2016 Sottimano Barbaresco Pajore
I was lucky enough to taste all of Andrea Sottimano’s 2016s with him during his recent Bay Area visit and came away, as I usually am with his wines, extremely impressed. But the usually laconic Andrea was uncharacteristically enthusiastic too, and that’s rare. He’s calling the vintage the best ever in his experience, and that, he said, also includes his father’s tenure. They were certainly the best in mine! Even though all three of the single vineyard wines I tasted were phenomenal, there was, though, one clear winner, the small cuvee from Pajore. Pajore is perhaps the most renowned cru of Treiso, even though the vast majority of it belongs to Angelo Gaja and is not bottled under its cru name.
Sottimano’s parcel is at the highest point of the vineyard and has, over the decades, made Barbarescos that show incredible classicism and an elevated sense of refinement and class. The 2016 Pajore is definitely ‘one-louder,’ with all of this vineyard’s trademark aromatics and elegant texture cut in vivid relief. Seldom have I had a young Barbaresco with this much sheer personality or a palate with this much intensity. If Barbarescos were Burgundies, this one would be from Chambolle with its crunchy acidity, lifted perfume and palate rich in character and finesse. It will be a keeper too.
While it certainly lit up our wonderful lunch at The Wolf in Oakland, this feels like a Sottimano for the long haul and any serious Nebbiolo cellar will be better off for having a few bottles of this in it! Just a few cases available at the pre-arrival price.
Antonio Galloni for Vinous Media 95+ Points:
The 2016 Barbaresco Pajorè is a super-classic, explosive wine endowed with tremendous depth and character. Hauntingly beautiful aromatics laced with spice, menthol and blood orange make a strong opening statement. The Pajorè has traditionally been a big wine here. Although there is plenty of breadth and texture, the 2016 remains light on its feet. Lavender, mint, licorice and blue/purplish berry fruit are wonderfully alive in the glass. The 2016 is very young and yet also so easy to appreciate in the early going. That is often a sign of a truly great wine. Don't miss it.