Rizzi – Barbaresco, Piemonte

This beautiful, family-owned winery is situated at the top of the “Rizzi” hill just outside the village of Neive, with a beautiful view over the communes of Treiso and Alba. The Dellapiana family own 44 hectares of vines, half of which produce Nebbiolo grapes used for their Barbarescos.

Winemaking here is traditional in style; the fermenting grapes spend up to 25 days on their skins, which are submerged in the fermenting wine by a wooden grid to enhance extraction. No new oak barrels are used in the elevage of the wines; Enrico “Rico” Dellapiana, the winemaker, sees the taste of oak as a defect in a wine. For him, the true characteristics of Barbaresco are tension, elegance and finesse, and it is these qualities he tries to impart in all his bottlings.

I was hugely impressed by these wines; by their freshness, elegance and fine structure in combination with their ripe, opulent red cherry fruit flavours. I was also amazed to discover that Rico not only makes all the wines, but he also hand-paints every individual label for their Boito Reserva magnums – over 300 labels each vintage! There are not many winemakers with this artistic passion!