I was thoroughly impressed with the wines I tasted with proprietor Giorgio Rivetti on my last trip to La Spinetta. Longer macerations and a reduction in oak influence are giving the Barbarescos a bit more fruit purity and energy than they had in the past, which is terrific news.
The 2016s are, in my view, the best wines Rivetti has made here.
Antonio Galloni, Vinous Media
2019 La Spinetta Vermentino RRP $43
100% Vermentino grown on soils of clay and sand on a south-exposed slope at 180m elevation. Spontaneous fermentation over three months in stainless steel. Aged on lees for five months, and bottled six months after harvest. Aromas of pear, pungent flowers and a herbaceous touch. Nuanced and wonderfully focused, with the energy of Vermentino driving the wine’s personality. Citrus, orchard fruit and floral notes are nicely delineated in this attractive, inviting white – La Spinetta
2014 La Spinetta Langhe Bianco RRP $96
100% Sauvignon Blanc from 36-year-old vines on the south-facing sandy soils of the Mango site, which sits at 500m above sea level. Barrel fermented in 2,000-litre French oak casks, where the wine undergoes malolactic conversion and about 12 months’ maturation. It’s then transferred to stainless steel for almost two years before bottling.
2016 La Spinetta Lidia Chardonnay RRP $153
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 April 2019
2014 La Spinetta Barbera Cà di Pian RRP $53
The grapes are sourced from the Rivettis’ Castagnole and Costigliole vineyards where the vines have an average age of 29 to 34 years, nestled among calcareous soils rich in calcium carbonate from the underlying chalk and limestone rock. Here the vines are elevated at 300m with southern exposure and trained in the Guyot system. The vineyards see no pesticides or herbicides.
The fermentation for the Barbera Cà di Pian goes for seven days in temperature-controlled rotofermenters, and malolactic conversion takes place in oak. For twelve months the wine sits in new and partly used French oak before being transferred to stainless steel tanks for a further 12 months. After bottling the wine is aged for a further 12 months and is released four years from harvest.
A rich and fruity wine with oyster shell and dark berry character. Some wet earth. Medium to full body. Flavorful finish. Serious. Well done for 2014. Drink now. 91 points. James Suckling, jamessuckling.com
2016 La Spinetta ‘Il Nero Di Casanova’ Sangiovese Terre di Pisa RRP $39
This wine comes from Tuscany’s Terre di Pisa Sangiovese DOC. 100% Sangiovese from the Casanova vineyard in Terricciola and Sezzana site in Casciana Terme. The vines are 21 years old with calcareous soils.
Fermentation takes place in temperature-controlled stainless steel over 9-10 days, followed by malolactic fermentation in medium-toast French oak barrels, for nine months. A further two months of aging in stainless steel vats before bottling. The wine is rested in bottle for another 6 months prior to release.
2015 La Spinetta ‘Il Nero Di Casanova’ Sangiovese Terre di Pisa RRP $35
2017 La Spinetta Langhe Nebbiolo RRP $53
The Langhe Nebbiolo grapes come from the estate-grown Starderi cru site in Neive, with calcareous soil of limestone and chalk. In line with La Spinetta’s biodynamic philosophy no pesticides or herbicides are used. Nestled in a small valley the wines made from the Starderi Vineyard show power and length. With an average vine age of 19 to 22 years, the Langhe Nebbiolo shows a significant resemblance to that of a Barolo.
With fermentation lasting for seven days in a temperature-controlled environment the wine is transferred to barrels for malolactic fermentation. The wine sees 12 months in new and partly used French oak before being moved to stainless steel vats for two months prior to bottling. From here the wine ages in bottle for 12 months with no fining or filtration. The Langhe Nebbiolo is finally released three years after harvest.
2016 La Spinetta Langhe Nebbiolo RRP $53
Great typicality, crushed violets and raspberry fruit and nice savoury crunchy notes. Round and attractive on the palate with firm tannins and juicy cool fruit to back it up. Not quite ready for business yet, but the fruit and acidity are all there and in perfect order. 16/20 Alistair Cooper MW jancisrobinson.com December 2019
2017 La Spinetta Barbaresco Bordini RRP $124
100% Nebbiolo from the Bordini site, 270m high in the village of Neive in the Barbaresco production zone. It’s a four hectare south-facing site on calcareous soils, and the vines have an average age of between 26 and 29 years. The site is sustainably farmed with no use of chemical herbicides or pesticides. Alcoholic fermentation takes place in temperature-controlled rotofermenters and lasts between seven and eight days. The wine undergoes malolactic fermentation in oak, where the wine is aged for between 20 and 22 months. From these medium toast French oak vessels (50% new and 50% one-year-old) it’s transferred to stainless steel vats for three months before bottling with no fining or filtration. It is then rested for a further 24 months in bottle before release.
