2011 Pajoré Sottimano
Pajorè is one of the finest of Treiso’s vineyards, sited on the boundary of Barbaresco village. Andrea Sottimano’s wine is relatively deep in colour and forthright in its aromatic style: it has some ageing in small oak barrels, but it is the redcurrant and cranberry fruits which emerge with most clarity. Deep, full and fresh in style on the palate, with firm tannins, too, which give the wine a crunchy quality. It remains within the Barbaresco idiom, though, and softens towards shapely grace as it leaves the palate. Impressive energy and engagement here. Rating: 93 Andrew Jefford (Oct 2017)
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Wonderfully aromatic with blueberry, cedar, rose petal and sandalwood. Full body, super-fine tannins and a long, caressing finish. A gorgeous red that needs a year or two to soften but so wonderful now. Rating: 93-93 James Suckling, www.jamessuckling.com(Dec 2014)
Sottimano's 2011 Barbaresco Pajoré bursts from the glass with licorice, smoke, sweet spices and leather. Dense and powerful, yet also light on its feet, the 2011 is remarkably well-balanced. Sweet rose petal, raspberries and spice notes meld into the intensely perfumed, balsamic finish. This is a decidedly feminine, floral Pajoré with more red-toned fruit than is typically the case. In 2011, the Pajoré speaks to polish above all else. Rating: 95 Antonio Galloni, www.vinous.com(Oct 2014)
Menthol, licorice, tar and cherry flavors highlight this fluid yet chewy red. Balanced, with a licorice note coming to the fore as this lingers on the finish. Drinking range: 2016 - 2027 Rating: 90 Bruce Sanderson, The Wine Spectator(Oct 2014)
'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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