2012 Curra' Sottimano
Paler in colour, nose is very pure, cherries, spice, liquorice and flowers, very elegant. Palate is incredible, such depth and drive, rich saturated cherry, plums, spice, herbs and mineral drive, radiates energy and vigour, very fine and pure with sublime length. L&S (Apr 2016)
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Pale ruby-garnet. Some truffle and earth development, with a scented lift. This may be restrained, but it is giving off layers. Firm, fine tannins, svelte and polished. Perfumed, elegant finish. Elegance trumping power here – as one might expect from Barbaresco. Drinking range: 2018 - 2033 Rating: 17.5 Tim Jackson MW, www.jancisrobinson.com(Apr 2020)
Offers a tightly woven fabric permeated by cherry, currant, eucalyptus and tobacco flavors. Though firm and dusty, the tannins are offset with enough fruit and density for balance. The finish is austere now, but this will find equilibrium in time. Best from 2018 through 2028. Drinking range: 2017 - 2028 Rating: 94 Bruce Sanderson, The Wine Spectator(Jul 2016)
The 2012 Currà is the most promising of Sottimano's 2012 Barbarescos. Bright, floral at the outset, the Currà has a level of explosiveness and intensity the other 2012s in the range don't have, at least today. Rose petal, bright red fruit and cinnamon add nuance as this precise, classy Barbaresco shows off its tremendous appeal. Layers of bracing Currà vibrancy through the mid-palate and finish leave a lasting impression. Drinking range: 2017 - 2032 Rating: 94 Antonio Galloni, www.vinous.com(Jun 2016)
'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 suggests 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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