Produttori - Explained

4/17/12 -

Over the past few years we’ve been lucky to taste many older vintages of the Produttori del Barbaresco – back to the early 1960s. If there is another wine making cooperative in the world that can come close to the Produttori’s long history of consistently producing high quality wine, we’d love to know about it!

In most vintages the Produttori bottle 9 different Barbaresco vineyards. On a few occasions we’ve tasted all of these wines together, and they provide a fascinating tour of Barbaresco terroir, with each wine reflecting  the distinct character of each piece of land.  The list below appears in the order typically presented at the Produttori winery.

Pora is a bit warmer – it’s closer to the Tanaro river, on heavy clay, and the fruit can be quite ripe and rich, if not as elegant as some of the other Crus. Pora can age beautifully.

Rio Sordo, “drinks well young”, says Aldo Vacca, director of the Produttori; it’s often a bit more rustic, while intensely aromatic.

Asili, when mature, can be very Burg like – the  vineyard is mostly clay over limestone that gives the wine lift and aromatic intensity. One of the most famous Crus of the region, Asili is well known for producing long-lived and complex wines.

Paje  is south-facing, at relatively high elevation. Young Paje can seem austere (many cognoscenti compare it to Rabaja in quality, if on a kind of junior basis); the wines need time to open up. By way of further context: you may have tasted Roagna’s excellent Paje - a structured wine of depth that repays cellaring.

Ovello is the largest Produttori production (about 1500 cases); Ovello tends to be more structured than the proceeding vineyards, along with a deeper / richer fruit character.

Moccagatta is now called Muncagota (taken from an old Piemontese family name), part of the extensive redefinitions of the vineyard borders in Barbaresco and Barolo. Either way, it’s a great vineyard that can provide slightly more delicate and Burgundian-styled  wine than some of the beefier crus.

Rabaja – good Rabaja - is burly when young; elegant and refined with age. Rabaja is perhaps the most famous vineyard in Barbaresco (as with Asili, this is due in part to the extraordinary wine made there by Bruno Giacosa).

Montefico  is also considered one of the best vineyards in the region (a Montestefano was one of the first single-vineyard wines bottled in Barbaresco), also with a high clay content in the soil, making powerful, elegant, and very mineral-driven wine.

Last fall I shared a bottle of 1967 Produttori Montestefano with friends. In short, the wine was brilliant and very alive, and not in any rush to be consumed. The structure of young Montestefano is similar to that of a powerful Barolo; combined with good ripeness as in 2007, the wine will last a very long time.


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