2020 Bric del Salto Sottimano
The 2020 Dolcetto d'Alba Bric del Salto is a super-classic wine. Lavender, spice, menthol and blueberry are all laced together. This mid-weight, classy Dolcetto is packed with flavor and character. I loved it. Drinking range: 2021 - 2028 Rating: 90 Antonio Galloni, www.vinous.com (Sep 2021)
*Case price discount: Mix any 12 bottles (or 9l equivalent) of wine or 6 bottles of Champagne, Spirits, Sweet Wine or Fortified to get the 'case price' for each bottle.
Made only in stainless steel, the Sottimano 2020 Dolcetto d’Alba Bric del Salto offers punchy and raw notes with terrific primary intensity. It is redolent of black cherry and Japanese plum with bitter almond and dried mint. Dolcetto is such a terrific wine for informal occasions involving a loaf of freshly baked sourdough bread with Italian cheeses and cold cuts. This wine represents a blend of fruit from S. Cristoforo, Basarin and Cottá. Some 10,0000 bottles were released. Drinking range: 2021 - 2023 Rating: 89 Monica Larner, The Wine Advocate (www.robertparker.com) (Jun 2021)
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, hard-bodied and with good tannins. Hints of spices and smoke are characteristics of this area.
- Cottà, on limestone with clay 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.
Piedmont has the distinction of making, not only some of Italy's greatest wines, but also of using grape varieties rarely found elsewhere. The undisputed king of these varieties is the very noble Nebbiolo, in this case represented by Sottimano's solid Langhe Nebbiolo from Barbaresco - a wine that outdoes many a grander offering. Piedmont's staple red variety is, however, Barbera with its juicy cherry fruit and often surprising body. Dolcetto - the "little sweet one" - is always densely coloured but often at the simpler fruitier end of things. We have, also, included in this case the unusual and delicious Mimmo from Le Piane at Boca in the far north-east of Piedmont - a plump and attractive Nebbiolo, Croatina and Vespolino blend.
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