Italy, Piedmont

'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 (10-15 years 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.

I can’t say enough good things about the Sottimano family and the work they have done over the years to firmly establish themselves among Barbaresco’s top growers. Antonio Galloni, (Oct 2017)

I am a huge fan of the young Andrea Sottimano’s wines, whose 16 hectares of vineyards are organically farmed and there is a “hands off ” approach in the cellar with natural yeasts, minimal rackings and bottling without filtering or fining. The richness and natural strength of fruit that comes from his five different crus is extraordinary, my preference going for the Pajoré 2012, Currá 2011, Cottá 2010, topping out on a lush yet firm Pajoré 2008 and a quite superb Riserva 2010 that had matured for two years on its lees with no sulphites and no rackings. Not only are these wines strikingly good, they are reasonably priced for the quality. (From a report on an Arblaster & Clarke wine tour in "THE TASTING PANEL and The SOMM Journal") Steven Spurrier

Sottimano’s 2007 Barbareschi have been impressive every time I have tasted them, starting from barrel a few years ago, to two tastings from bottle in recent months. Readers owe it to themselves to check out these exceptional, beautiful hand-crafted wines. Over the last few vintages the estate has reduced the level of new oak and improved the quality of its cooperage, both of which have given the wines greater transparency. After alcoholic fermentation the wines are racked into French oak barrels (25% new) for the malolactic fermentations which are kept long, as Sottimano believes this gives the wines greater richness and complexity. Once the malos are finished, the wines are racked into used barrels where they continue to age prior to being assembled and bottled. Robert Parker, The Wine Advocate,