Brilliant Barbarescos

Brilliant Barbarescos

In my ongoing love affair with wine, my heart swings pretty evenly between Burgundy and Piedmont. This week, Andrea Sottimano was in New York and stopped by for a macchiato, which he said was, hands down,equal to the best one in Piedmont. We have a new Simonelli machine, and Wayne, our coffee pundit, has gotten our blend just right.

Anyhow, Andrea is one of those really sharp, smart guys who know so much about so many things that I enjoy spending time with him. In fact, aside from his wines, he had an excellent piece of news: he mentioned that this is the very best truffle season that he can ever remember. Lots of rain combined with lots of cool, even cold nights have produced the most outstanding environment truffles need in order to thrive.

Sottimano’s wines come from 18 beautifully cared for hectares in the Cotta, Curra, Fausoni, Pajore and Basarin vineyards in the Treiso and Neive townships in northern Piedmont. A testament to traditional nebbiolo that rivals the royal Barolo from further south, Sottimano’s barbarescos are eminently approachable while still being built for the long haul.

In fact, last year when Andrea was in town, we took him to dinner at Franny’s in Brooklyn. It was an incredible night because Andrea brought several vintages of his wines. We had a 1999 Barbaresco "Cotta,” a 1999 Barbaresco "Curra,” a 2007 Barbaresco "Pajore,” a 2006 Barbaresco "Pajore,” and a 2004 Barbaresco "Cotta.” Outstanding!

When you taste the barbarescos side by side, you really can taste the difference in terroir…even if it’s a difference of only a few hundred yards. The wines are sophisticated, refined with plenty of character.

I’ve had a chance to visit Andrea and his father several times over the past few years and they are completely devoted to their vineyards: their approach is natural, letting the land do what it is supposed to do. They do not use insecticides and their fertilizers are organic and used sparingly. They use indigenous yeasts and do not filter the wines. Grass is allowed to grow between the vines and mowed a couple of times a year.

Our wine guru, Jean Emmanuel is such a fan of the Sottimano wines that he imports them into France. And of course, we have them at W.I.N.E. Cent’anni! Eli

2012 Langhe Nebbiolo $30

2012 Dolcetto d'Alba "Bric del Salto" $22

2009 Barbaresco "Curra" $83

2005 Barbaresco "Pajore" $90

2005 Barbaresco "Cotta" Magnum $144

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