Tasting Note: 2013 Serafino Rivella Barbaresco Montestefano

Wine criticism is hardly a science. To what extent can anyone actually taste a wine from barrel, something that was just bottled or just released, and know what its future will be? Fortune-telling how a wine will evolve in 5, 10, or 20 years is something that can come with experience of tasting the same wine over the years and with tasting the grapes of a region over time. There are those structural components on the palate and in the length of a wine that make for the stuff of aging. But it’s an educated guess at best to say something is going to be special down the road. The Serafino Rivella Barbaresco Montestefano is a wine that has all the makings of something that should be great in another decade.

Teobaldo Rivella only produces about 1000 cases of wine each vintage, all from the Barbaresco cru of Montestefano, and next to Teobaldo’s home. The 2 hectare vineyard is made up of limestone, with clay underneath. The vines are over 60 years old, planted by Teobaldo’s father, and are treated organically with only copper and sulfur. Rivella makes his barbaresco more akin to nearby Barolo, up to 4 weeks of maceration and a longer, 24-36 month aging in large Slavonian botti. The Serafino Rivella barbaresco wines are usually released a year plus later than most others from the region.

2013 Serafino Rivella Barbaresco Montestefano This was decanted for about 1.5 hours, but was still very young. A lovely nose of roses, chalk, cherries and savory herbs, with some underbrush qualities that were starting to come forward through the evening. The palate had fabulous acidity and gripping tannins, with a long finish. This will only get better with age given the great acidic and tannic structure, and I’m happy to still have another bottle of this to hold onto for a decade. Paired with gnocchi in a sauce of truffle burrata and porcinis, this was a spot on match. Collectible

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