Tuesday, 6 October 2015

More from Barbaresco - Cantina Rizzi

In a year when I have posted very little, I am now doing my impersonation of a fleet of buses - here is post number two!

It boils down to excitement over a new estate for the list: Cantina Rizzi in Treiso is one of the top estates in Barbaresco, one which, if googled, might actually reveal some professional critiques. Much of this is down to the sheer size of the estate which, at around 90 acres, must surely be one of the largest in Barbaresco but quality obviously plays a major part too.

I read about them when a friend handed me a copy of Kerin O'Keefe's Barolo and Barbaresco: The King and Queen of Italian Wines (well worth reading if you like Nebbiolo) which includes chapters on each of the communes in both denominations and profiles a small number of recommended estates from each. In Treiso, it was pleasing to see Nada Giuseppe included (especially given its relatively small size) but I was intrigued by the write up of Rizzi so I had to go along to take a closer look.

What I found was a brother-sister team of great charm and a selection of wines to match. Inevitably the highlights were the Barbaresco wines, especially those from the fabulous 2011 vintage (of which Nervo and Pajore were among the very best of all Barbaresco wines I have encountered) but I was also rather struck by a late harvested Moscato.

First, a 2013 Nebbiolo revealed excellent potential and showed great improvement over the few minutes it was in my glass. Fresh and fragrant, it had spent one year in Slovenian oak after its fermentation in stainless steel. Quite tight still and tannic but only bottled three months earlier.

The first Barbaresco was the 2011 Rizzi which was very expressive, still quite chewy with its potential already evident. Good weight, not too tannic with spicy fruit.

More elegant and with finer aromatics, perhaps because of the sandier soils, is the 2011 Barbaresco Nervo which offers lovely sweet fruits and floral characters with long tannins which keep the wine going on and on. A lovely wine in the making.

The 2011 Barbaresco Pajore (pronounced Pie-ore-ay) comes from one of the denomination's very best vineyard sites with more marl in the soil near the village of Barbaresco and it shows. Spicier, more structured, more balsamic in its flavours with quite close tannins. In time this will be a majestic Barbaresco, worthy of its crown.

2010s were all very good but, frankly, the class of the 2011 vintage really shone through, even with the 2010 Barbaresco Riserva Boito, from a vineyard adjacent to Rizzi which was certainly very fine with great length. I will look forward to tasting this in the 2011 vintage!

Needless to say, with my sweet tooth, I loved 'Frimaio', a Vendemio Tardivo from 2009 from pure Moscato. Forget your preconceptions and step into the glass!

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