Stephen Brook takes a look at the latest releases from Barbaresco, including tasting notes & scores...
Barbaresco is released a year ahead of Barolo. The latest releases here are therefore 2015 and 2013 Riserva.
A torrid July, but cooler, moister conditions in August and September brought the grapes to ripeness, especially in Barbaresco. A small crop of charming wines.
A wet and snowy winter ensured that water levels in the vineyards were generous, which assisted early growth in 2015. Temperatures were mild and although the weather was less ideal in the late spring, flowering was successful.
The summer that followed was hot, indeed scorching in July, and to some extent this slowed the ripening process. Although the heat was steady, with average temperatures higher than they had been in the torrid year of 2003, there were no heat spikes to burn the vines. Nonetheless, veraison was some two weeks earlier than in 2014.
August provided some cooler nights and also some rain towards the end of the month. This reduced the drought stress, and good weather continued into September, with the Nebbiolo achieving full ripeness. Without those beneficial rains, it’s quite likely that 2015 would have produced wines as overripe as the 2003s.
Harvest was relatively early. In contrast to the rollercoaster of 2014, Barbaresco growers found themselves with a reasonably copious vintage of excellent grapes. There was some rain in late September, but by that time most of the grapes had been picked.
Here, as is so often the case, Barbaresco had the advantage over the later-ripening vineyards of much of the Barolo zone – Castello di Verduno reported that quality was so high in the Rabajà cru that the entire crop will become a Riserva.
Some acidities may be lower than usual, suggesting that a forward and approachable vintage along the lines of 2007 or 2009 is probable. There’s also the suggestion from some camps that 2015 could be as splendid as 2010 – Gaia Gaja finds the 2015s have complexity as well as fruit, and that the single vineyard bottlings clearly show their individual characters.
Quick link: See all of Stephen’s Barbaresco latest release tasting notes
The Vigna Loreto vineyard in Ovello, Barbaresco. Credit: albinorocca.com
A cool summer and an abundant crop that needed to be thinned to achieve full ripeness. A year of fragrant, elegant wines that are now gaining in structure.
As a vintage, 2013 had initially been underestimated, as the growing season had been fairly cool. However, from mid-September conditions improved, with hot days and cool nights meaning there was no pressure to harvest rapidly, enabling growers to wait for optimal maturity.
The wines were subtle and perfumed, but recent tastings have revealed more structure than was apparent at first. Some wines may lack richness but compensate with their purity and elegance. The only fly in the ointment was that downy mildew in the spring had reduced the crop.
The best wines have gained in weight and complexity, but whether 2013 will emerge as a truly great vintage, rather than just very good, it remains too early to say. No doubt it will depend on the capriciousness of individual sites, as well as the farming and winemaking decisions of individual growers.
Stephen’s pick of latest release Barbarescos:
Back to Piedmont new releases: Full report
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Source : http://www.decanter.com/premium/barbaresco-2015-latest-releases-395231/