2008 Cotta' Sottimano

Grapes Nebbiolo
Colour Red
Origin Italy, Piedmont
Village Barbaresco
ABV 14.5%

These are the oldest vines (50 to 60 year old) and produce the most powerful of the 'crus'. Richly textured and powerful this is the wine that most easily impresses, and will do so for a decade and more.

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Lovely fragrant spicy, red fruit, mint and liquorice, palate is rich with lovely grippy sweet cherries and strawberries, aromatic, spicy, liquorice and earth, mouthfilling fragrant, rich and long.
(Nov 2015)

Rose and cherry aromas lead off, followed by licorice and tobacco flavors. This is dense and grainy, with a firm, long finish.
90 (Apr 2012)

There is nothing subtle about the 2008 Barbaresco Cotta. Waves of fruit hit the palate in this rich, juicy Barbaresco. Forward fruit is one of the hallmarks of Cotta, and there is no shortage of it in the 2008. Sweet dark plums, cherries, mint and licorice are some of the notes that flesh out in the glass. The mid-weight style of the vintage nevertheless comes through. With some air, the Cotta is enjoyable even at this early stage. Anticipated maturity: 2013-2028.

Good medium red. High-pitched aromas of raspberry, crushed stone and mint lifted by hints of orange and peach. Very dry, juicy and penetrating; can't quite match the Curra for weight but this is wonderfully perfumed in the mouth. A saline element contributes thrust. Here the tannins are currently a bit more exposed, calling for a good seven or eight years of cellaring. "Two thousand eight will be a great classic vintage, like 2001 and 1996," said Sottimano.

Very ripe nose of raspberry, dried cranberry, herb, tar, roses and violets. Robust and almost earthy on the palate. Tannins are quite high but integrated and fine-grained. A bit austere but there's freshness and lift too. Drink: from 2015

Limestone and clay soils in the centre of Barbaresco. 50- to 60-year-old vines. Richer fruit produced here than in Pajoré. Deeper garnet. Starting to show sweet undergrowth decay on the nose. Dusty and fresh. Ramrod steely power and intensity without any fat. Determined. Very fine grained, a certain austerity but richer than the Pajoré. 2014-2030

Furry tannins, loads of youthful punch here. Fragrant, but still reticent. Hard. Withdrawn. 2018-2032


Andrea Sottimano's 2011s and 2012s are fabulous. The 2011 Barbarescos capture the radiance of the year, while the just-bottled 2012s show gorgeous purity of fruit along with a greater sense of restraint. Readers who haven't tasted the Sottimano wines in a few years will want to check out these superb, pedigreed Barbarescos, as quite a bit has changed here, particularly over the last 5-6 years. Today, the approach to farming is decidedly less interventionalist than in the past. Sottimano no longer uses pesticides and herbicides. Yields aren't quite as dramatically low as they once were. The same hands off approach carries through to winemaking. Cool temperatures encourage slow and long malolactic fermentations, a long aging on the lees with minimal rackings, an approach that is much more typical in Burgundy than it is in Piedmont. Today's wines are transparent, crystalline and full of personality. There is no question quality has never been higher.' Antonio Galloni, Autumn 2014.

This sixteen hectare estate is based in the Cotta' region of Barbaresco, and the Sottimano family have over the years bought outstanding vineyards in the 'crus' of Currà, Cottà, Fausoni and Pajore. Yields are kept very low and the winemaking as natural as possible, without the use of pesticides or artificial fertilisers, using only natural yeasts and bottling without filtering or fining. All of these 'crus' are given exactly the same oak treatment so as to allow the individual 'terroirs' express their character (fermentation in barriques, of which 30% new, followed by 18 to 20 months in neutral barriques).

There are five different terroirs with Nebbiolo planted within the estate:

  • Basarin, with a mixture of clay, limestone and sand, is at about four hundred metres above sea level. This produces the estate's Langhe Nebbiolo, which is basically 'village Barbaresco', as the vines are very young (10-15years old). It makes for wines that are always very elegant, refined, tannins are silky and softer, nuanced of spices and herbs (eucalyptus).
  • Fausoni, on sand and clay, makes wines that are always very elegant - mint, liquorice and little red fruits. This is in the historical part of Neive.
  • Currà, on clay and limestone, is one of the smallest cru of the whole appellation, wines are always very intense and powerful, hardbodied and with good tannins. Hints of spices and smoke are characteristics of this area.
  • Cottà, on limestone with clay,is is one of the oldest cru in Barbaresco, vines are always very old here (fifty years and older) and the colours are just a little bit lighter than other vineyards (because of the clay), but they have a very distinctive nose of dark fruits and mint, a great elegance and mineral tannins.
  • Pajore is almost entirely on limestone with just a little clay. This is the highest vineyard of all, at 420 metres above sea level. The vines are very old, and it is always the most mineral and elegant of the four Barbarescos. Limestone brings into the wine a great purity of fruit, a distinctive aroma of spices and tobacco (cigar box) and a very unusual quality of tannins, firm but very mineral.

You can find Sottimano Azienda Agricola on Google Maps here.

Mixed Cases
una selezione BARBARESCO

It is often lazily asserted that if Barolo is the King of Piedmontese wines Barbaresco is the Queen; which can unfairly suggest Barbaresco as the lesser of the two - it certainly isn't - and suggest a more feminine style to Barbaresco - which is rather hard to discern in reality. It is more in the way of a dual monarchy - two Kings, or Queens if you prefer, both can be big, both can be highly seductive. This is the intense and sensual world of Nebbiolo, where solid tannins vie unexpectedly well with delicate fruit, and where age unwinds ever more complex flavours. In this case we have a brace of wines from Cigliuti, wines that are surprisingly open in relative youth but offer much promise for the future; and a trio from the butch solid grippingly tannic world of Sottimano which cry out for a cool dark cellar and some patience.

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