Cantina del Pino Barbaresco
Cantina del Pino Barbaresco
I do not often share my personal bias toward wines or winemakers…and, when I do, I do not do so lightly. For, at the end of the day, your taste and judgment is personal and needs to reflect you, the individual. I take a break from this protocol here.
I have taken comfort, recently, in drinking and studying my favorite wine: Cantine del Pino Barbaresco DOCG. For those of you who do not know, the wine comes from Northern Italy, in the Piedmont region, and is made from 100% Nebbiolo.
The wine is best consumed to understand its flavors, but, to give you an idea, Nebbiolo is a tricky but wonderful grape. At once, it is powerful and elegant. Concentrated red fruit flavors, nervy acidity, structure from the present but integrated tannin. Drunk on its own, the wine commands your attention with concentrated flavors and aromas of fennel and violets. With food, these wines explode and, frankly steal the evening. Best served with mushroom risotto, grilled beef, slow roasted pork, or a classic roasted chicken, these are bottlings to be cherished...
One of my favorite quotes is from Wine Folly when she says,
"Imagine getting kicked in the face by a ballerina."...
Please read more from this wonderful resource here: WINE FOLLY.
The “Barbaresco DOCG” is Renato Vacca’s most “minor” expression of Barbaresco; in a sense, the three Cru level wines reflect a more specific vineyard site and source, and carry higher price tags, might age more dramatically, and often reflect something deeper and darker…and I cherish them, too… But, of late, I’ve been nothing short of completely caught up in his more “basic” bottling, a blend of his various sites in the small and special region. The Cru wines then stand on this strong foundation and truly push the senses over the top. The biggest treat, of all, is to indulge in a large format bottling. Even if your group is small now, say a single person household, or a couple, and you do not anticipate making your way through 1.5L or 3L in a single evening, know that a bottle enjoyed over several days rewards the patient drinker as each day the wine evolves in the bottle with more and more air, changing, softening, and ultimately blooming into something entirely special.
I invite you, here, to share this passion with me through an offer from my Cellar. I encourage you to enjoy some of the DOCG bottling as well as his Cru level wines from Ovello and Albesani. Please take the time to scroll through and explore the various drop-down menus to settle on your desired size, bottling, and vintage; not all examples are available at this time. It should be noted that I am inspired to make these wines available for two reasons, one quite sad, and one encouraging:
FIRST, Our wine community lost our dear winemaker friend, Renato, on March 14th of this year. Losing his battle to cancer in the midst of this strange isolationist period for our World means that no one has gathered, yet, to celebrate him in a traditional sense. No one has been able to host a dinner party, cook the food of his region, and raise a glass. I want you to do so, perhaps “virtually” for now…and then again when the coast is clear and we can return to what we all love doing most: being together. (Read more on Wine Spectator.)
SECOND, I received some very joyous and unexpected news this week: my beloved importer, Artisan Wines, has been in direct contact with Renato’s widow and has placed a purchase order for more wine. Simply put, I was concerned that with his passing, operations would somehow be interrupted…and, that would have been completely understandable. However, as it stands now, we feel so very fortunate to have the chance to continue to love and experience Renato through his very special wines. In short, if you miss out on some of these now, don’t fret, for we will be sure to order early and often in the future.
-Jacob, April 16, 2020
From my Importer: Cantina del Pino has emerged, seemingly recently, as one of the most important producers of Barbaresco. However their vineyard and family history could not be more intertwined with the history of Barbaresco. The very first wine labeled as Barbaresco, made by the "father" of Barbaresco, the renowned enologist Domizio Cavazza in 1894, was made from the Ovello Vineyard that Renato Vacca's great-great grandfather purchased from him a few years later and the family has owned ever since. Cavazza owned the estate, formerly known as Cascina Ovello, another nearby parcel, and also the castle. When his first son was born he planted a Pine tree at the top of Ovello and over time it became known as Cantina del Pino. That tree, depicted on the label, still stands today. The bulk of their current vineyard land is on the historic cru “Ovello” in the commune of Barbaresco. Ovello’s elevation, exposure, both to the sun and the climate moderating effects of the nearby Tanaro river, vine age (80 years) and soil mix all contribute to the combination of finesse, complexity and power evident in the wines of Cantina del Pino. Ovello has a long track record of producing one of the most complex and elegant Barbaresco's. The estate has been acquiring new vineyards over the last few years spread around the village of Nieve. One, just a couple of hundred yards from Vigneto Santo Stefano in Albesani, which has been long considered a Grand Cru of the Nieve part of the Barbaresco zone. It is a very dark and powerful wine (though made in the exact same way) and so very complementary in the line to the incredible finesse of the Ovello.