Produttori del Barbaresco ‘Ovello’ 2009

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Barolo has become the next Burgundy and Northern Rhone. Expect prices to increase up to double in the next 5 or so years. Luxury buyers are moving in, leaving less and less space for wine geeks, not unlike Vancouver’s real estate market. So it is time to buy the great wines of Piedmont while you can. In my view they and Chablis are the last affordable great wines on the planet and both are quickly disappearing upward.

Value from Economic Distress

Except for the likes of Giacosa and Gaja, Barbaresco has always played second fiddle to Barolo. The upward price pressure on Barolo is likely to trickle over into Barbaresco too, but they are likely to remain a relative bargain for some time.

The Barbaresco wines of Produttori del Barbaresco remain one of the greatest wine bargains available. The current vintage of single vineyard Barbaresco Riservas go for $55 + tax in BC liquor stores, or about 40-50% less than Barolo wines of comparable quality. The cooperative has its roots in economic decline. In the 1950’s many young Italians were leaving rural Italy to head to the cities for work. It was Barbaresco’s village priest, Don Fiorino Marengo, who established the co-operative to stem this tide.

These are also wines made traditionally, with long primary fermentations of 18-21 days, and up to three years in used botti. They show great typicity while the cooperative has also tapped into the modern techniques allowing greater accessibility to these wines. The non-vineyard designate Barbaresco ($42 + tax) is a perfect example of early drinking, classically made Nebbiolo.

Challenging Rules with World-Class Wine

The Ovello vineyard is one of the Produttori’s top 9 crus, made in the best vintages. It is one of the most northerly vineyards in Barbaresco. The soils are limestone and sand and the wines are known for their earthiness and firmer tannin.

Wine pairing principles are extremely useful, but sometimes too restrictive. It is fun to experiment. Sometimes the results fail miserably, others open new possibilities. I took the challenge of pairing the very structured, firm tannins of the Ovello with spicy meat Pizza. This flies in the face of the general principle that spice and tannin do not mix. In my case, it was a great success. The fruit of the 2009 vintage was sufficient to pick up the brightness of the tomato in the pizza and the richness of the cheese proteins mellowed the tannins just enough for the spice to meld well.

And yes, this was truly outstanding Nebbiolo, for a song.

Excellent to Excellent+ and Highly Recommended Value
$55 + tax at BCLDB

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