We welcome a rich and varied offering from the Rivetti family of La Spinetta.
As always, there are a couple of faithful Tuscans in the mix – the new Vermentino from 2020 and Sangiovese from 2017 – plus a diverse smattering of Piedmontese prowess.
These are led by a young Barbera d’Asti Superiore from 2018 – a wine that has brightened up its image considerably in recent years. This joins a Langhe Nebbiolo from the same cooler harvest, as well as the family’s Bordini – always the first of the Barbaresco wines to be released.
The other three cru Barbareschi continue their scintillating form in 2017 – while there’s still a chance to get your hands on the last stocks of the excellent ‘16s.
Flying the flag solo for Barolo is the 2017 Garretti, “a wine of depth, dark fruit and concentration”, according to Wine Advocate’s Monica Larner.
For many years now we’ve seen a steady and notable drift towards greater finesse at La Spinetta, while still remaining confident and faithful to the strength of site and vine variety.
This latest suite is certainly set to please a wide range of wine lovers who love the contours and powerful personality of Tuscany and Piedmont.
2020 La Spinetta Vermentino $43
100% Vermentino grown on sandy soils of marine origin, rich with oceanic sediments. The 15-year-old vines grow on a southeast-exposed slope at 250m elevation in Terricciola. Spontaneous fermentation in stainless steel, then aged on lees for three months.
The wine is pale yellow with green hues. The nose shows hints of aromatic Mediterranean herbs and bergamot orange. It’s fresh with mineral and citrus notes, plus hints of Mediterranean vegetation. A clean and decisive finish. – La Spinetta
2016 La Spinetta Lidia Chardonnay $154
The Mango vineyard, named for its sandy soil, is located in Piedmont and sits 500m above sea level. Both alcoholic and malolactic fermentation are done inside large French oak barrels before the wine is transferred to stainless steel vats for 24 months. The wine is named in honour of Lidia Rivetti, founder and mother of Giorgio, who now runs the estate.
Tangy and fruity with sliced-apple and cooked-pear character. Honey, too. Medium to full body. Bright acidity and a clean finish. Drink now.91 points. James Suckling, jamessuckling.com
2017 La Spinetta ‘Il Nero Di Casanova’ Sangiovese $40
This wine comes from Tuscany’s Toscana Sangiovese IGT. It’s 100% Sangiovese from vineyards within the Terricciola municipality and Sezzana site in Casciana Terme. The vines sit at around 250 metres above sea level and have an average age of more than 20 years. Terricciola has sandy soils of marine origin, and is rich with ocean sediments. Casciana Terme has rocky soil, strongly characterised by travertine.
Fermentation and maceration take place in temperature-controlled stainless steel over 14-15 days, followed by malolactic fermentation in used (2nd and 3rd use) French oak barrels, for 12 months. The wine is rested in bottle for another three months prior to release.
Intense ruby in colour, it has elegant notes of wild violets, ripe red fruits and cinnamon. It’s decisive and well-structured on the palate, with notes of white pepper and graphite. – La Spinetta
2018 La Spinetta Barbera d’Asti Superiore Cà di Pian $64
This comes from vines with an average age of 40 years, grown on calcareous marl soils at an altitude of 300m in Castagnole delle Lanze, Costigliole d’Asti and Montegrosso d’Asti. Maceration and alcoholic fermentation in temperature-controlled vats for an average period of nine days.
Malolactic fermentation takes place in used French oak barrels (part new), where the wine is aged for 13 months. It’s then aged in bottle for at least another three months prior to release.
