For the Month of October
This month we’re offering a rare treat: perfectly stored library releases of Cru Barolo and Barbaresco straight from the cellars of La Spinetta! One of Italy’s most fashionable winemakers, proprietor Giorgio Rivetti displays a master’s touch with Nebbiolo. He produces approachable yet age-worthy wines that command the attention of wine critics and consumers alike, year-in and year-out; their lushness, concentration, aromatics and length are unrivaled. There’s a lot to read here but hopefully, you’ll enjoy the information and insider knowledge about our selections this month. Scroll to the end to reach our order form link.
The genius of La Spinetta encompasses a vast array of great wines, all boasting an inimitably approachable and voluptuous style. From Moscato to Nebbiolo to Sangiovese, whatever Giorgio Rivetti touches turns to gold. His pioneering single-vineyard Barberas and Barbera/Nebbiolo blend “Pin” are considered to be the best of the Langhe. His Barbareschi and Baroli are at the very top of their category. In fact La Spinetta’s wines are among Italy’s most celebrated, as the winery has attained the coveted Tre Bicchieri award for more than 30 of their wines throughout their relatively short career.
The Campè Barolo comes from the upper hillside portion of the Campè vineyard in the village of Grinzane Cavour and rises to an elevation of 920 feet. Though the vineyard is situated in an area that is less well-known for Barolo production, the soil, vineyard exposure and microclimate are extraordinary. The average age of the vines in the Campè vineyard is 40 years old and planted on calcareous clay soil with Southern exposure. The wine is aged in 100% new, medium toast French oak for 24 months. The wine is then transferred to stainless steel and aged another 9 months prior to bottling. The wine is bottled un-fined and un-filtered, rested for at least 1 year in bottle and released 4 years after harvest. The Riserva, taken from a strict selection of the oldest vines and offered only in magnum, spends an additional year in barrel and 5 years in bottle prior to release.
Gallina was was the first Cru vineyard LA SPINETTA acquired for the production of Barbaresco, in 1995. The vines in Gallina are between 55 and 60 years old. The hillside, 270 meters (885 ft) above sea level, faces entirely south. The ground is primarily calcareous, typical for the Crus of Barbaresco. What really sets Gallina apart is the fullness, richness and fruitiness of the grapes. Both the Barbera and Nebbiolo wines are opulent and full-bodied, which when combined with aging in oak, result in extremely sexy and elegant wines with a fantastic aging potential.
The Barbaresco “Gallina” is aged in 100% new medium-toast French oak for 22 months. It is then transferred to stainless steel for 3 months and then bottled and rested for over a year prior to release. It is un-fined and un-filtered and it is released no sooner than 3 years after harvest. The Riserva, taken from a strict selection of the oldest vines and offered only in magnum, spends an additional year in barrel and 5 years in bottle prior to release.
In 1996, a year after the purchase of Gallina (Nieve), the Rivetti family acquired six and a half hectares on the hillside just behind Gallina, in the Cru vineyard known as Starderi, which is planted exclusively to Nebbiolo. Although the geographical details of Starderi are nearly identical to those of Gallina (calcareous soil, 50+ year old vines, south facing and the same altitude) the fruit and resulting wine is quite different. Starderi is much more powerful than Gallina and can easily be mistaken for a Barolo. What Gallina offers in elegance, Starderi presents in power and length. Though we aren’t quite sure why the two vineyards are so different, a slight difference in microclimate is likely responsabile. In fact, the vineyards are located in two different valleys; Gallina is situated in a much wider valley than Starderi.
The wine is aged in 100% new medium-toast French oak for 22 months. It is then transferred to stainless steel for 3 months and then bottled and rested for over a year prior to release. The Riserva, taken from a strict selection of the oldest vines and offered only in magnum, spends an additional year in barrel and 5 years in bottle prior to release.
Located near the town of Treiso and only three hectares in size, Valeirano is the smallest of La Spinetta’s Barbaresco Crus. A vineyard location in Treiso always implies a higher altitude and, in fact, the Valeirano vineyard lies 450 meters (1,476 ft) above sea level. The soil is calcareous, but also contains many larger stones, excellent for drainage. The vines are 50 to 55 years old and the hillside faces due south. The Valeirano wines are very different from Starderi and Gallina. While Valeirano in general has the elegance of Gallina, it does not have the same full body. Instead, it amazes with minerality, giving the wine a unique identity, easily identifiable in a blind tasting with the other two Crus feet. The wine is aged in 100% new medium-toast French oak for 22 months. It is then transferred to stainless steel for 3 months and then bottled and rested for over a year prior to release. The Riserva, taken from a strict selection of the oldest vines and offered only in magnum, spends an additional year in barrel and 5 years in bottle prior to release.
