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2019 #Piemonte | Rizzi winery, Barbaresco

Updated: Jan 7

Somehow happened that for visiting Barbaresco this time the only one winery was planned in my schedule, but it was a great estate Rizzi, which belongs to Dellapiana family. As my visit was scheduled almost in the evening, basically we didn't have time to see whole #winery, only to taste the wines, which are great by the way. Luckily I've had a chance to get to know whole super nice family: Jole, Ernesto and Enrico, who were working hard in the winery as these days were the time of Dolcetto harvest.

A bit about this very nice family, classical Piemontese winemakers and simply very friendly people.


Ernesto, the founder of the estate, super charismatic and engaging gentleman we met in the winery nearby destemming machine, when he was taking care of Dolcetto grapes being destemmed right at that moment. Ernesto was grown up in 40s in #Langhe, in the 50s moved to Turin for studying and living a bigcitylife and in the 70s came back to Treiso area, returning to his roots, driven by his passion of the land. Ernesto started working with wine in the old family house called Rizzi (=hedgehogs in Italian), which belongs to the family during many years, where he managed a lot of reconstruction works and in 1974 made his first #vintage. In 80s and 90s Ernesto enlarged the property of the family with Boito and Villa Manzona farmhouses. Nowadays Rizzi estate is one of the largest in the area, own 44 hectares of vineyards in Barbaresco, thanks to Ernesto, his energy and passion to this land.

Jole, Ernesto's daughter, very intelligent and pleasant lady, who managed my visit in the best way. Jole is responsible for commercial, sales and marketing parts of the estate's management.


Enrico, Ernesto's son, the #winemaker of the estate. Enrico takes care of all technical stuff, the cellars, production and sales, both local and export. At that evening, when Dolcetto's was being destemmed and transferred into the stainless steel tanks, Enrico also was in the winery around to control all the processes, of course.

Rizzi house built at the end of the 18th century and located on a very beautiful hill with the same name Rizzi in #Barbaresco area around Treiso town. The vineyards of the estate are located in different areas of Barbaresco on the hills of 220-430 m above sea level. The family grows #Nebbiolo for Barbaresco in the crus Rizzi, Pajorè, Nervo, and other varieties in crus Manzola, Giacone and Bricco di Neive.

The whole Barbaresco area under the grapevine is around 700 hectares, which is about 40% less than Barololand. The climate of Barbaresco is continental, with harsh winters, hot and humid summers and average temperatures 10C-25C. #Barbaresco main wine production zones are around towns Barbaresco (surprised naming), Treiso and Neive. Treiso, where Rizzi estate is located, is a small village, around which a lot of farmhouses spread onto the hills with a breathtaking views. Lovely place.

As said, it was late unfortunately and we skipped the winery part and went right to the #wine tasting. The family produces a wide line up, of which I was able to try Alta Langa, Langhe Chardonnay, Langhe Nebbiolo and four crus of Barbaresco.

Talking in general about a style of Rizzi wines, actually they are incredible, definitely my style: smart, elegant, bone dry with balanced acid, subtle but strong and multilayered in the same time. Love the way they are made, no doubts Enrico and Ernesto are both super talented winemakers.

Alta Langa DOCG Pas dose


Grapes: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir

Vintage: 2015

Alcohol: 12,5%

Vinification: alcoholic fermentation in stainless steel

Ageing: in stainless steel 7-8 months, second fermentation in bottle min 48 months

Nose: green apple, grapefruit, white flowers, brioche

Palate: intense, high acidity, delicate texture


Actually Alta Langa DOC is a brand new discovery for me, my personal surprise. I would say now it becomes one of my favorites in mid level sparklings along with French Cremants and Franciacorta #pasdose forever. This particular one is a very good Metodo Classico from Langhe, crafted from the grapes grown is Treiso hills at 270-430 m altitude, on white marl clayey calcareous soils. It results in the sparkling with a very good structure, refreshing high acidity, juicy citrus and green fruit flavours. Delicate, vibrant and fine #sparkling, liked it.

Chardonnay Langhe DOC


Grapes: Chardonnay

Vintage: 2018

Alcohol: 13%

Vinification: in stainless steel

Ageing: in stainless steel about 6 months

Nose: nectarine, pineapple, wet stones, grapefruit

Palate: well balanced, mineral


Yes, generally I'm not a supporter of an idea of Chardonnay growing in Langhe, as was pointed while talking about Paolo Scavino and Renato Ratti wines, and I'm still on the side of keep-that-mass-market-Chardonnay-for-another-land, but... this particular Rizzi #wine stands aside from those, as it is totally different one, made in a good manner of elegance and freshness, with thin mineral notes, fine white flowers' aromas and delicate citrus flavours. Actually I asked Jole - how did you do it so good in Langhe terriors, and the answer was "Papa always wanted it to be exactly like this and always did it this way". Chapeau.

