Barbaresco is one of the great wines of the Piedmont region in northwestern Italy. Historically it was called Nebbiolo di Barbaresco (Nebbiolo being the grape it’s made from) and was used by the Austrian General Melas to celebrate his victory over the French in 1799. Only in the middle of the 19th Century was the wine we know today vinified into a dry style.
This aristocratic red was awarded its DOCG classification in 1980. Its vineyards are situated in the Langhe, on the right-hand side of the Tanaro river and extending from the area northeast of Alba to the communes of Barbaresco, Neive and Treiso, as well as San Rocco Senodelvio (once part of the Barbaresco municipality but now part of Alba). The dominant variety grown is Nebbiolo, but Dolcetto and Barbera also play a part.
Similar to its more famous sibling Barolo, Barbaresco is made from 100 percent Nebbiolo and shares its cult status as one of the finest wines in the world. However, there are several differences between the two. Barbaresco has a slightly maritime climate: warmer, drier and milder than its neighbor. This means its grapes tend to ripen earlier than those in Barolo. As a result, the wines are less tannic and more approachable at an earlier age. However, there is still plenty of acidity and tannins to make this an age worthy red. Barbaresco is characterized by its rich, spicy flavors and perfumed sweetness and is considered more elegant and refined than its counterpart, which is a more robust and longer-lived red.
Regulations stipulate that Barbaresco must have a minimum alcohol content of 12.5 percent and undergo two years of aging, one of which must be spent in wooden barrels. For the added designation of riserva, the ageing increases to four years, with one of those years in wood.
The nose of this wine is full of ripe red fruit with spice and herbaceousness finishing with cacao notes. This is a full-bodied wine with acid tones. This is a long-lasting wine for a deep finish. This offering is delicious now but could hold on for another 15-20 years. Enjoy this with wild game and grilled meats.