2016 La Spinetta Barbaresco Bordini RRP $117
This Barbaresco is of a thicker and darker concentration than the others within this set of new releases, with ripe cherry fruit and dark berries that lift immediately from the glass. But the 2016 Barbaresco Vigneto Bordini is thinner and less consequential in the mouth than I had expected from the appearance. This is a very linear and streamlined approach that could accompany a tenderloin carpaccio with arugula, shaved Parmesan and extra virgin olive oil. 92 points. Monica Larner, Wine Advocate June 2019
A uniquely pretty nose with plenty of peach tea, persimmon and earl grey tea. Medium to full body, round and generous tannins and a orange-coated finish. Drink from 2021. 93 points. James Suckling, jamessuckling.com November 2017
2016 La Spinetta Barbaresco Gallina RRP $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 56 years. True to the La Spinetta philosophy, no pesticides or herbicides are used. Prior to its release three years from harvest, this Barbaresco sees fermentation for eight days in a temperature-controlled environment. Malolactic fermentation takes place in oak before maturation for 20-22 months in new, medium-toast French oak barrels. The wine is aged for a further three months in stainless steel vats. No filtration or clarifying is done before bottling and a further 12 months’ aging.
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 August 2019
The 2016 Barbaresco Gallina Vürsù is a streamlined wine that brings less to the table in terms of richness but more in terms of intensity and structure. The tannins here are well integrated, and there are some light notes of spice and tobacco, but this beautiful Nebbiolo still has a way to go. This vintage should look forward to aging gracefully. The wine ages in oak for 22 months. 94 points. Monica Larner, Wine Advocate June 2019
Wow. This is at once a pronounced and vibrant nose, revealing wild strawberries, peaches, freshly picked raspberries, cinnamon, rose petals and stems. I love the steely tannins on the palate, which carve out an iron fist of fruit, but also a generous and velvety texture. Long and intense on the finish. Drink from 2024. 95 points. James Suckling, jamessuckling.com April 2019
2016 La Spinetta Barbaresco Starderi RRP $305
Sourced from the Starderi cru site, 270m above sea level. The calcareous soil features a lot of chalk and limestone. The vines have an average age of 52 to 57 years and are farmed sustainably, with no use of pesticides or herbicides. The Barbaresco is fermented for eight days, with malolactic conversion taking place in oak. The wine matures in new, medium-toast French oak for 20-22 months before being moved to stainless steel vats for three months. The wine is bottled and aged a further 12 months without filtration or fining.
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 August 2019
The 2016 Barbaresco Starderi Vürsù starts with a no-nonsense obscure color and ends with lots of dark fruit on the close. In between, it shows a spot of bitterness on the tongue, delivered with ripe fruit and some rather tight tannins. There are lots of tar notes here too, along with the sort of resin and camphor ash you might not have been expecting from such a youthful Barbaresco. But this one has a heavy center of gravity and is not to be trifled with. It’s a big and bold wine that demands a rare cut of beef. 95 points. Monica Larner, Wine Advocate June 2019
Raspberry coulis, dried red plums, vanilla, cedar and spice box make for a pronounced and beguiling nose. Full-bodied and very powerful on the palate, yet the tannins are polished and the acidity focused and refreshing. Drink from 2023. 95 points. James Suckling, jamessuckling.com April 2019
2016 La Spinetta Barbaresco Valeirano RRP $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 from 50 to 55 years. It has calcareous soil scattered with large stones, providing excellent drainage. Released three years post-harvest, the Barbaresco DOCG sees an intensive aging process, with up to 22 months in new French oak, then three months in stainless steel tanks and a further 12 months in the bottle. It gets no fining or filtering, and can be cellared for up to 30 years. Fermentation is a slow eight days in rotofermenters at a controlled temperature before malolactic conversation takes place in oak.
