Wine Review Online
2018 Barbaresco Riserva
The 2018 vintage in the area around Alba — including Barbaresco, Barolo and Roero, most notably — was one that has become known for ripe, soft, early-drinking renditions of Nebbiolo due to serious heat and early ripening. The converse of this is that it doesn’t much seem like a “Riserva year” — though this is a wine that raises some second thoughts about that premise. It is indeed soft in texture, with silky tannins and open flavors, yet there’s no hint of over-ripeness here. That’s a key point, especially in vintages such as 2018, because many vintners in the area start their Riserva wines by leaving fruit that’s directed toward these bottlings for a week or longer before harvesting. Sometimes that works wonderfully well, and sometimes it leads to sub-standard wines even from otherwise excellent producers. The upshot is that Riserva isn’t a reliable category from Barbaresco, Barolo or Roero, and yet this is a very successful specimen of the breed. Situated in physical terms between light- and medium-bodied for Nebbiolo, it shows very nicely interlaced aromas and flavors of red cherries and berries, delicate spices, very subtle oak influence, and savory undertones recalling wild mushrooms. Delicious.