Barbaresco Ovello, Barbaresco Riserva DOCG 2014 1.5L $139 special, 6 bottles available
Vinous 95 points “The 2014 Barbaresco Riserva Ovello is bright and piercing, as it so often is, and yet it also has more than enough fruit to fill out its mid-weight, energetic frame. Pine, mint, crushed rocks and sweet red plum build into the huge, piercing finish. The Ovello is another wine in this range that demands patience. Even in the early going it is super impressive. The 2014 s an unusually dense, packed Ovello. It should be terrific in another few years’ time.”
Wine Advocate 95 points “Always one of my favorite wines from Produttori del Barbaresco, the 2014 Barbaresco Riserva Ovello lays out a broad and soft mouthfeel, with tannins that have already been polished and integrated thanks to ample time in the bottle already. It’s safe to say that this Ovello cru loyally demonstrates the level of richness and textural softness that this site is known for. The bouquet is redolent of bright berry fruit with cherry, blackberry and plum. Also, the 2014 vintage was a warm one at the end of the growing season, and you taste a little bit of that ripeness here too.”

Produttori del Barbaresco Pora, Barbaresco Riserva DOCG 2015 750ml $66 special, 16 bottles available
Wine Enthusiast 95 points “Underbrush, wild herb and dark-skinned-berry aromas form the nose along with a whiff of camphor. On the firm, structured palate, tightly knit but noble tannins offset dried Marasca cherry, cranberry, orange zest and star anise. Tense and youthfully austere, it needs a few years to unwind. Drink 2022–2027.”
Wine Advocate 94 points “Following the suggestion of Produttori del Barbaresco General Manager [Aldo] Vacca, I am starting off this series of nine Riservas with the 2015 Barbaresco Riserva Pora. This wine is usually the most delicate, slender and ephemeral of this set. However, I can immediately confirm that this is not necessarily the case with this exuberant 2015 vintage. The sunny heat of the growing season has successfully drawn out more fruit weight and intensity in this edition of Pora. The wine overdelivers in terms of aromas, but its streamlined and polished personality follows through to the palate. Those divergent intensity levels will smooth out with more bottle age. Some 16,666 bottles were released.
Decanter 94 points “Pora is one of Barbaresco’s largest vineyards, situated on a southwest-facing slope close to the river where the soils are relatively fertile and loose. Produttori has made a wine from Pora since 1967, and today around 16,500 bottles are produced in vintages when it’s made. This 2015 still has a pronounced woody aroma, and while it’s mouthilling it manages to retain some elegance. It’s obviously youthful: the vanilla- and spice-infused wood flavours dominate and hold your attention, the fruit unable as of yet to punch through. It does have plenty of promise, however, and you could expect the succulent and ripe fruits to hold more sway over the next decade as the wood integrates. Drinking Window 2024 – 2040.”

Produttori del Barbaresco Muncagota, Barbaresco Riserva DOCG 2016 750ml $79 special, 33 bottles available
Wine Spectator 95 points “Balsamic notes of juniper, eucalyptus and pine align with floral, cherry and black currant flavors in this supple, well-structured red. Balanced and long, with a lingering aftertaste of rose, cherry and mineral. Best from 2024 through 2043. —B.S.”
Vinous 94+ points “The 2016 Barbaresco Riserva Muncagota continues this tasting of frankly awe-inspiring wines. Rich, deep and super-expressive, the 2016 hits all the right notes. Black cherry, plum, spice, leather, licorice emerge, but only with great reluctance. The Muncagota is another wine in this range that clearly needs time.”

