Sottimano Barbera d'Alba Pairolero 2017
Pairolero is a blend of two different vineyards of Barbera in Neive: Basarin and San Cristoforo. The Barbera Pairolero has a dark, inky red, with loads of red fruits, minerals and a touch of graphite on the nose with a long, rich taste in which the fruity components and the spicy notes are well balanced by a good acidity.
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
The 2017 Barbera d'Alba Superiore Pairolero is a gorgeous wine and a standout in this range. Stylistically, it is also one of the wines here that has changed the most in recent years, with a move toward more freshness and energy. Sweet red cherry, mint, blood orange and spice give the 2017 striking vibrancy to play off the naturally rich fruit of the year. I am dating myself, but I still remember when the Barbera here was inky black! Those days are long gone.
Andrea Sottimano and his father Rino produce wines of outstanding quality from thirteen lovingly cared for hectares in the Cotta, Curra, Fausoni, Pajore and Basarin crus in the Treiso and Neive townships. Their Barbarescos are elegant, evocative, subtle yet hearty. To taste these crus side-by-side is to reply with a resounding yes to skeptics of terroir that question whether differences of only 200 meters does matter! Their approach if one of minimal intervention: indigenous yeasts, no fining or filtering. Each of their four crus 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. Every year they produce around 85,000 bottles.
In a sense, “Alba” is a catch-all phrase, and includes the declassified Nebbiolo wines made in Barolo and Barbaresco, as well as the Nebbiolo grown just outside of these regions’ borders. In fact, Nebbiolo d’Alba is a softer, less tannic and more fruit-forward wine ready to drink within just a couple years of bottling. It is a great place to start if you want to begin to understand the grape. Likewise, the even broader category of Langhe Nebbiolo offers approachable and value-driven options as well.
Barbera, planted alongside Nebbiolo in the surrounding hills, and referred to as Barbera d’Alba, takes on a more powerful and concentrated personality compared to its counterparts in Asti.
Dolcetto is ubiquitous here and, known as Dolcetto d'Alba, can be found casually served alongside antipasti on the tables of Alba’s cafes and wine bars.
Not surprisingly, given its location, Alba is recognized as one of Italy’s premiere culinary destinations and is the home of the fall truffle fair, which attracts visitors from worldwide every year.
Friendly and approachable, Barbera produces wines in a wide range of styles, from youthful, fresh and fruity to serious, structured and age-worthy. Piedmont is the most famous source of Barbera; those from Asti and Alba garner the most praise. Barbera actually can adapt to many climates and enjoys success in some New World regions. Somm Secret—In the past it wasn’t common or even accepted to age Barbera in oak but today both styles—oaked and unoaked—abound and in fact most Piedmontese producers today produce both styles.