On a conjunction of two ridges that form the village of Barbaresco, often thought of as the quintessential Barbaresco. Initially quite shy, Rabaja builds and is easily in the top Crus each vintage. Having had 16 years in a great cellar it is time to enjoy this wine for its earthy, savoury, pine and mushroom characters. Red and blue fruits are still evident and the palate is plush and tart in a way that only old wine can attain. Mushroom risotto would be wonderful.
The Produttori del Barbaresco are a Piemontese winemaking cooperative and are credited with dramatically changing the course of Italian winemaking by understanding the value and importance of vineyard-designated crus. They produced the first bottle of Barbaresco in the late 19th century and the founder of the winery, Professor Domizio Cavazza, is considered to be the ‘Father of Barbaresco’.
The Produttori del Barbaresco represents 56 growers in the Barbaresco wine zone who tend their 100 hectares of Nebbiolo vines for the winemaking cooperative, located in the heart of the region. In years following exceptional growing conditions where the grapes are of the highest quality from their specific vineyard sites, the winery will vinify these parcels separately and label them individually. When the vintage conditions have not been ideal, the single vineyards are all blended together and put under their standard Barbaresco label.
There are nine single vineyards under the Produttori del Barbaresco label. Their names are Muncagota, Pora, Rio Sordo, Paje, Asili, Rabaja, Ovello, Montefico and Montestefano. These wines are all made with 100% Nebbiolo grapes and are fermented on their skins for 28 days, then aged for 36 months in large oak casks, followed by two years in bottle to qualify as a Riserva.”
I’ve been lucky to taste a range of their single cru wines. Tanninc, earthy, minerally, savoury, spicy, subtle but layered. A brilliant wine but it needs another 15-20 years. I think Barbaresco (and its close cousin Barolo) are some of the best wines in the world and should be part of everyone’s cellar.
Barbaresco DOCG – Often overshadowed by the more famous Barolo, it is also 100% Nebbiolo but only requires 2 years aging (4 for Riserva). The vintages seem to be the same for both regions but the Barbaresco wines tend to be more elegant and of lighter body. The villages here are Treviso, Nieve and Barbaresco.
Nebbiolo – Famously producing long lived red wines which are light of colour, but abundant in tannin from Barolo, Barbaresco and various other local wines. This is the variety that defines the region. Typical flavours include: Tar, roses, anise, cherry, blackberry and truffle.