The 2016 Barbaresco Vigneto Valeirano is the most refined wine I have tasted from this site in Treiso. The tannins, always forbidding in Valeirano, are wonderfully polished, and yet convey the essential feeling of structure that is such a central part of what makes Barbaresco so compelling as a wine. Dark wild cherry, incense, graphite, spice and dried flowers add shades of dimension to this virile, potent Barbaresco that captures the essence of this site, but with an added touch of sophistication that is quite welcome. I can’t wait to see how the 2016 ages. In a word: Superb! 95+ points. Antonio Galloni, Vinous Media August 2019
Another wine of importance from La Spinetta, this is a well-structured and compact expression with lots of dark fruit and ripe berries buried within. The 2016 Barbaresco Valeirano Vürsù, sporting a fittingly hefty rhinoceros depicted on the front of the bottle, is heavier and denser than the others from this line. There are dry and astringent tannins, and like the pachyderm on the label, this wine will live to a ripe old age—if it isn’t poached from the cellar beforehand. 95+ points. Monica Larner, Wine Advocate June 2019
Dark peaches, glazed cherries, Christmas cake, orange peel and wet earth. Full-bodied and very structured on the palate, where chewy tannins carry dried red berries long and spicy. Drink from 2023. 94 points. James Suckling, jamessuckling.com April 2019
2016 La Spinetta Barolo Garretti RRP $148
100% Nebbiolo from vines with an average age of 35 years, grown on a calcareous, south-facing slope at an elevation of 200m. Sustainably farmed, with no use of pesticides or herbicides. Alcoholic fermentation for 10 days in temperature controlled roto-fermenters followed by malolactic fermentation in 600-litre medium-toast French oak casks (50% new and 50% one-year-old), then aged for 20 months. Transferred to stainless steel for three months before bottling with no fining or filtration.
2015 La Spinetta Barolo Campè RRP $355
100% Nebbiolo from Campè the vineyard surrounding La Spinetta’s winery in Grinzane Cavour. It’s a 3.5ha south-facing site on calcareous soils, and the vines have an average age of about 55 years. It’s farmed sustainably, with no chemical hebicides or pesticides. Alcoholic fermentation takes place in temperature-controlled rotofermenters and lasts between six and seven days. The wine undergoes malolactic fermentation in oak, where the wine is aged for 24 months. From these new, medium-toast French oak vessels it’s transferred to stainless steel vats for nine months before bottling with no fining or filtration. It then rests in bottle for 12 months before release four years after the harvest.
La Spinetta’s 2015 Barolo Campè is one of the wines in this vintage that will drink well right out of the gate. Broad and ample on the palate, the 2015 possesses tremendous textural richness and sheer volume. Black cherry, plum, licorice, spice, menthol and chocolate abound in this inviting Barolo from La Spinetta. The 2015 is decidedly racy and exotic in style, both of which adds to its considerable allure. 93 points. Antonio Galloni, Vinous Media February 2019
This Barolo has a nice dose of soft spice and an accessible and upfront style. The 2015 Barolo Campè Vürsù is a dark and velvety wine with lots of dark intensity. You could wait for more tertiary aromas to evolve or easily pop this bottle open in a year or two with some braised short ribs. 94 points. Monica Larner, Wine Advocate June 2019
Very distinctive nose with violets and very pure blackcurrants and blueberries, as well as leafy nuances, all of which deliver a fresh impression. The palate has impressive depth and density and the cool, blue fruit at the center sits fresh and vibrant. Smoothly resolved tannins shape a distinguished, balanced and long palate. Drink or hold. 97 points. James Suckling, jamessuckling.com January 2019
2019 La Spinetta Moscato d’Asti Bricco Quaglia RRP $43
Italy’s first single-vineyard Moscato comes from vines of between 35 and 40 years old, on a calcareous and sandy-soil, south-facing slope at an elevation of 300m. Farmed sustainably, with no use of herbicides or pesticides. It’s yellow with green tints, sweet with dried apricots and crisp peach, with remarkable freshness and brilliant fruit flavours, bright acidity and a zingy finish. 5.5% alcohol by volume.
2017 La Spinetta Moscato d’Asti Bricco Quaglia 375ml RRP $28
Bright pale yellow. Intense, pure aromas of grapefruit skin, crystallized ginger, aromatic herbs and honey. Juicy, precise and penetrating, with luscious yet taut flavors of lemon thyme, vanilla, ripe citrus and pear accented by honey and maple syrup. Closes luscious, long and very dense. Made with grapes grown in 33- to 38-year-old Moscato Bianco vineyards. 92 points. Ian D’Agata, Vinous Media December 2018