Rivella Serafino "Montestefano" Barbaresco 2016
Based in the prestigious Barbaresco appellation in Piedmont, Teobaldo Rivella is a micro-producer of classic Piedmontese wine. He makes only two bottlings, totaling fewer than 1000 cases each year: a wonderful Dolcetto, and this Barbaresco from the vaunted “Montestefano” vineyard.
In the Barbaresco region, there are many great sites but a handful are exceptional; Montestefano is one of them. Remember: millions of years ago this region was a hot, shallow, tropical sea. Those prehistoric sea creatures are now limestone soils, measuring a meter deep in this vineyard! The calcium-rich soils, south-facing slopes, and old vines of Nebbiolo combine to create deeply flavored, powerfully structured wines with dark, brooding fruit and chewy tannins. This is a wine that will evolve for another two decades.
Open now and decant for at least an hour to find a classic garnet color in the glass which belies its forward, assertive nature. Deep rose-petal-infused fruit, vintage leather, smoked tea, rugged gamy notes, tilled earth, forest berries, floral potpourri, and tons of gritty mineral earth contribute earthy, powerful tannins and gripping acidity. This is classic, old school Nebbiolo of the highest order, made to last two decades or more, especially from the incredible 2016 vintage.
He farms all organically with the utmost attention to detail, referring to the mighty Montestefano vineyard come il mio giardino – “as my own little garden,” fitting as his residence literally sits adjacent to this epic vineyard. He hand-harvests each bunch and ages the wine for nearly forty months in large, old oak (botti grande). We get but a small parcel of his wines each vintage – invest now to reap the rewards for years to come.