Wine should bring joy. And for lovers of things exquisite, Andrea Sottimano’s wines are evocative, they can yield tears of joy. Here he is, at work and play in one of the family’s vineyards:
In this case, amongst the Dolcetto vines in the Bricco del Salto. As with all the Sottimano vineyards, a very natural viticulture is employed here. Since 1990, the Sottimano have been spared from herbicides, insectides, fertilizers, et al. They are true believers that if the objective is lively wine , the starting point must be a lively vineyard.
The story of Sottimano has been one of brilliant Barbaresco cru vineyard acquisition. In 1975, the founder, Maggiore Sottimano, purchased the vineyard in Cotta, along with the winery and cellar there. When his son, Rino Sottimano, took the helm he expanded the estate in Cotta and also acquired the vineyards of Currà, Fausoni, Pajore’ and Basarin.
Into the 21st Century, the winemaking took a quantum leap attributable to the visions and skills of Maggiore’s son, Andrea. Andrea came to the family business propelled by an inspiration born in Burgundy. It is said that when he saw the vineyards in Neive and Treiso, he saw Gevrey-Chambertin. He has transferred some Burgundian oenology into practice at Sottimano; but he is hardly the only son of the Langhe to do that. And yet, his results are so much more. His wines, among young wines from anywhere, have an elevation that can only be matched by Pinot Noir. In fact, we’ll go way out on a limb here- if your favorite wines triangulate anywhere between Dujac, Bize, and Beaux Freres, you will like what Andrea Sottimano is doing.
So, yes, we love them. But we are not alone: Antonio Galloni:
Here – Now:
Sottimano Barbera Pairolero 2010 ($29.95) $24 special 13 bottles remaining
Antonio Galloni 92 points “One of the many highlights among these new releases, the 2010 Barbera d’Alba Pairolero is all about tension and inward minerality. Firm yet well-integrated tannins and the freshness of a very late harvest mark this vivid, utterly breathtaking Barbera. Readers will want to cellar the 2010 for a few years, and drink the 2009 earlier. A pure, crystalline finish rounds things out in style. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2019.”
Sottimano Dolcetto d’Alba Bric del Salto 2010 ($33.95) $17.70 special 6 bottles remaining
Stephen Tanzer 89 points “Bright red-ruby. Very pure, floral aromas of cherry and licorice. Juicy and elegant, with lovely penetration and definition–not to mention a light touch–to its fresh dark fruit flavors.”
Sottimano Nebbiolo Langhe 2011 ($21.95) $18 special 12 bottles remaining
Not just any Langhe Nebbiolo; this is the aforementioned Basarin vineyard, young vines (10-15 years) with a destiny to become Barbaresco. In fact, this is vinified in exactly the same methods as the Barbaresco, excepting bottled 6 months earlier and released 1 year earlier. Nice wine- approachable, black fruits with a faint dusting of licorice.
Sottimano Barbaresco Cotta 2009 ($59.95) $49 special 24 bottles remaining
Antonio Galloni 92 points “Playing very much true to type, the 2009 Barbaresco Cotta is the richest and roundest of these 2009s. As always, it has the most overt fruit to match its generally supple personality. Here, too the richness of the fruit goes head to head with the formidable tannins all the way through to the finish. This dark, fleshy Barbaresco should enter its sweet spot in another five years or so.”
Wine Spectator 92 points “A bright, cherry- and strawberry-infused red, supported by a base of dusty tannins. Succulent, with the sweet fruit and structure playing off each other through the lingering finish”
Sottimano Barbaresco Curra 2007 ($79.95) $69 special 9 bottles remaining
Antonio Galloni 94 points “The 2007 Barbaresco Curra is a touch more austere and reserved than the Fausoni, but equally compelling. A wall of tannin hides a core of bright red berries, flowers, sweet herbs and licorice that will need at least several years of cellaring to fully emerge. This, too, possesses exceptional length and fabulous overall balance in a textured, captivating style for the year. With time in the glass, this positively explodes on the palate with layers of ripe fruit and structure, resulting in a fabulous wine that represents the epitome of finesse”
Sottimano Barbaresco Fausoni 2007 ($79.95) $59 special 8 bottles remaining
Antonio Galloni 92 points “The Fausoni is usually one of the lighter-weight Barbarescos here, but not in 2007. Dark red fruit, crushed flowers, licorice and sweet baking spices come together beautifully in this ripe, sensual Barbaresco. There is a wonderful richness to the fruit that virtually covers the tannins, all while avoiding any sense of heaviness. Simply put, the Fausoni is an overachiever in this vintage.”
