Sottimano is the life’s work of Rino and Anna Sottimano. Rino earned a degree in enological studies in the late 1960s, and he and his wife Anna immediately embarked on their own winemaking venture in Cottà. Over the decades they slowly acquired 45 acres, divided into five vineyards. Today the family team includes son Andrea and daughter Elena. Sottimano produces Barbaresco, Barbera, Dolcetto and Langhe Nebbiolo. About 85,000 bottles are produced annually. The family has always taken a very careful, hands-off, natural approach to winemaking and grape growing. Gambero Rosso routinely award its highest rating of 3 Glasses to the estate’s several Barbarescos. Wine Advocate has also been impressed. One of its reviewers wrote: “I can’t say enough good things about the Sottimano family and the work they have done over the years to firmly establish themselves among Barbaresco’s top growers. This is one of the few places in Piedmont where every wine is consistently delicious. The only question is how delicious.”
Barbaresco is one of the two most acclaimed DOCGs in Piedmont, the other being Barolo. Located just a few miles north of Barolo, Barbaresco is a small town of fewer than 700 people and 1,680 vineyard acres, making it less than half the size of the Barolo DOCG. The other communes in this DOCG of rolling hills are Neive and Treiso. As in Barolo, the DOCG requires that Barbaresco DOCG wines be 100% Nebbiolo, a grape thought of as the Pinot Noir of Italy. Records show that Nebbiolo was grown in the Piedmont as early as the 14th century, and despite being somewhat finicky – it is late to ripen and easily damaged by adverse weather --- Nebbiolo makes highly aromatic and powerful red wines. Until the mid-19th century Nebbiolos of Piedmont were vinified as sweet wines, though that ended in the late 19th century when a French oenologist was invited to Piedmont to show producers how to make dry reds. By the late 20th century respected producers were making outstanding Nebbiolos, as well as Nebbiolo blends that do not carry the DOCG label. Barbaresco was made a DOC in 1966 and upgraded to a DCOG in 1980. DOCG Barbaresco must be aged a minimum of two years, with a minimum of one year in wood. Barbarescos are regarded as more subtle and refined than Barolos, and more approachable when young.
This red grape is most often associated with Piedmont, where it becomes DOCG Barolo and Barbaresco, among others. Its name comes from Italian for “fog,” which descends over the region at harvest. The fruit also gains a foggy white veil when mature.