La Spinetta Barolo Campè 2004-2005-2006 Vintage Vertical 3-pack ($645)
2004: 95 Points, The Wine Spectator: “Slightly earthy, with mushroom and very ripe fruit. Almost pruny. Transforms to gorgeous fruit. Full-bodied, with spicy, meaty and superripe fruit flavors. Chewy and tannic. Big and rich. Turns exotic. This is massive, with impressive structure.”
2005: 93 Points, The Wine Spectator: “Intense ripe berry and dried fruit on the nose, with rose petal. Full-bodied, with silky tannins and a mahogany, fruity, almost nutty undertone. Ripe and round. Very soft and pretty.”
2006: 93 Points, The Wine Advocate: “The 2006 Barolo Campe’ is one of the most elegant wines I have ever tasted from La Spinetta. A deep, translucent red, the Campe’ opens with a captivating bouquet of roses, spices, flowers and cherries, all of which resonate on the palate. The wine turns muscular in the glass, with powerful tannins that frame the expressive, generous fruit. There is plenty of richness and concentration. Smoke, tar and herbs are just some of the nuances that come to life as the dense fruit provides a wonderful foil to the tannins on the finish. This, too, is a terrific effort from La Spinetta. The 2006 Campe’ was fermented in rotary tanks for 7-8 days and underwent malolactic fermentation in new French oak, where the wine was aged for 24 months prior to being bottled.”
La Spinetta Barolo Campè 2013 ($185)
95 Points, The Wine Advocate: “This is an impactful and exceptional wine from a classic vintage. The fruit has had time to integrate, and the aromas appear wrinkle-free today with wild berry that segues directly to spice, tar and ash. These are beautiful results.”
La Spinetta Barolo Riserva Campè 2007 1.5L Magnum ($690)
97 Points Wine Advocate: “I tasted some beautiful Barbarescos before this sample, but the power and the vigor of the Barolo appellation comes through with undeniable clarity here. The 2007 Barolo Riserva Campè Vürsù (Magnum) is a wine of muscle, brawn and fortitude. It shows more textural tightness and density than the Barbarescos of the same vintage (also in magnum) that are softer and more streamlined in comparison. This gorgeous bottle opens to dark fruit, black currant, spice, cola and earthy truffle. Ultimately, this wine’s most memorable quality is the velvety, tightly-knit nature of its mouthfeel.”
La Spinetta Barbaresco Gallina 2006-2007-2008 Vintage Vertical 3-pack ($555)
2006: 93 Points, The Wine Spectator: “A fabulous nose of Christmas pudding, plum and lemongrass leads to a full body, with soft, silky tannins and beautiful fruit.”
2007: 93 Points, The Wine Advocate: “The 2007 Barbaresco Vigneto Gallina is focused and nicely articulated. This is a rather firm, nuanced Gallina from La Spinetta with gorgeous length, tons of detail and fabulous overall balance. It is at once more concentrated and also deeper than the Bordini, so another few years in bottle seem a prerequisite. The Gallina is the most improved wine the estate’s lineup. The 2007 is quite possibly the most polished, elegant Gallina I have ever tasted here.”
2008: 93 Points, The Wine Advocate: “The 2008 Barbaresco Vigneto Gallina bursts from the glass with a rush of dark fruit. This is one of the more reticent, powerful Gallinas I can remember tasting from La Spinetta. Dark flowers, mint, tar, licorice and French oak are some of the notes that resonate on the explosive finish. This is a wine that will require patience, but it is impressive for its completeness, something I haven’t always been able to say about this wine.”
La Spinetta Barbaresco Gallina 2013 ($164)
93+ Points, The Wine Advocate: “The 2013 Barbaresco Gallina Vürsù offers a tight brickwork of aromas with toned muscle and solid build at the back. The bouquet shows profound tones of dark fruit, spice, leather, tobacco, crushed stone and tar. La Spinetta’s signature style, with more pronounced aromas, is very much on display in this wine.”
La Spinetta Barbaresco Riserva Gallina 2007 1.5L Magnum ($650)
97 Points Wine Advocate: “This year, one of these absolute gems is the 2007 Barbaresco Riserva Gallina (Magnum). I am a huge fan of the sheer elegance produced in this vineyard. This quality has been harnessed to perfection in the case of this wine. It is beautifully evolved, long and silky. Yet, the primary fruit sings loudest of all. This is a delightful achievement.”
