DOCG Reds of Piedmont, Part 2 – Conti Speroni Collection Terroirs Barbaresco 2008

Conti Speroni Collection Terroirs Barbaresco 2008

Conti Speroni Collection Terroirs Barbaresco 2008

For part two of the series of reds from my favorite region of Italy, I paired the 2008 vintage of Conti Speroni Collection Terroirs Barbaresco with home-cooked pork chops in a white worcestershire sauce with much success. The delicious chops were compliments of my in-laws and their annual Christmas gifting of two crates of frozen cuisine from Omaha Steaks.

The wine poured an expected ruby-garnet color with some noticable rim variation. This is indicative of the aging on the wine, as well as the characteristic lighter color of the variety, Nebbiolo. The rim will change to a brick-orange hue as its aged for several years. Barbaresco is traditionally a bit lighter than its big cousin Barolo. And while once considered the lesser of the two, Barbaresco is coming close if not equal in quality, save for perhaps a reputation well-protected by makers of Barolo. Therefore it is also less costly. Another reason for the lesser cost is the time required to age and vinify it is significantly less. But this doesn’t mean its not high quality. It too is a DOCG wine (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita), meaning of the highest quality and its vinification processes, varieties and aging time ‘guaranteed’ by the wine authorities of Italy and the EU. And as I mentioned in part one, Piedmont has the largest number of DOC and DOCGs in all of Italy.

Nebbiolo however isn’t just found in Barolo and Barbaresco. Other regions in Piedmont employ the variety as well, albeit with blending allowed. Generally speaking, Piedmont is the home of Nebbiolo, though it is not the most common or widely grown in the region by any measure.

When young, Nebbiolo is highly tannic and acidic, but as this wine is from the 2008 vintage it is nicely mellowed. Malolactic fermentation also aids this mellowing. The Nebbiolo grape is among the earliest to bud and latest to ripen here as well, providing more fruit on the palate. In this level of wine, the finest vineyard sites are selected, typically facing southwest on slopes a few hundred feet high.

Now, how about the wine? On the nose were distinct red and black cherry notes, some spice and subtle oak. On the palate there was more cherry, medium tannins, and peppery spice. It was medium in body and had a nice lingering finish. Overall it was well balanced, with everything in the right place.

I am always amazed at how affordable Italian wines are in the United States, most likely as a result of how much is imported. This one was only $18, which is well below the $30 plus you’d spend on most quality Barbarescos! While not the very best one I’ve had, its a very good quality wine I would serve, and can afford. Apparently the italians are a bit shocked we import so much of their wine. I don’t know why. They must keep the REALLY good stuff for themselves!

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5 responses to “DOCG Reds of Piedmont, Part 2 – Conti Speroni Collection Terroirs Barbaresco 2008

  1. Very, very nice review of the grape variety, appellation and the wine itself.
    The only thing I do not quite agree upon in your write up is your last remark: while it is true that on very limited occasions one can find good deals on Italian wines in the US, my experience is in the vast majority of the situations just the opposite. Probably due to the significant difference in the exchange rate between a weak dollar and a very high euro, customs duties, shipping costs and distributors’ pricing policies good Italian wines most of the times retail in the US at significantly higher prices than in Italy, which is a shame.
    Just one pretty extreme example: the excellent Chardonnay Cuvee Bois from Valle d’Aosta producer Les Cretes, which retails at €35 in Italy, can be had in the US for a whopping $80. That’s just plain wrong and kills the market in the US for a great product, in my opinion.
    Take care!

    • Wow, that is high! I am fortunate to find many good Italian wines in the $10-20 range, with Barbarescos from $20-40 and Barolos starting at $60 where I live. Perhaps its just because I’m close to a large metropolitan area with a lot of shipping ports and airports? Also, I haven’t been back to Italy in too long so am unfamiliar with the quality vs price there. This sounds like an excuse to go if I ever heard one! Thanks for the feedback, I learn from dialogue like this.

      • Hehehe, yes it is always good to go back and while you are there… do some wine shopping!
        During the Vinitaly/Slow Wine event and the Gambero Rosso’s Tre Bicchieri event in NYC last month I have been talking to several great producers of Italian wines who told me they are having a hard time identifying an importer for their wines that would share their philosophy and pricing idea. Trust me, we could have access to much more great Italian wine in the US if there were better pricing (and sourcing) policies and if more energy were invested in consumer education!
        Your blog and a few other wine blogs are a step in the right direction 🙂
        Take care!

  2. Love this post! Great review and fantastic description of the the grape variety.
    Personally I prefer the Barolo over the Barbaresco but Barolo is a bit overpriced in my opinion.
    It has been a while since I red something on your blog! I was afraid you stopped blogging or so. Keep it up 🙂

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