Sunday, February 16, 2020

A Journey Through Barbaresco with a Visit to Paitin

I’ve taken too long of a break writing about the wines of Piedmont.  Not on purpose, but when you’re writing about Italian wines there are just so many to try and discover and I’ve been pulled this way and that.  The wine region of Piedmont definitely holds a special place in my heart and I’ve always been very impressed from many kinds of wines produced there.   

I’ve only visited this region one, sad to say, and it was back in October 2009 when I traveled northern Italy with my parents.  We had so many great visits at wineries and the food there is to die for.  Along my travels I stopped in at one winery, Paitin, within the Barbaresco wine region and had a personal tasting with Giovanni Pasquero-Elia, son of Secondo Pasquero-Elia whom founded the wine estate.  They both manage it today along with Giovanni’s brother, Silvano, and Giovanni’s son, Luca.  
Giovanni Pasquero Elia of Paitin winery Barbaresco
Giovanni Pasquero Elia & myself in 2009
The Land 
Barbaresco is one of the great wine appellations of Italy located within the Piedmont region in north-western Italy.  It is famed for their quality nebbiolo based wines amongst others.  You’ll find the Barbaresco appellation in the southern part of Piedmont as you start to approach the Ligurian Alps.  It’s situated on the right bank of the Tanaro River just east of the prominent town of Alba. 

Piedmont is a wine region quite unique in that much of the land has site specific vineyards that each craft very terroir driven wines.  Piedmont boasts a high number of single vineyard wines that display these particular characteristics.   It’s said that some time ago the best parcels of land were determined by where the snow melted the fastest as that showed the level of exposure to the sun for the grapes to grow. 
The wine today I’m sharing is labeled Sori Paitin.  Both terms, sori and bricco, are important that it tells a lot about where the grapes have been grown.  Bricco relates to the best vineyard sites set high up on the hill.  Sori represents an area that receives an ample amount of sunshine. 
Neive commune of Barbaresco wine region

The Winery 
The Paitin winery was established in 1893, but the family had been growing grapes since 1796 going back 8 generations within the family.  Paitin is located within the district of the Langhe, or Langa, and in one of the major communes within Barbaresco called Neive.  The winery became certified organic in 2019 and although they practice some methods of biodynamics they are not certified at this time.   
Paitin di Pasquero Elia in Neive Barbaresco
The Wine 
2003 Paitin di Pasquero Elia Barbaresco Sori Paitin – This wine is grown in one of the “cru” vineyards of Nieve, Serraboella.  The Serraboella cru has been within the family for a long time since the family purchased it back in 1796. Paitin’s website defines this cru as producing “dark and vibrant, profound and long running, tense and elegant” wines.  Its vines are situated on west to southwest slopes.  The first vintage of this wine was released in 1893.  The nebbiolo grapes macerate for about 3-6 weeks and spend about 2 years in both Austrian and Slavonian oak.  Aromas of ripe fruit along with spice.  A dense structure displaying flavors of cherries, baking spice with hints of tobacco.  Firm tannins that became more elegant upon aeration. ABV 14% SRP $50 

The Pairing 
I always believe in saving wines like these for celebrations and any wine I bring back from Italy always brings back fond memories upon opening it.  I enjoyed it on Christmas Day with my family and we reminisced about our tasting with Giovanni.  It was thoroughly enjoyed with a pairing of roast prime rib.  It was still drinking particularly well at almost 20 years of age and is a perfect accompaniment to roast meat.  
Food pairing with Paitin Barbaresco