2010 Pajoré Sottimano
Dense concentrated nose of blackberry, cherry, earth, fragrant with some tobacco and strawberry. Palate is super rich, deep core of rich fruit, compact succulent sinewy and ripe, cherries, strawberries, spice and tobacco, nice complexing oak, long rich pure and precise. V good. L&S (Nov 2015)
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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.
A round, supple version, with cherry and berry fruit shaded by spice and tobacco notes. Firms up as the tannins assert themselves on the finish, but stays long and fresh. Drinking range: 2016 - 2030 Rating: 91 Bruce Sanderson, The Wine Spectator (Jul 2016)
A subtle, complex young Barolo with dried-berry, flower and citrus undertones. Full body with firm, chewy tannins and a savory finish. Better in 2016. Rating: 91-91 James Suckling, www.jamessuckling.com (Apr 2014)
Savoury, compact, mouthwatering palate. Tenderised tannins - still there, but actually quite accessible. Dense, fragrant. 2015-2025 Rating: 16.5 Richard Hemming - www.JancisRobinson.com (Dec 2013)
(from a limestone-based vineyard in Treiso, planted at an altitude of 380 meters; vinified with 15% whole clusters): Good bright dark red. Slightly balsamic aromas of cherry cola, dried spices, cedar and cigar box, with some suggestions of very ripe fruit. Lush, round and silky but less showy and aromatic today than the Cotta. Less primary fruit and more soil and tobacco here, supported by firm limestone-driven acidity. Finishes with dusty tannins that reach the front teeth, and a building sweetness that leaves behind nuances of herbs and spices. Rating: 92+ Stephen Tanzer, www.vinousmedia.com (Nov 2013)
The 2010 Barbaresco Pajorè jumps from the glass. An exotic melange of spice, tobacco and new leather hits the palate, followed by waves of intense dark fruit. Today, the Pajorè is the most implosive and closed of the wine's but the sheer depth and richness of the fruit are compelling. Still, it is impossible to miss the wine's exceptional finesse and power. Drinking range: 2015 - 2025 Rating: 94-94 Antonio Galloni, www.vinous.com (Oct 2013)
The 2010 Barbaresco Pajore resonates off every corner of the palate with layers of rich, intense fruit. Here, too, the balance of fruit and tannin is simply masterful. The pure pedigree of the vintage comes through in spades. Pajore is the only Sottimano Barbaresco made from vines in Treiso (rather than Neive), so it always stands a bit apart from the other wines in their lineup. The 2010 is shaping up to be a jewel Drinking range: 2018 - 2030 Rating: 93-95 Antonio Galloni, The Wine Advocate (Oct 2012)
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