In a nutshell: A lovely precise and pure Barbaresco from one of Italy's top co-operatives.
The lowdown: Made from Piedmont's signature grape, Nebbiolo, this spends 24 months in oak before bottling. It's rich and concentrated and the well focused cherry and raspberry fruits with floral and mint notes give a great balance. With a medium body, good grippy tannins and a prolonged and juicy finish it's great value compared to a similar Barolo.
When to drink: Great with pasta dishes and simply cooked meats.
Situated between the Piedmontese towns of Alba and Asti the Produttori del Barbaresco is a co-operative with a long and distinguished history and where great wines have always been made.
Prior to 1894, Nebbiolo grapes were sold to make Barolo wine or simply labelled 'Nebbiolo di Barbaresco'. But in 1894, Domizio Cavazza, head of the Royal Enological School of Alba and a Barbaresco resident, created the first cooperative, the 'Cantine Sociali', by gathering nine Barbaresco vineyard owners to make wine in the local castle that he owned. Cavazza understood that Nebbiolo from Barbaresco differed from Barolo and, for the first time, recognised this on the wine label. The 'Cantine Sociali' closed in the 1920s because of fascist economic rules but in 1958, the priest of the village of Barbaresco, recognizing that the only way the small properties could survive was by joining their efforts, gathered together nineteen small growers and founded the Produttori del Barbaresco. The first three vintages were made in the church basement, and then in the winery built across the square from where the Produttori is still located. United once again, the small growers continued the work started by Domizio Cavazza, producing only Barbaresco wine and enhancing both the reputation of the wine and the village.
The Produttori del Barbaresco now has 50 members and 100 hectares (250 acres) of Nebbiolo vineyards in the Barbaresco appellation, which amounts to almost a sixth of the vineyards of the area. The highly respected Aldo Vacca has been at the helm for over 25 years.