About this WINE
Rivella Serafino d Teobaldo Rivella
Teobaldo & Maria Rivella's Barbaresco wine estate is very much a 'garagiste' operation: for it revolves around all 2 hectares of vines (one hectare each) within the single Montestefano vineyard, over which they look, with vinification taking place under the house.
Montestefano is famed for its vertiginous slopes & white marne soils. Teobaldo is fortunate in owning 60 year old Nebbiolo vines, grown unusually low to the ground, though the canopy remains 2 metres high and the roots 6 metres deep. He swears by their low vigour 420A rootstock, while the clones are a 'masale' mix of compact Michet and leggier Lampia. He only uses copper and sulphur when treating the vines.
Teobaldo's father Serafino first bottled the wines in 1967, with his son joining him in 1974. The traditional approach has been maintained: the wine being vinified in static stainless-steel and some slavonian oak for 15-20 days using wild yeast before being matured in 20 hl old slavonian botte for between 24 - 36 months (over twice as long as the legal requirement).
Stylistically the wines fall very much into the traditional camp: their Barbaresco Cru Montestefano beguiles with complex spice, nut and tight red fruit flavours; it's a wine that elegantly caresses the palate; a subtle wine, not an impact wine, that draws you in and rewards you, provided you're patient. Ten year's old would probably be the ideal drinking age, depending on the vintage.
The Piedmontese DOCG zone of Barbaresco is responsible for producing some of Italy’s finest wines. It occupies the same region and uses the same grape (Nebbiolo) as its bigger brother Barolo, but is a third of the size (only 640 hectares versus Barolo’s 1,700 hectares). It is also 50 years younger than Barolo, having produced wine labelled Barbaresco since 1890.
Barbaresco earned its DOCG after Barolo in 1980, largely thanks to the efforts of Angelo Gaja. The soils are lighter here than in Barolo – both in colour and weight – and more calcareous. The slopes are also less favourably situated and (relatively speaking) yield earlier-maturing yet extremely elegant wines that require less oak ageing (normally one year in oak plus six months in bottle). The appellation’s key districts are Barbaresco, Treiso, Neive and Alba.
Recommended producers: Cigliuti, Gaja, Marchesi di Gresy
Nebbiolo is the grape behind the Barolo and Barbaresco wines and is hardly ever seen outside the confines of Piedmont. It takes its name from "nebbia" which is Italian for fog, a frequent phenomenon in the region.
A notoriously pernickety grape, it requires sheltered south-facing sites and performs best on the well-drained calcareous marls to the north and south of Alba in the DOCG zones of Barbaresco and Barolo.
Langhe Nebbiolo is effectively the ‘second wine’ of Piedmont’s great Barolo & Barbarescos. This DOC is the only way Langhe producers can declassify their Barolo or Barbaresco fruit or wines to make an early-drinking style. Unlike Nebbiolo d’Alba, Langhe Nebbiolo can be cut with 15% other red indigenous varieties, such as Barbera or Dolcetto.
Nebbiolo flowers early and ripens late, so a long hang time, producing high levels of sugar, acidity and tannins; the challenge being to harvest the fruit with these three elements ripe and in balance. The best Barolos and Barbarescos are perfumed with aromas of tar, rose, mint, chocolate, liquorice and truffles. They age brilliantly and the very best need ten years to show at their best.
(Tamlyn Currin - jancisrobinson.com - 25 Mar 2010)