Sottimano Barbaresco Fausoni 2009 ($59.95) $49 special 24 bottles remaining
Antonio Galloni 92 points “A sweet, floral bouquet infused with a note of mint announces the 2009 Barbaresco Fausoni. This mid-weight, gracious Barbaresco is all about finesse, detail and nuance. I very much like the sense of energy here. Firm yet well-balanced tannins frame the long finish. The balance of fruit, acidity and structure is about as harmonious as it gets in 2009.” Wine Spectator 92 points “Cherry, licorice and leather aromas and flavors highlight this rich, fruity Barbaresco. There’s a solid grip of tannins that needs time to integrate. Fine purity and length, with leather and mineral on the aftertaste.”
Sottimano Barbaresco Pajore 2007 ($79.95) $69 special 9 bottles remaining
Antonio Galloni 95 points “The Pajore is the most complete of these 2007 Barbareschi. Sweet baking spices, menthol, minerals and new leather lead to a powerful core of dark fruit. This is a massive, powerful Pajore endowed with tons of fruit and the commensurate tannic structure that will allow it to age gracefully for many years. As is often the case, I am drawn in by the sepia-toned, balsamic nuances that are layered so beautifully into the wine’s fabric. This is an utterly beguiling, large-scaled Barbaresco that will require patience.”
Sottimano Barbaresco Pajore 2009 ($59.95) $51.90 special 36 remaining
Antonio Galloni 93 points “The 2009 Barbaresco Pajore boasts stunning depth, power and richness, all supported by the saline minerality of these poor, white soils. The Pajore is the most fiercely tannic of the 2009s. Layers of menthol, spices, licorice and a host of balsamic notes wrap around the juicy, opulent finish. This is a gorgeous wine, but it also shows the limits of the vintage in tannins that will probably never fully integrate. Stephen Tanzer 93 points “(from a high-altitude, limestone-rich vineyard in Treiso): Good bright red. Sexy, elegant nose offers strawberry, raspberry, tobacco and spices. Juicy and primary for the vintage, with excellent mineral and spicy cut giving precision to the middle palate. Very Treiso in character, and the highest in acidity of these 2009 Barbarescos (6 grams, vs. 5.5 for the others). Finishes energetic and long, with chewy, firm tannins and terrific lift. This really transcends the vintage.”
Sottimano Barbaresco Riserva 2005 ($119.95) $89 special 10 bottles remaining
Antonio Galloni 94 points “The 2005 Barbaresco Riserva is a dense, powerful, fruit-driven Barbaresco that is virtually impenetrable at this stage. This old-vines selection from Cotta and Pajore remains incredibly primary and youthful. Dark fruit, smoke, leather and tar are just some of the notes that linger on the massive yet impressively round, harmonious close.”
Sottimano Barbaresco Riserva 2008 ($99.95) $79 special 12 bottles remaining
Antonio Galloni 94 points “The 2008 Barbaresco Riserva is pure silk and elegance from start to finish. Violets, flowers and sweet Pinot-like fruit meld together in this sensual, mid-weight Barbaresco. The 2008 boasts striking inner perfume, great textural richness and fabulous depth, all backed by silky, polished tannins. It is as impressive in bottle as the separate components were when I tasted them from barrel as young wines. Sottimano’s Riserva is an old-vines bottling from Cotta and Pajore.”