Rizzi Barbaresco 2016 Arrivals

Winemaker Enrico Dellapiana is making focused, terroir-driven Barbaresco loaded with finesse. Bravo! KERIN O’KEEFE, The Wine Enthusiast

I came away from my late summer tastings of Barbarescos deeply impressed. The region, which has so often appeared sleepy and backward, especially compared to Barolo, seems to be going through a brilliant phase. The 2016s, wines from a potentially historic vintage, may very well put Barbaresco on the map big time. As I traveled from producer to producer, I experienced that sense of excitement and energy I always feel when in the presence of important vintages and wines… The young 2016 Barbarescos are some of the most compelling young wines I have tasted in twenty years of visiting the region.

In tasting, the 2016s are extraordinarily harmonious. The extended growing season yielded wines with healthy Nebbiolo fruit, soaring aromatics and perfectly ripe, super-polished tannins. Stylistically, the 2016s remind me of the 2004s, but with more fruit and the added finesse that comes with another dozen years of experience in farming and winemaking. The best 2016s I tasted are positively dazzling. Most of the 2016s have only recently been bottled, and yet their quality is evident. ANTONIO GALLONI

I have said it so many times I’m sure you’re sick of hearing it but Enrico Dellapiana (owner and winemaker at Cantine Rizzi) is currently crafting some of the region’s most pure, traditionally made and wonderfully expressive renderings of Nebbiolo from his family estate perched alone atop a hill which is home to the ‘Rizzi’ Cru in Treiso, than almost anyone in the wider Barbaresco region.

Nowhere is this more evident than in the startling quality of the 2016 releases. Of course, 2016 is a historic vintage in my view (and the view of countless critics as you can see) so factoring this in to the continuing upward trajectory of Rizzi’s wines in recent years and you have an irresistible combination. Those few who had a preview of the wines during Enrico’s visit a few months ago can attest to the quality here.

The characteristics of the individual vineyards are writ large in these 2016s – Nervo showing purity, precision and lifted piercing aromatics. Pajore showing an extra level of depth, weight and a structure that explodes across the palate and the “basic” Barbaresco (actually from the Rizzi cru) is a combination of both but less foreboding structure makes it an ideal 5-8 year wine.  It’s suffice to say the main focus here is on ensuring their Crus are given the best chance to sing in the bottle and the wines are gracefully fruited and transparent.

All the wines are made in a modern traditional manner and by that I mean the primary fermentation in done in stainless steel before they wines are transferred to large Slovonian oak botte for maturation. There is a little time in concrete for some wines before bottling as well.
I cannot recommend these wines more highly and I firmly believe they are at the forefront of the new wave of fabulous young producers in Barbaresco putting the region back on the map in a very big way.