It’s violet-red in colour and shows hints of red fruits, herbs and wild violets. It’s extremely elegant and balanced on the palate, with fresh and powerful flavours There are intense aromas of blackberry and morello cherries. This wine is truly captivating, yet it remains fresh and extremely versatile. – La Spinetta
Average vine age of 40 years, grown at an altitude of 300m in Castagnole delle Lanze, Costigliole d’Asti and Montegrosso d’Asti. Pretty bloody good Barbera. At a pinch you could point at the alcohol warmth here but in all other respects this is picture perfect. It combines grunt and polish so skilfully. Leather, boysenberry, red liquorice, dried herb and choc notes put on quite a show. Absolutely dustily delicious but with a firm, dry, tea-leaf seriousness too. I’d buy this in a heartbeat, personally.92+ points. Campbell Mattinson, The Wine Front
2018 La Spinetta Langhe Nebbiolo $59
It’s evident from the quality and character of La Spinetta Langhe Nebbiolo that this wine is a blend from Spinetta’s three Barbaresco vineyards in Neive.
The grapes undergo maceration and alcoholic fermentation in temperature-controlled vats for an average period of 10 days. Malolactic fermentation in used French oak barrels, followed by 12 months of aging. Finally, the wine is rested in bottle for a further six months or so before release.
The wine is ruby red in the glass, with hints of freshly picked red and purple fruits. On the palate, fresh cherry and menthol notes are wrapped within a subtle but precise structure that gives a persistent finish. – La Spinetta
Giorgio Rivetti is very proud of this wine and his work in this classic, slightly cool vintage. The La Spinetta 2018 Langhe Nebbiolo offers dark tones and bright fruit definition with forest berry, wild rose and cedar wood. I actually tasted some ripeness and softness in this wine, which adds to its immediate and universal appeal. You could pair a wine like this with a wide range of foods, from pasta to breaded veal. Fruit comes from the youngest plants in the Starderi vineyard (in Barbaresco), and the wine is aged in barrique.91 points. Monica Larner, Wine Advocate
2017 La Spinetta Barolo Garretti $149
100% Nebbiolo from vines with an average age of 70 years, grown on a calcareous, south-facing slope in Grinzane Cavour at an elevation of 240m. Sustainably farmed, with no use of pesticides or herbicides.
The fruit undergoes maceration and alcoholic fermentation in temperature-controlled vats for an average period of 10 days. Malolactic conversion takes place in French oak barrels, followed by 22 months of aging. It is then bottle-aged for about six months.
It’s ruby red in colour, with hints of ripe red fruits, candied orange and pink flowers. The palate exhibits perfect harmony between structure and freshness, with notes of spice and menthol. The tannins are pronounced and powerful. – La Spinetta
Lots of dried roses with stems to the strawberry and cherry character. It’s full-bodied and chewy with lots of fruit and wood tannins that pucker your mouth now. But it should come around nicely with bottle age. Try after 2023.94 points. James Suckling, jamessuckling.com
2018 La Spinetta Barbaresco Bordini $125
100% Nebbiolo from the Bordini site, 240m high in the village of Neive in the Barbaresco production zone. It’s a 4.5-hectare south-facing site at 240m elevation on calcareous soils, and the vines have an average age 40 years. The site is sustainably farmed with no use of chemical herbicides or pesticides.
The fruit undergoes maceration and alcoholic fermentation in temperature-controlled vats for an average period of 14 days. Malolactic conversion takes place in French oak barrels, followed by 16 months of aging. It is then bottle-aged for about six months.
It’s light ruby red in colour, with hints of redcurrant, peaches in syrup and nutmeg. The palate shows great balance between freshness and structure, with notes of small red fruits, ginger and wild fennel. The finish is persistent and broad. – La Spinetta
La Spinetta’s 2018 Barbaresco Bordini is a very nuanced and streamlined expression. It opens softly to present aromas of red and purple currants. The elegance of the wine comes out, thanks to the subtle mineral tones of crushed limestone and dry earth that lift so delicately from the bouquet. The La Spinetta house style is normally richer and more concentrated, and this cool vintage comes as a nice surprise.93 points. Monica Larner, Wine Advocate
2017 La Spinetta Barbaresco Gallina $305
The grapes hail from the first cru site La Spinetta purchased: Gallina. It features calcareous soil with bounteous chalk and limestone. The average age of the vines is 57 years. True to the La Spinetta philosophy, no pesticides or herbicides are used.
