Daily Archives: September 8, 2007

More Wine Tasting in the Piedmont Region of Northern Italy

Our second and final winery (cantina) that we visited was Rizzi in the Barberesco zone in the small town of Treiso, north of Alba. This was about a 15 minute drive from where our bed and breakfast was that you saw in the previous post about our Italy trip.

Again we had the great opportunity to tour and taste with the winemaker himself and get great in depth, first hand knowledge of how the wines were crafted.

We started our experience at Rizzi with a tour through the vineyards on property surrounding the winery. Ernrico (yes the young winemaker at Rivetto was also Enrico) pointed out to us the varying crus that Rizzi owns that you could see from where we were standing, and vineyards within those crus, from which would be tasting the wines. Check out the picture below that outlines their different Crus which are all in Treiso.

Since Rizzi is in the Barberesco zone that is the primary wine they produce which is from the Nebbiolo grape as was the Barolo. In addition they produce Dolcetto, Chardonnay (which is not typical for the region), Barbera, and Mosacato (or Muscat).

So what did we taste –
These first 3 wines we tasted with Enrico in the bottling room overlooking the vineyards.

Chardonnay 2006 – very nice Chardonnay. (All stainless, no oak) apple, pear, stone, wheat, and a slight tropical aroma. They did an outstanding job on a varietal not typical for the Langhe region.

Dolcetto D’ Alba 2005 – we thought it was slightly tannic for a Dolcetto, but still quite smooth, with flavors and aromas of raspberry and cherry. Good structure.

Barbera D’ Alba 2005 – Lush, very similar to the Dolcetta, more full bodied, chocolate/espresso flavor on the finish. MMM

These next 6 wines we tasted in the barrel/cask room. As you will see from the pictures, the primary aging (12 months) is done in huge Slovenian Oak Casks while the secondary aging for another 12 months is done in large cement tanks with ceramic linings. We tasted 2 vintages (2006 and 2005) of Barberesco from the 3 different Crus/Vineyards. We tasted them vertically by vineyard. Before the notes, let me say this was an awesome experience…drinking with the winemaker, out of the casks, tasting developing vintages and being able to see the progression….simply awesome. After we tasted these two vintages from the 3 Crus, we tasted the currently bottled 2004 from the Pajore Cru/ Suran Vineyard

Here are the notes

Nervo Cru – Fondetta Vineyard
2006 – not much on the nose, very tannic, but blueberry flavor on the palate
2005 – huge difference from the 2006, blueberry again, chocolate bar, dirt aroma, this would be really nice to bottle now, smoothing out well!!

Rizzi Cru – Bricco Boito Vineyard
2006 – very tannic, tight blackberry aroma/flavor, slight coffee nose,
2005 – more earthy, real dark fruit coming thorough a lot more, cocoa on the mid palate opened up a lot compared to the 2006, GOOD!! Nice Long finish

Pajore Cru – Suran Vineyard
2006 – real young, more fruity than the Bricco Vineyards, leather aroma, tobacco flavors, too tannic
2005 – smoothing out, still get the tobacco flavor, nice black cherry pie with a slightly burnt crust aroma – good finish, nice wine.

This is the giant cement aging vessel

Bottled Pajore – Suran Barberesco 2004 – WOW! Soft and supple texture in the mouth, full bodied overripe strawberry aroma mixed with hay, currant preserve flavor, nice structure. We are taking this home!! MMMMM

As a special treat to us, Enrico allowed us to taste one of Rizzi’s dessert wines, the Frimaio Vendemmia Tardiva. This is a late harvest Moscasto (Muscat) with about 8% Residual Sugar, definitely a sipper! One of hte most extraordinary things about the wine is the label, the graphic on each label is hand painted by Enrico himself, so each bottle is different. How aweseome is that!

Frimaio Tasting Notes: apricot, floral, and canned peaches on the nose, similar flavors on the palate, full bodied in the mouth but not cloying, flavor lasts a long time after the wine has left the mouth. THis would be fantastic with some really strong cheese.

Two of Enrico’s hand painted Frimaio bottles

Well needless to say all the wines were awesome, but we couldn’t leave with everything. We decided to buy 2 of the Chardonnay which were really good, and so inexpensive, about $8 US dollars. We also bought two of the 2004 Pajore Barberesco and two of the Frimaio dessert wine.

Definitely give Rizzi a try, you can find their Barberesco here in the states…currently that is the only wine they export. And if you happen to be in the Piedmont region of Italy give them a visit.

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