Posts Tagged ‘Treiso’

Crushing grapes on the Produttori high street

Via Torino in Barbaresco village is just a short 300-metre street. Yet it houses two powerhouse wineries in Produttori del Barbaresco at one end, and Gaja in the middle.

The Produttori de Barbaresco fascinates me with its successes. It controls 15% of the DOCG, and more single crus, nine, than any other owner in the three villages; Treiso, Nieve or Barbaresco, which constitute the wine denomination Barbaresco.

Prices of this Italian wine category keep firming so let’s discover why.

The Produttori del Barbaresco, a co-operative, consists of 54 member farmers, is successful and as Uncorked’s visit was on the first day of the 2016 harvest, we met a few of them as they lined their tractors in the street to deliver grapes.

Our Italy wine tours take guests through the hills of Piedmont offering introduction-only visits to wineries, only some open to the public.  If you’d like to find out more about this exclusive guided experience for lovers of wine and food, you can call me direct on +61 427 705 391 or email

Produttori growers on the charge to deliver nebbiolo – Day 1 harvest 2016 on Uncorked and Cultivated’s visit to Barbaresco village.

But Barbaresco (the wine) and Produttori are all about a great drink, made from the thick skinned, leathery actually, nebbiolo grape. It’s the street hero.

Harvested nebbiolo-10 kg crates here

Harvested nebbiolo-10 kg crates here

Drinkers in the know come from all over the world to see this wine town perched on the Barbaresco hill alongside its tower, built there since the Middle Ages to spy on visitors, and past insurgents. Note the tower on their label.

Uncorked’s tours take you where the real taste action is, and on this day, we meet the Produttori board chief, and head winemaker, an affable, historically-knowledgeable Aldo Vacca.

Aldo Vacca CEO & Author

Produttori’s Aldo Vacca CEO-Author


The reason for nebbiolo addiction is simple for this Master of Wine to digest. The flavours of this grape persist in your mouth, they are subtle and never simple or capable of drowning your food. Nebbiolo is light bodied, brisk in tannin and ever present in acidity.

The palate can be extended, not dulled as overt wine fruit jam does from warmer climes, then lead you on to the enjoyment of savoury notes.

Your dinner is not sweet but savoury after all? This is wine pairing. Juicy meats or charred beef or north African spice for example. Food savouriness + flavours which tread lightly. Yum.


PDB Langhe Nebbiolo 2014 Always the budget option to get into nebbiolo for your first time, an easy drink made from younger vines in grower vineyards. Sold earlier as a non-aging style.

PDB Barbaresco 2013 The new vintage just out for sale now. The real deal wine of the Produttori, a blend of all growers’ grapes not including single vineyard crus (the nine).

Barbaresco 2013

Produttori Barbaresco 2013

PDB Barbaresco 2012 The vintage just gone, very lithe and flavoursome, capable of 5-7 years easy aging to plateau its drinking.

Barbaresco 2012

Produttori Barbaresco 2012

PDB Barbaresco 2011 A vintage showing some aged character so well advanced now. A good example for the visitors to “get” how nebbiolo projects as it ages.

PDB Rabaja Riserva 2009 These are regarded as the reserves of Produttori, and they overlap as families’ single vineyard crus, basically the best expression of the grape in a range of terroirs that occur, and are captured from the three village expanse which is DOCG Barbaresco.

Rabaja cru 2009

Produttori’s Rabaja cru 2009

Grower families Antona, Arossa, Casetta, Lembo, Lignana, Manzone, Rocca, Vacca, Vezza are in this blend this year.

The Produttori takes only nebbiolo grapes – no barbera, dolcetto or pelaverga, or no white variety. Just the top of the pinnacle red variety which keeps the quality and wine purity. Commendable.

DOCG – is the physical and hence geographical boundary of Barbaresco wine producers; production must lie inside or one cannot use the name; Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita.

Certification of a Co-Operative

Certification of a Co-Operative


Barolo by Ceretto

We are driving on the flat out of Alba besides hazelnut plantations, the small Piedmontese town wedged between a series of two wine hills: Barolo and Barbaresco, viewing the Roero hills to the north as we speed west for just ten minutes.