Produttori del Barbaresco Ovello, Barbaresco Riserva DOCG 2017 750ml $85 special, 30 bottles available
Wine Advocate 94+ points “One of the bigger productions (with 17,744 bottles) in the Produttori del Barbaresco’s portfolio is the 2017 Barbaresco Riserva Ovello. All of the Riservas in this vintage are characterized by especially exuberant and bold aromas, and this bottle is a prime example. Cassis, wild cherry, tobacco, rusty nail and licorice build intensity. The wine is tapered and silky in texture, but it also offers a good amount of power (and 15% alcohol) to carry it through the aging process.”
Wine Spectator 94 points “Taut and sinewy, boasting cherry, black currant, grass, iron and tar notes. Powerful tannins drive the finish, which is compact for now. In the end, this is lightly astringent, but has plenty of drive and should find equilibrium with time. Best from 2026 through 2043. —B.S.”
Vinous 94 points “The 2017 Barbaresco Riserva Ovello is a heady, explosive wine. I don’t think I have ever tasted an Ovello from the Produttori with this much heft. The strong mineral and saline accents typical of this site are present, but they are matched pound for pound by notable mid-palate richness and intensity in its fruit. The 2017 is a brooding powerhouse that needs time to unwind.”
Produttori del Barbaresco Rabaja, Barbaresco Riserva DOCG 2017 750ml $85 special, 22 bottles available
Wine Advocate 96+ points “The Produttori del Barbaresco 2017 Barbaresco Riserva Rabajà is another spectacular release from this cooperative winery that hits it out of the ballpark with each set of new releases. That impressive track record includes this wine that delivers extreme focus, depth and integrity. The bouquet is very clear cut with dark cherry, tart plum, spice and blood orange, but it is also complex and fluid. It offers new perspectives with each swirl of the glass. From a hot vintage, the Rabajà is smooth, powerful and balanced. I would bet on long aging for this bottle. 14,438 bottles were produced.”
Wine Spectator 95 points “Dense, featuring fruit flavors of plum, cherry and raspberry, with accents of tar, eucalyptus and iron. A powerful red that needs time to resolve the muscular tannins, with plenty of ripe fruit coursing underneath. Best from 2026 through 2043. —B.S.”
Vinous 94 points “The 2017 Barbaresco Riserva Rabajà is a potent, searingly tannic wine that will need a few years to come together. Brooding and backward, even for young Rabajà, the 2017 is painfully young today. It will be interesting to see what time brings. Today, the 2017 is a real powerhouse. Black fruit, menthol, licorice, melted road tar, game and menthol develop in the glass, but only with great reluctance.”
Produttori del Barbaresco Barbaresco DOCG 2018 750ml $44.50 special, 32 bottles available
Wine Advocate 93 points “Packaged in its distinctive brown paper label, the Produttori del Barbaresco 2018 Barbaresco is a beautifully lean and luminous expression of Nebbiolo, and that pretty color should remain intact over time. The aromas are bold and ripe with dark and purple fruit, but the bouquet shows interesting twists with earth, truffle, licorice and grilled herb. As the wine opens in the glass, you begin to notice heavier aromas of raisin and dried apricot. It wears a warm-vintage signature for sure, and for that reason, I would suggest a shorter drinking window for the 2018. With an ample 300,000 bottles made, you get a great value with this bottle.”
James Suckling 93 points “Lovely barbaresco, with all the typical nebbiolo characteristics, such as red berries, mushrooms and dried leaves, as well as hints of bitter orange peel and spice. All this follows through to the medium-to full-bodied palate, where fine, lightly firm tannins add a little grip and additional focus. Compact, but bursting with flavor. Delicious now, but give it a year or two. It will only get better.”

Many more Produttori wines are also available below!
Vintage Wine Points Price/Quantity
2013 Produttori del Barbaresco Muncagota 750ml Vinous 94 $69 special, 36+ bottles
2014 Produttori del Barbaresco Muncagota 750ml Vinous 94  $69 special, 9 bottles 
2016 Produttori del Barbaresco Pora 750ml  Vinous 95 $79 special, 15 bottles
2017 Produttori del Barbaresco Pora 750ml  Wine Advocate 94 $75 special, 13 bottles
2016 Produttori del Barbaresco Rio Sordo 750ml  Wine Spectator 95  $75 special, 9 bottles
2017 Produttori del Barbaresco Rio Sordo 750ml Wine Advocate 95 $75 special, 8 bottles
2017 Produttori del Barbaresco Montestefano 750ml Wine Advocate 96 $75 special, 2 bottles
2017 Produttori del Barbaresco Paje 750ml Wine Advocate 94 $85 special, 20 bottles
2017 Produttori del Barbaresco Ovello 1.5L Wine Advocate 94+  $179 special, 2 bottles
2017 Produttori del Barbaresco Rabaja 1.5L Wine Advocate 96+ $189 special, 2 bottles
2019 Produttori del Barbaresco Barbaresco 750ml Jeb Dunnuck 94-95  $48.50 special, 36+ bottles

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