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A Late Release from Piedmont's Stunning 2019s: Single Vineyard Barbaresco from Serafino Rivella

Stylized image of Serafino Rivello Barbaresco

Every time we write up Serafino Rivella we ask ourselves, will this be the last time? Our allocation seems to shrink every year, and while less acclaimed vintages like 2017 and 2018 have managed to keep the party going for a while longer, this year we have wine from the very-much acclaimed 2019. Let’s see what happens!

It’s easy to understand the excitement. Serafino Rivello’s wines bring together two elements that we love: tradition and terroir.

The terroir is Montestefano, the great Cru in the commune of Barbaresco where Teobalda and Marta Rivella grow 100% of their Nebbiolo. The Cru is special because its vineyards point straight south and there is a concentration of limestone in the soils that is higher than anywhere else in Barbaresco. The result is dark and brooding Barbaresco that is long lived and easy to mistake for Barolo.

The tradition is pure Piedmont, to the point that one noted UK wine professional once said: “imagine if Maria-Theresa Mascarello [of Bartolo Mascarello] made Barbaresco, it would taste like that!”. There are long macerations, Mascarello-style, followed by up to 40 months of aging in huge neutral casks. His neighbors are releasing their 2020s. Rivella is on 2019.

Add to tradition and terroir one final ingredient: laser focus. They make only two wines, a Dolcetto, and today’s Barbaresco – all from vines that were planted around 60 years ago.

The 2019 is definitely Rivella’s best wine since 2016, and maybe ever (as the vines continue to age and the Rivellas refine their techniques). It is a wine of power, for sure, but also great breed and finesse. Cellaring is definitely recommended.

Serafino Rivella, Barbaresco Montestefano, 2019 $129.99


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