The fruit undergoes maceration and alcoholic fermentation in temperature-controlled vats for an average period of eight days. Malolactic conversion takes place in French oak barrels, in which 30% are new and the remaining used (2nd passage), followed by 18 months of aging. It is then bottle-aged for about eight months.
It’s ruby red in colour, with hints of ripe red fruits, poppies and cloves. The palate has notes of ripe red berries and ginger jam. It has a broad and persistent finish, with a good presence of soft, yet strong tannins. – La Spinetta
A beautiful, focused red with intensity and brilliance, showing cherry, watermelon, truffle and mushroom aromas and flavours. It’s full-bodied, yet tight and refined. Long finish. Try after 2023.95 points. James Suckling, jamessuckling.com
2016 La Spinetta Barbaresco Gallina $305
Supremely elegant and light on its feet, La Spinetta’s 2016 Barbaresco Vigneto Gallina is simply fabulous. Freshly cut flowers, mint, spice and a touch of French oak add nuance to a core of sweet red/purplish berry fruit. Wonderfully supple and racy, the Gallina captures every bit of the potential 2016 had to offer. This is such a gorgeous wine. I can’t remember tasting a Gallina here with this much diversity.95 points. Antonio Galloni, Vinous Media
2017 La Spinetta Barbaresco Starderi $305
Sourced from the Starderi cru site, 230m above sea level. Blue tinted calcareous marl with a small amount of clay. The southwest-facing vines have an average age of 55 years and are farmed sustainably, with no use of pesticides or herbicides.
Maceration and alcoholic fermentation in temperature-controlled vats for an average period of 14-15 days. Malolactic conversion takes place in French oak barrels, of which 30% are new and the remaining are second use. The wine is matured in barrel for 19 months. It is then bottle-aged for about seven months before release.
It’s ruby red in the glass and shows hints of red-berry jam, nutmeg and tobacco. On first taste, it is mineral, spicy and balsamic, followed by a broad and decisive finish. The tannins are smooth and well structured. – La Spinetta
Lots of dried roses with stems to the strawberry and cherry This is dense and tight with layers of berry, dried orange-peel, meat and chocolate character, yet ever so refined and complex. Full-bodied with firm tannins and a long, flavourful finish. Give it three or four years to come around. Try in 2024.96 points. James Suckling, jamessuckling.com
2016 La Spinetta Barbaresco Starderi $305
The 2016 Barbaresco Vigneto Starderi is outrageously beautiful. Dense, powerful and rich, the 2016 races out of the glass with huge fruit to match its classically mid-weight profile. Super-ripe red/purplish berry fruit, wild flowers, licorice and mint play off the huge tannins with real grace. Readers have to be patient, but the 2016 Starderi is a rock star wine. That’s pretty much all there is to it.96 points. Antonio Galloni, Vinous Media
2017 La Spinetta Barbaresco Valeirano $305
Located in the town of Treiso lies the smallest of La Spinetta’s vineyards, with a mere three hectares. Valeirano is one of the most important crus, with vines aged 55 years old on average at an elevation of 380m. Soils are clayey limestone marl, of marine origin, with some sand.
The fruit undergoes maceration and alcoholic fermentation in temperature-controlled vats for an average period of 11 days. Malolactic conversion takes place in French oak barrels, in which 30% are new and the remaining used (2nd passage), followed by 18 months of aging. It is then bottle-aged for about seven months.
The wine is intense ruby red in colour. The nose shows hints of redcurrant, green tea and chocolate. It’s mineral and balsamic on the palate, with notes of ripe fruit and liquorice. The tannins are firm and smooth. – La Spinetta
The 2017 Barbaresco Valeirano Vürsù shows increased focused and brighter high notes compared to the other new releases from La Spinetta. The Valeirano cru is located in Treiso and sees 50- to 60-year-old vines planted at 380 meters above sea level, where they benefit from cool night-time temperatures in the crucial weeks leading up to harvest. The wine is packed tight with black cherry and blackberry with light shadings of cedar, licorice and spice at the back. These wines from 2017 all tend to show extra tannic intensity, although this expression appears the silkiest of them all.95 points. Monica Larner, Wine Advocate