While we've compared wines from Italy's Piedmont before, this was the first time we focused purely on the appellation of Barbaresco. Not surprisingly, this was an impressive lineup, and though there was a clear winner (and great value), all the wines were well-made and all received points. We would have not been disappointed by any of these if someone brought them to a dinner party.
These were indeed difficult to rate, since they were balanced and very indicative of what Barbaresco should taste like. Five vintages were represented, which was a bit unusual, but also shows how well this appellation has fared for many vintages in a row.
Thanks to Mary and Lynn for being excellent first time guest tasters.
First Place: Teo Costa Barbaresco Lancaia 2011. Tasters found complex scents of flowers, anise, mushrooms, dark ground spices (caraway seeds, cinnamon), leather, and brunt sugar. Mary was reminded of "something coastal". Tannic attack that starts off masculine, then softens to reveal impressive balance, dark fruit, and wet stones. David really enjoyed the richness of this, and Ali decided that "it checked off all the boxes". Ali, Andy, Lynn, and David's favorite of the night, with a total of 32 points. Kristin's bottle. About $40.
Second Place: Cantina del Pino Barbaresco 2008. There's a sweetness on the nose, plus notions of cinnamon and acetone. Flavors of plums and dark cherries, with a floral, feminine finish having a touch of spice. Mary and Kristin's favorite. Received 16 points. Andy's bottle. About $45.
Third Place: Produttori del Barbaresco Barbaresco Montestefano Riserva 2009. Scents of cherries, blueberries, flowers, something medicinal, birch beer, and an earthy black loam note. Higher acidity but well-balanced with black cherry flavors and definite tannin. Mary noted that it "tastes a lot better than it smells", and really improves with air. One taster called it "purposeful", and Andy decided on "solid". Received 12 points. Lynn's bottle. About $67.
Paitin Barbaresco Serra 2010. More feminine, with aromas of roses, eraser, body odor, and old squash. Ali felt that "she's beautiful, but she's working hard". Pretty, lively, and with some earthy notes. Andy was reminded of "peach pit". Received 10 points. David's bottle. About $35.
Cantina del Pino Barbaresco Albesani 2010. Unfiltered, with a nose suggestive of dairy, vinegar, red apples, and smoke. Something slightly odd about the nose, but pleasant on the palate, with a gentle, kind quality, and some fennel notes. Received 10 points. Ali's bottle. About $60.
De Forville Barbaresco 2012. Tasters found some unusual scents, with notions of Dijon mustard, wet wool, meat, and something musty. Ali was reminded of "a weird plastic" as well as "brown paper bag". Metallic attack, and soft in the mouth. Mary decided it was "undistinctive", with Ali noting that it "finishes like High C", having a slight candied quality. Andy felt that it "started off on a bad foot". Received 4 points. Mary's bottle. About $42