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

I was deeply impressed with the wines I tasted on my most recent trip to Barbaresco. Both 2020 and 2021 are terrific vintages with plenty of highlights. Best of all, so many wines remain reasonably priced within the context of today’s market, something that is increasingly evident as wines from other regions become quite pricey… In tasting, the 2020s are beautifully balanced. The wines show mid-weight structure and a fine sense of harmony. There are a number of exceptional 2020 Barbaresco... A number of producers made some of their best wines ever. ANTONIO GALLONI 

I know this will sound like a big call but I reckon Rizzi are making close to the best, and best value, Barbaresco in the region today. I had that reinforced again last week when I had a quickfire tasting with owner and winemaker Enrico Dellapiana at the family estate in the commune of Treiso. These are wines that carry a directness and purity of terroir and nebbiolo that make me smile as soon as I shove my nose in the glass. 

After tasting through his newly released 2021s we had a recap of the 2020s. The 2021s are excellent – classically styled wines for a longer ageing window – but the 2020s were the star. As he said, smiling, I love the 2020s. I wasn’t about to argue, the wines are as good as I’ve ever seen from him; such beautiful renderings of their sites within the context of Rizzi’s enlightened traditional styling. Fruit and site are etched into the DNA of his wines and no more so than in these 2020s. 

Anyway, so I leave thinking about these wines and, because I’m an insomniac I get up at 2am and look at what we said when we offered the wines in the recent past…but we didn’t, never have! They’re in the warehouse but never have we darkened your inbox with anything about them. Roscoe offered the excellent “proxy” classico – it’s actually a single cru as well but we’ve never offered the Nervo or the Pajore. 

Nervo is a vineyard which runs from below their estate, tracking the road (via Rizzi) to just below the village of Treiso. The soil here is more about sand and limestone with a little clay. As a result, the wine is more about wafting aromatics, mineral and a fine, fine tannin profile. There’s a subtlety here that belies a deeply layered and exciting Barbaresco. 
By contrast, the Pajore – by far the more famous of the two crus – is a bolder more robust expression. Darker fruit tones, more ferrous minerality thread through the wines from this site. There’s a “masculinity” in the wines from here but that comes with real breed in the tannin profile. 

They’re two very different but equally exciting wines. In some vintages I prefer Pajore and its gravitas and bolder expression but I always have a lingering thing for the Nervo and it’s ethereal nuanced nature. In 2020, I’m marginally in the Nevro camp. 

I’ve listed the two wines below with reviews and great pricing. I’ve got a small amount of both in the warehouse now but I’ll be shipping more after my re-taste the other day. 


Michael McNamara