tastings

Saturday February 29

Pillars of Piedmont

Coppo Barbera d’Asti ‘Camp du Rouss’ 2017

The region of Asti in Piedmont is certainly the spiritual home of Barbera and is where the variety probably originated. While Barbera d’Alba may be better known in the US, Barbera d’Asti is the quality leader. In Alba most of the best vineyard sites are planted to Nebbiolo with Barbera relegated to whatever land was left over, In Asti producers only grow Barbera which means all the best vineyards are dedicated to growing the best Barbera. The history of Coppo is closely linked to the history of Piedmont. The origins of the winery date back to 1892 and for 120 years the Coppo family has remained the sole owner. Since the very beginning their wines have been made solely from estate vineyards and bottled under the name Coppo, making it one of the oldest family-run wineries in Italy. I was excited to taste the 2017 Camp du Rouss, not just because 2017 was a great vintage for Barbera d’Asti, but also because I remember how good the 1993 Camp du Rouss was (it was the first serious Barbera ever sold at Fountainhead). A deeply colored wine with intense aromas of red, ripe fruits and spice that are mirrored on the palate with notes of leather and herbs. The texture is luscious with soft tannins, but Barbera’s bright acidity keeps the long finish fresh and focused. $21

Renato Fenocchio Barbaresco ‘Starderi’ 2015

Although Barbaresco shares a border with Asti their red wines have almost nothing in common. In Barbaresco, as is the case in Barolo to the east, Nebbiolo is king. Barbaresco is a wine that conveys the essence of its terroir, it’s truly a reflection of place. Along with Pinot Noir, Nebbiolo is the variety that is most expressive of where it grows, hence the astonishing number of single vineyard designations (crus) in Barbaresco and Barolo as is seen in Burgundy. One could make a case that Nebbiolo is even more sensitive to its surroundings than Pinot Noir is, after all, there are plenty of great Pinot Noirs made in many parts of the world outside of Burgundy, but Nebbiolo only succeeds in this small corner of northeast Italy.  While still powerful wines capable of long aging, one could say Barbaresco shows a more feminine side of Nebbiolo featuring softer tannins, delicate fruit and elegant perfume when compared to Barolo. This is an impressive wine made by an under the radar family estate from the organically farmed Starderi single vineyard. Classic Nebbiolo aromas and flavors of rose petal, tobacco, cherry, strawberry, violets, tar and spice. Approachable now, I enjoyed it on Christmas Eve with prime rib, It has exceptional aging potential and could be cellared for up to 12 years. Early results point to 2015 being an exceptional vintage in Barbaresco and this is one of the best values I’ve come across from Barbaresco in years. $42

10% off any 6 bottles mix and match

Saturday March 7

Biodynamic Châteauneuf-du-Pape

 

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