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.