Barbaresco is a dry, elegant, full-bodied red wine, rich in tannin, with a very complex nose. At maturity, when it has fully developed for a few years, it reveals aromas of dry flowers, violets, white truffles, anise and more. In its youth it is closed in the mouth with nice, fruity aromas and a spicy, tannic finish becomes smoother. Traditionally drunk with game, meat, fowl, polenta, fonduta and white truffle dishes of the Piedmont, Barbaresco is a rich complement many foods. The wine is long on the palate and, once opened, a bottle can be drunk for three, four days. The best serving temperature is around 18 degrees C (65 degrees F).
Produttori del Barbaresco Winery
Before 1894, Nebbiolo grapes were sold to make Barolo wine or simply labeled Nebbiolo di Barbaresco. But in 1894, Domizio Cavazza, headmaster of the Royal Enological School of Alba and a Barbaresco resident, created the first cooperative, the Cantine Sociali, by gathering together nine Barbaresco vineyard owners to make wine in the local castle that he owned. He understood well the differences between the same grape, the Nebbiolo, grown in the different areas of Barolo and Barbaresco and, for the first time, recognized it on the wine label. The Cantine Sociali was closed in the 1930s because of fascist economic rules. In 1958, the priest of the village of Barbaresco, recognizing that the only way the small properties could survive was by joining their efforts, gathered together nineteen small growers and founded the Produttori del Barbaresco. The first three vintages were made in the church basement, then in the winery built across the square where the Produttori is still located. United once again, the small growers continued the work started by Domizio Cavazza, producing only Barbaresco wine and enhancing both the reputation of the wine and the village.
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Piedmont is located in the Northwest area of Italy, hugging the Mediterranean coast. The regional capital, Turin, is situated smack in the middle of the province. Being close to the alps, the area enjoys a high altitude, with the best vineyards benefiting from the hills and elevation. Known for its famous sub-districts, Piedmont delivers some of the most distinctive, high-quality, ageable wine of Italy. Most popular are the DOCG districts Barolo and Barbaresco, producing Nebbiolo-based wine of the same name. Two other DOCGs of note are Gattinara and Gheme – both make wine from Nebbiolo and are typically earlier to drink but more rustic than their Barolo and Barberesco partners. City-districts in the DOC category include Alba and Asti, where wine like Dolcetto d'Alba and Barbera d'Asti is made, putting the grape name before the town.
Not just regulated to red wine, Piedmont also produces some notable whites, particularly those near the district of Gavi and Asti. Gavi produces still white wine from the Cortese grape. The wine is dry with a crisp, citrus-like acidity – fairly neutral but pleasant. Arneis is another grape/wine made in the area, creating a fuller wine that displays some nuttiness in the aroma and taste. Asti is well known for its sparkling wine – in particular Asti Spumante and Moscato d'Asti. Asti Spumante is typically higher in alcohol, sweetness & fizziness, while its higher-class cousin, Mostcato d'Asti, contains lower alcohol levels, a few less bubbles, and a more restrained and delicate representation of Moscato fruit.
This country has about as many wines as its had governments. With 20 different regions, hundreds of DOCs and even more indigenous varieties, the amount of wine made in Italy is mind-boggling. Most of the juice, however, remains in the country for thirsty Italians. Wine is food in Italy and its rare that a meal is consumed without a glass
of vino. That said, it's not common to find many folks drinking wine without food either. In turn, it's a match, and a mighty good one at that. In fact, it's safe to say that Italian wine is a foodie wine – one that goes on the table for a myraid of meals.
Most wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Crisp
Light to medium bodied wines that are high in acid and light to medium fruit. Typically no oak.
Fruity & Smooth
Light to medium bodied wines with lots of juicy fruit, typically medium acid and medium oak.
Rich & Creamy
Full bodied wines that have typically undergone malo-lactic fermentation and/or spent time in oak.