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At SommSelect we love great, traditionally made Nebbiolo from prized terroirs, and we adore small-production wines made by talented, hard-working families. Oh, and of course we love excellent quality-to-value ratios. So, when you get all three in one delicious wine, we consider it a discovery grand slam. This is exactly how we would characterize the 2019 Barbaresco “Valeirano” from Ada Nada. This towering display of aromatic complexity and seductive, textural profundity is a true testament to the Nada clan, whose winemaking roots go back generations in their home village of Treiso, in the heart of the Barbaresco DOCG. It’s difficult to comprehend how a single-vineyard bottling from a top-notch terroir (and vintage!) can fetch such a humble price. It’s a little bonkers, but grab a six-pack and this beauty is yours for less than $40 a bottle. Don’t wait to jump in!
While not as well-known as some of the other heritage estates of Barbaresco, the Ada Nada property surely qualifies as a local landmark. The label was founded by Carlo Nada in 1919 and is now run by fourth-generation proprietor Anna Lisa Nada (daughter of brand namesake Ada) and her husband, Elvio Cazzaro, who’ve been at the helm since 2001. During that time, the property has gradually expanded from a mere three hectares to its current nine hectares of vineyards, all of them in their home village of Treiso—and mostly within the “Valeirano” and “Rombone” crus. All farming is organic, average vine age is 40 years, fruit is harvested exclusively by hand, and the family produces about 2,000 cases of Barbaresco wine per year. These wines have been sommelier favorites (and thus mostly restaurant sensations) for as long as we can remember, with the single-vineyard “Valeirano” leading the charge. To see this at retail in any capacity is quite rare, actually—all the more reason to grab some today.
The vines that supply the Valeirano bottling were planted in 1971, on a southwest-facing parcel ranging in altitude from 200 to 350 meters. After fermentation in stainless steel, it is aged for two years in large Slavonian oak botti (with a few French oak barriques holding any overflow), then for at least six months in bottle before release. To give you a sense of the scale of the Nada operation, this is their most commercially significant wine, with a production of about 10,000 bottles. Do the math on that—it’s not a lot!
As we’ve written, and as many starry-eyed critics have too, 2019 is a generationally excellent vintage. It’s powerfully structured, like 2016 and 2010, but with even more balance and a truly elegant, sumptuous texture. Nada’s take is a shimmering garnet red in the glass, moving to a pink/orange rim, with a rich core of cherry, plum, and red currant fruit supported by scents of violet, rose, white pepper, leather, tobacco, and warm, wintry spices. It has the lithe, taut structure Barbaresco is famous for, with fine-grained tannins and a lot of mineral grip on the finish. Decant it 60 minutes before serving at 60 degrees in Burgundy stems and watch it unfold over the course of a great meal. Looking ahead, we could see this woodsy red being a great choice for the Thanksgiving table, or for any meals incorporating game meats or freshly foraged mushrooms. Something earthy and soulful, like the wine itself, is what you should be cooking. But you’ll definitely want some for the cellar too, where it will improve for at least 10-15 years and likely much longer. Grab a six-pack and enjoy one of our very best Nebbiolo values of the year!
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