The converted farmhouse is in sight at San Cassiano; the family Ceretto’s main property, Monsordo Bernardina cantina since 1989, originally built in the 1880s. The Cerettos own 160 hectares of vines.

We are here to understand what the Ceretto success is all about for there is a murmur about a dominant white wine and an international red Monsordo turning the minds of drinkers. Nothing better from this organic maker.

And indeed, an Australian assists in the making of wines here. Formerly McLaren Vale based David Fletcher is assistant winemaker to chief Alessandro Ceretto, keeping an eye on production at wineries in Castiglione Falletto (Barolo), here at Monsordo Bernardina (Langhe) and smaller needs at Bricco Asili in Barbaresco. This is estate production taken to completion! The fourth, the bubbly winery is further east in Santo Stefano Belbo.

Host Alessandro Ceretto

Host Alessandro Ceretto

I am totally amazed looking west towards Grinzane Cavour, the towering castles overlooking vines, and learn of non traditional Piedmontese grapes planted here. In the craze to plant French grapes through the 80’s, Ceretto found their newly minted wine to be vividly popular.

Tried was Monsordo 2013 Langhe DOC, packed in a thoroughly hip bottle, an admixture of cabernet (50%), merlot and syrah, quite bizarre to encounter, very much cedary from careful oak application and fruits of spice, spearmint and licorice. Bravo, a winner in USA.

But we were present to taste the local hero grape, nebbiolo. And that was a hoot as the Cerettos served the young then a mature vintage from the same place; a sort of fast track tasting to see the wines develop glass by glass. Fab.

The Ceretto family are traditionalists so the New World style wine Monsordo ages in 300 litre French forest-origin containers called hogsheads while the nebbiolo is found in some 300/500 litre oak but mainly larger vessels, 2500 litres upwards made of the more neutral white oak from Croatian trees. Of interest though is the renewed interest to move to Austrian-sourced oak for coming maturings.

Nebbiolo must not smell of its oak habitat at making to be right on style. Unlike Napa Valley cabernet, too much oak detected in high end nebbiolo is deemed a fault. Dave Fletcher adds that the sweet spot is only 10-15% new wood so it is easily covered by blending later. But 3 years is a long time in barrel. So no faults here.

First wine is single vineyard 2008 Barbaresco Bricco Asili (1.2 ha, 39 year-old-vines) , fresh in its nebbiolo purity, licorice, sweet, it feels good in the mouth, classic tannin which remains as a long sensation; just starting to age, 10-15 years will hold it.

Ceretto Barbaresco Bricco Asili 2008-from Treiso

Ceretto Barbaresco Bricco Asili 2008-from Barbaresco

Then single vineyard (1.2 ha in Castiglione Falletto) 2006 Barolo Bricco Roche (one of four, also Brunate-La Morra, Cannubi San Lorenzo-Barolo and Prapo-Serrulunga), has begun aging also, shows mushroom, bitumen, strength, then great sweetness impressions alongside its firming tannins. Great.

Ceretto Barolo Bricco Rocche 2006 from Castiglione Falletto

Ceretto Barolo Bricco Rocche 2006 from Castiglione Falletto

Finally the last, aged Barolo, 1993 Bricco Roche, all tertiary so the fruits have been consumed by the aging aromas, truffle, fungi, tar, sweet aldehyde, tasting very dry as a 12 year-old, right in the middle of its aging end-point, and now a mature wine with little more to give than what it has. All was revealed: very dry red wine, silky, mushroomy and cheese loving. Mature.

Ceretto Barolo Bricco Rocche 1993

Ceretto Barolo Bricco Rocche 1993

Alessandro Ceretto noted that 50 years ago the annual rainfall was 1200-1300 mm with often soaking rain, now it has reduced to 800 mm with a deal of it delivered by storms. Heavy rain downpours cause vineyard erosion on the steep slopes causing a move to grass more vineyards. Climate swing.

And about Ceretto’s famous white wine, first made in 1985. It is varietal arneis, wildly popular now in Italy, all organic, fashionable in taste and easy to drink, all 600,000 bottles of it from 80 hectares of vines.

Aussie David Fletcher-custodian of Arneis

Aussie David Fletcher-custodian of Arneis


Uncorked and Cultivated Wine and Food Tours visit Ceretto at Monsordo Bernardina in San Cassiano, Alba.

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