Langhe Nebbiolo DOC


Grapes: Nebbiolo 100%

Vintage: 2017

Alcohol: 14%

Vinification: alcoholic fermentation in stainless steel tanks with maceration on skins about 3 weeks, malolactic around 30 days

Ageing: 12 months in oak barrels, later in bottle

Nose: violet, raspberry, dried roses, cloves

Palate: soft tannins, round mid palate, dried strawberry


Beautiful baby Barbaresco, full of red berries and dried flowers aromas with hints of white pepper and spices. For #Nebbiolo it is quite easy drinking, delicate and very approachable. Fresh and balanced with a firm structure, high but soft tannins and intense flavours.

Barbaresco DOCG Rizzi


Grapes: Nebbiolo 100%

Vintage: 2016

Alcohol: 14%

Vinification: alcoholic fermentation in stainless steel tanks with maceration on skins about 25-35 days, malolactic around 30 days

Ageing: 12-15 months in oak barrels, min 8 months in concrete tanks, later in bottle, totally 3 years

Nose: cranberry, dried herbs, grinded coffee, roasted almond

Palate: fine tannins, long finish


This classic Barbaresco is produced from Nebbiolo planted in Rizzi cru, at the altitude of 220-310 m, on the white marl limestone soils. Rizzi owns around 10 hectares in this cru and produce this beautiful wine from the #grapes grown on the east part, at the border with Nervo cru, where the white marl and limestone are thinner with a bit higher share of sand, which results in a very elegant, highly perfumed and persistent wine.

Barbaresco DOCG Pajorè


Grapes: Nebbiolo 100%

Vintage: 2015

Alcohol: 14%

Vinification: alcoholic fermentation in stainless steel tanks with maceration on skins about 25-30 days, malolactic around 30 days

Ageing: 12-15 months in oak barrels, min 8 months in concrete tanks, later in bottle, totally 3 years

Nose: wild strawberry, red currant, liquorice, leather

Palate: full body, strong tannins, black pepper


Basically vinification and ageing methods for all Barbaresco wines of the estate are same, the difference is only terrior. All the crus are absolutely different, resulting in the diverse wines, what is proved by tasting them side by side. Pajorè #cru is one of the most famous vineyards in Langhe. The vineyard in the heart of Pajorè, where Rizzi owns about 3 hectares, is located on 230-300 m above sea level on the marl soils. Pajorè is the most vibrant Barbaresco in Rizzi's line up though. Distinctive, slightly spicy character, crispy, complex and harmonious. Excellent #wine, very specific and remarkable. Already in my list of favorites.

Barbaresco DOCG Nervo


Grapes: Nebbiolo 100%

Vintage: 2015

Alcohol: 14%

Vinification: alcoholic fermentation in stainless steel tanks with maceration on skins about 3 weeks, malolactic around 30 days

Ageing: 12 months in oak barrels, 8-12 months in concrete tanks, later in bottle, totally 3 years

Nose: raspberry, dark chocolate, liquorice, cinnamon

Palate: delicate, velvety tannins, earthy


Barbaresco Nervo is love from the first sight. Subtle, gentle, wise, extremely elegant, sophisticated and sensitive. Nervo cru is one of the finest vineyards in the entire area, and this particular wine is a proof. No more words needed, just try it.

Barbaresco DOCG Rizzi Riserva Boito


Grapes: Nebbiolo 100%

Vintage: 2013

Alcohol: 14%

Vinification: alcoholic fermentation in stainless steel tanks with maceration on skins about 25-35 days, malolactic around 30 days

Ageing: 20-24 months in oak barrels, 6-8 months in concrete and stainless stell tanks, later in bottle, totally 5 years

Nose: red cherry, rose, eucalyptus, tobacco leaves, liquorice

Palate: dry, full body, austere


Apparently the most powerful and masculine Barbaresco in the line up. Super severe, with rich tannins, rigid structure, intentionally crafted for a very long ageing. This Barbaresco is created from the best grapes grown in the vineyard called Boito, located on the upper part of Rizzi cru. Boito has a deep marl limestone #soil with a long cutting of clay throughout the whole hill, which results in wine of pure elegance, tannic structure and perfect longevity. Great wine, absolutely worth attention and respect. And yes, special wine deserves special label. Design of Boito labels is created by Enrico, every vintage he paints by himself a new label. Love such super personal approach to the things.

Many thanks to whole Dellapiana family: Jole, Ernesto and Enrico, for managing my visit and for amazing wines they create.

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