2010 Fausoni Sottimano
Cherry, raspberry, cinnamon and nutmeg notes converge in this supple yet firmly structured red. Tightens up on the finish, with dry, astringent tannins. Needs time. Drinking range: 2017 - 2030 Rating: 90 Bruce Sanderson, The Wine Spectator (Jul 2016)
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A juicy red with plum and berry character, plus cherry undertones. Full body with soft, silky tannins and a fresh finish. Better in 2016. Rating: 91-91 James Suckling, www.jamessuckling.com (Apr 2014)
Dark cherry, really fine but incredibly high tannic structure. Very very chewy indeed. Has a floral opulence on the nose that bodes well. 2020-2035 Rating: 16.5+ Richard Hemming - www.JancisRobinson.com (Dec 2013)
Good medium red. Highly perfumed aromas of redcurrant, red plum, licorice, incense and dried herbs. Juicy and fairly light, with lovely rose petal lift to the pure flavors of red fruits, dry spices and herbs. Finishes with fine-grained tannins and excellent length and lift. Rating: 92 Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar (Nov 2013)
Fausoni is one of the four Crus of Barbaresco in which the Sottimano family has vineyards, but it's the only one with sand – clay and sand to be precise. This gives it a wonderful almond and floral perfume with a touch of vanilla and tannins that are persistent but fine-grained and entirely manageable, even in so young a wine. Great length and a great future. Rating: 92 www.thewinegang.com (Oct 2013)
Absolutely nothing is missing in the 2010 Barbaresco Fausoni. It boasts great balance of fruit, acidity and tannin, with a long, perfumed finish and tons of pure energy. Drinking range: 2018 - 2030 Rating: 92-94 Antonio Galloni, The Wine Advocate (Oct 2012)
The 2010 Barbaresco Fausoni is a wine of extraordinary class. Freshly cut flowers, red raspberries, mint and anise are some of the many notes that develop in the glass. A model of understated elegance, the 2010 impresses for its balance and finesse. The tannins are remarkably polished and sophisticated for such a young Barbaresco. Floral notes reappear on the finish, adding lift to this red-hued fruit in this impeccable, gracious Barbaresco. Drinking range: 2015 - 2030 Rating: 94-94 Antonio Galloni, www.vinous.com (Oct 2012)
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.
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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