The Barbaresco Riserva Asili is soft, round and supple, with gorgeous depth and plenty of resonance. I expect that the 1997 will continue to age gracefully given the sheer depth of its fruit, although the aromatics are a bit forward.
Anticipated maturity: 2014-2029
Robert Parker 87
1997 Produttori del Barbaresco Barbaresco Riserva Asili\ Medium ruby in color, this Barbaresco is promising, with a classic nose of spices, anise, and menthol, with some notes of animal and coca. On the palate this wine falls short, it is lean, austere, and empty, with very little fruit, although the wine does finish with good length. Surprisingly lean for the vintage, this wine is somewhat of a disappointment. 87 points/drink now-2014 Aldo Vacca manages this cooperative that traces its origins to Domizio Cavazza, widely credited for being the first person to recognize the unique qualities of the vineyards in Barbaresco as far back as the 1890s. The cooperative in its present form got its start in 1958 when the local town priest convinced a group of landowners to pool their resources. As Vacca explains, the prevailing culture at that time was more agricultural than enological and wines were mostly sold in bulk. Except for a tiny production of Langhe Nebbiolo, the Produttori have always focused on Barbaresco, a choice that was commercially very difficult in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, before the wines had gained the worldwide audience they have today. The turning point for the estate was when famed restaurateur Guido Alciati began to serve the Riserva Rabaja to his customers. Then came the 1990 vintage and, with it, the attention of the world. Today the Produttori have 55 partners and farm over 90 hectares of first-class vineyards. The estate produces over 350,000 bottles a year, a staggering number considering the small size of most estates in the area and the high average quality the Produttori achieve. The cooperative produces traditionally styled wines, including a base bottling and in top vintages nine single-vineyard Riservas from the most important crus in the town of Barbaresco. The Barbarescos are fermented for about three weeks in glass lined cement vats and age exclusively in casks ranging from 25 to 75 hectolitres. I have included notes for the Barbaresco normale, vintages 1999, 2000, and 2001. I noted that the normale bottling is a very approachable wine in all three vintages. I have also included notes on four Riservas I have tasted recently: the 1996 and 1997 Riservas from Rabaja and Asili.
Anticipated maturity: 2004-2014