O tempora, o Nebbiolo

March 3, 2009

O tempora, o mores, to borrow a phrase from Cicero. Times are tough all around and these days I’m slinging a wine bag on my back and hitting the streets, hawking wine. I’m a traveling salesman like my maternal grandfather Maurice (poppa, we used to call him; my paternal grandfather was a rabbi, our zaidi — Yiddish for grand-père — but that’s another story). But as fate would have it, I consider myself lucky inasmuch I get to sell a lot of wines that I genuinely love (my new gig is with the Austin-based Mosaic Wine Group; check out the new blog we launched here). The other day I got to pour multiple vintages of one of my favorite wines (as anybody who follows my blog knows so well), Produttori del Barbaresco: I led a guided tasting of the 2004 and 2005 Barbaresco and 2006 Langhe Nebbiolo the other night at The Austin Wine Merchant in downtown Austin, Texas.

I didn’t get to participate in the Piedmont edition of Wine Blogger Wednesday, orchestrated smashingly by David McDuff at his excellent blog McDuff’s Food and Wine Trail, and so he graciously honored me with a guest blogger spot writing about Produttori del Barbaresco and my recent tasting notes at his kick-ass web log (one of my daily reads).

To read my tasting notes (including my translation of the winery’s 2006 vintage notes), click here.

In other news…

As my friend and dissertation adviser Luigi Ballerini used to say whenever we ate Japanese: oh tempura, oh soy sauce!


From the archives: interview with Aldo Vacca, winemaker Produttori del Barbaresco

February 25, 2009

Fortune has smiled on me lately: I’ve had the opportunity to taste a lot of 2004 and 2005 Barbaresco and 2006 Langhe Nebbiolo by Produttori del Barbaresco side-by-side over the last few weeks and it’s been really great to see how the 04 has been evolving in bottle, to experience the differences between the 04 and 05, and to get a preview of what the 06 will be like by tasting the Langhe Nebbiolo from the same vintage. If you happen to be in Austin today, come by Austin Wine Merchant to taste Produttori del Barbaresco with me. I’ll be pouring all three of the above wines. Click here for details.

Here’s a post from the Do Bianchi archives: an interview I did with Produttori del Barbaresco winemaker Aldo Vacca last year where he gives some notes on the 2006 and 2007 vintages. Buona lettura!

Earlier this year [January 2008], Produttori del Barbaresco’s president and winemaker Aldo Vacca (left) took time out from his importer’s grand portfolio tasting to talk to me about recent vintages and the cooperative’s approach to winemaking.

Produttori del Barbaresco has always stood apart for its steadfast traditionalist approach to winemaking. Where do you see Produttori in relation to the current trend of modern-style Nebbiolo?

You have to understand that the winemaking tradition in Langhe comes from an entirely agricultural mentality, a “farmer” culture. Early on, we were insecure, if you will. We didn’t have enough faith in our land. This insecurity led a number of winemakers to adopt a modern approach. There are also a lot of new producers who have only recently begun making wine in Langhe. Many of them don’t have the respect for our tradition of winemaking. This trend has developed over the last 20 years and has had a big impact. But I also see that many producers are returning to a more traditional approach.

Produttori del Barbaresco has never changed its style. From the beginning, Produttori has always made wine using traditional methods [extended maceration, natural fermentation, and aging in traditional botti, large oak casks]. The winery’s style is very distinct but the wines are always respectful of the terroir.

How are as-of-yet unreleased vintages showing?

Both 2007 and 2006 were very good vintages in Langhe. 2006 saw a warmer summer and it will be a more “fleshy”* wine, with softer tannins, while 2007 is comparable to long-lived vintages like 1996 and 2001.

The harvest came early in 2007, but this was not because of a hot summer. It was due to the fact that the mild, dry winter caused the growing cycle to begin early. As a result, we harvested early. 2007 has intense tannins and high acidity [good signs for long-lived Nebbiolo].

* Aldo and I conversed in Italian and it’s interesting to note that he used the English “fleshy” to describe his impression of the wine.


Produttori del Barbaresco tomorrow in Austin

February 24, 2009

From the “this is my favorite wine ever” department…

Above: There won’t be any pizza (sorry, Franco) at tomorrow’s tasting but there will be 2004 and 2005 classic Barbaresco by Produttori del Barbaresco and 2006 Langhe Nebbiolo. These are some of favorite wines and favorite vintages. (I snapped the above photo last summer at Mamma Mia Pizzeria in Pacific Beach, San Diego.)

If you happen to be in Austin tomorrow, please come see me at Austin Wine Merchant where I’ll be pouring my beloved Produttori del Barbaresco. Click here for details. A vertical of Produttori del Barbaresco? Life could be worse…


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 5,129 other followers

%d bloggers like this: