We wanted a serious red wine without breaking the bank. I was leafing through the Piedmont section of the wine list at Accademia di Vino, a regular haunt on Manhattan’s East Side, and considering a number of 2001, 2004 and 2005 Barolos at $175-plus. John, the maitre d’, pointed to Castello di Neive Barbaresco 2005. It was $95 on the list and, he promised, it should go splendidly with the Easter week special of wood-roasted baby lamb we wanted for a main course.
John knew my preference for the modern style of Barolo and Barbaresco—more fruit and less schmutz in the flavor profile. Neive fills that bill, embracing new technologies and approaches to winegrowing without losing the traditional character of the wines. They just seem fresher, and that was the case with this Barbaresco. It had refinement and elegance with subtle flavors of currant and dried strawberry, hints of licorice and tar deepening the finish. 91 points, non-blind.
Not only did the Barbaresco do the lamb proud, it went fine with one of my favorite pasta dishes, Bavette (similar to spaghetti) Cacio e Pepe, simply tossed with grated pecorino, olive oil, pepper and some of the pasta water to make a glaze-like sauce.
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