La Spinetta Barbaresco Starderi 2006-2007-2008 Vintage Vertical 3-pack ($555)
2006: 93 Points, The Wine Advocate: “The 2006 Barbaresco Starderi is easily the best of these three offerings, as the wine’s balance is exceptional. Aromatics, fruit and structure are all woven together in an impressive display of power and elegance. The fruit retains the house’s characteristic super-ripe style, but that element is more finely tuned here than in the estate’s other Barbarescos. Simply put, the 2006 is another terrific Starderi from proprietor Giorgio Rivetti and his team.”
2007: 94 Points, The Wine Advocate: “The 2007 Barbaresco Vigneto Starderi bursts from the glass with red berries, sweet spices, roses and mint, all of which come together on a powerful, richly structured frame that is the hallmark of Barbareschi from Neive. The Starderi is the most tannic of the estate’s 2007s but it is a wine with significant promise and a long road ahead of very fine drinking. Anticipated maturity: 2017-2027. This is a beautiful set of 2007 Barbareschi from La Spinetta. The wines show the trademark open sensual quality of the vintage but with less overt oakiness than has sometimes been the case. In short, readers who appreciate sensual full-bodied Nebbiolo will find much to admire here. ”
2008: 93+ Points, The Wine Advocate: “The 2008 Barbareschi are among the strongest wines of the year. The 2008 Barbaresco Vigneto Starderi is the biggest, most powerful and also most complete of the 2008s. Huge, massive tannins provide the backdrop to a core of expressive dark fruit, flowers, mint and licorice. This is a virile Barbaresco with plenty of stuffing to age well, but it needs time for the tannins to soften.”
La Spinetta Barbaresco Starderi 2013 ($164)
94+ Points, The Wine Advocate: “The 2013 Barbaresco Starderi Vürsù is an elegant and polished wine with a deep sense of persistence and length. The wine delivers a tight embroidery of aromas that span from dark fruit to spice, to ethereal notes of balsam herb and cola. It runs the full spectrum. That feeling of wholeness and balance is also evident in the mouth. This Barbaresco reaches impeccable balance between its solid fruit flavors, its acidity and the determined firmness of its structure.”
La Spinetta Barbaresco Riserva Starderi 2007 1.5L Magnum ($650)
97 Points Wine Advocate: “The 2007 Barbaresco Riserva Starderi immediately flaunts the density and important structure that is associated with this celebrated vineyard site. This is an overtly generous expression of Nebbiolo that offers thick layers of aromatic intensity. The wine’s best asset is the intact and vibrant quality of the primary fruit—so presented now, eleven years after the harvest. This is an expensive bottle for sure, but it does award a delicious and unforgettable experience.”
La Spinetta Barbaresco Valeirano 2006-2007-2008 Vintage Vertical 3-pack ($555)
2006: 91 Points, The Wine Advocate: “he 2006 Barbaresco Vigneto Valeirano is another exuberant wine. Here, too, the aromatics literally jump out of the glass, as layers of perfumed super-ripe fruit are intermingled with a persistent vein of minerality. The powerful, focused Valeirano offers outstanding balance, but needs a few years in bottle for the tannins to melt away. ”
2007: 94 Points, The Wine Spectator: “Suave and silky, this red boasts wild aromas and flavors of menthol and forest underbrush to complement its sweet cherry and berry notes. Opulent and dense, with complexity and a lingering aftertaste of fruit, woodsy spices and mineral. “
2008: 94 Points, Vinous: “Ripe strawberry and rose petal on the perfumed, slightly liqueur-like nose, with a peachy nuance emerging with aeration. Plush, sweet and vibrant, with terrific sappy energy to the flavors of red fruits and spices. Finishes perfumed and very long, with the sweetest tannins of this set of 2008 Barbarescos. This is at another level of quality. ”
La Spinetta Barbaresco Valeirano 2013 ($164)
92 Points, The Wine Spectator: “Combines cherry and berry flavors with savory eucalyptus, juniper and tobacco notes. Firmly structured, with assertive yet balanced tannins and a lingering finish.”
La Spinetta Barbaresco Riserva Valeirano 2007 1.5L Magnum ($650)
99 Points Wine Advocate: “This wine represents a crowning achievement among an elite group. The 2007 Barbaresco Riserva Valeirano is nothing short of magnificent. It is intense and articulate in ways you don’t expect. Specifically, I am referring to the vibrant and dazzling quality of fruit that is traveling full speed ahead. Nothing about this wine has slowed down. In fact, I would expect this beautiful interpretation to pick up further speed and complexity as it continues its evolution. This wine is old but also new, sweet but also savory and powerful but also elegant. It is a wine of profound contrasts that find impeccable unity despite those inherent contradictions.”