Castello di Neive – Unforced & Effortless Barbaresco from Neive

Castello di Neive

An estate synonymous with the famous township with which it shares its name is Castello di Neive. Years of family history within the area drove Giacomo Stupino to purchase the Castello which is now run by his children, Italo, Anna, Giulio and Piera. Even before the grand castle was purchased, Giacomo was producing local wines from the now-famous vineyards of Messoirano, Basarin and Valtorta with the understanding that these would one day be regarded as some of the best in the locale. Now, Castello di Neive is afforded international acclaim for their Barbaresco – especially the single-site Santo Stefano made in both regular Barbaresco and Riserva – which has in turn seen them produces better wines wine each passing vintage. The Barbaresco from here are unforced and effortless, we are proud to be the Australian custodians for Castello di Neive

The Vintages

Our offering of the wines from the Castello come between the very recent release of the first of the 2013 Barbaresco, but before the single vineyard wine has been released from barrel, so we have availability of the regular Barbaresco from 2013 and the Santo Stefano Cru wine from 2012. These two vintages themselves are a study in contrasts. 2012 was an irregular vintage, coming out of a very cold and damp winter, which extended to much of spring meant a late budburst and delayed onset of veraison. From there, an August heatwave injected sugar and ripeness into the grapes at the expense of a slow and even ripening. Some producers were worse off than others, especially those in the Barbaresco township where there was some hail. Thankfully Santo Stefano avoided the hail and too much of the late rain in October that delayed some producers and caused disease for others. 2013 could be defined as a classic vintage, near perfect for certain areas of the zone especially in August and September where the temperatures were diurnal – warm and still days, cold nights – flowing to a very late harvest towards the end of October. Early signs point to the best wines from 2013 rivalling some from 2011, maybe with slightly richer fruit. The best wines from ’13 will age wonderfully.

The Acclaim

“Such an exceptional company could only be born out of the meeting of truly extraordinary people. This is the case of Italo Stupino’s cellars, which should be visited for the astonishing beauty of the Castle, for the friendliness of its owner and his staff and, of course, for all of its charming wines, not just its famous Barbarescos. Here grape varieties have had the opportunity to shine in exceptional terroirs (such as Santo Stefano, Messoirano and Basarin) and their expression becomes complex and peculiar, finding a potential for evolution otherwise unimaginable” Bibenda, Guide to the Finest Italian Wines

“If an official classification of the territories of the Barbaresco area existed, Santo Stefano di Neive would be in right up there. The expressiveness of this selection is obvious particularly after long ageing, and it contributes, together with rigorous selection in the vineyard and a winery that makes for an unforgettable visit, to making  Castello di Neive one of the pinnacles of (Piemontese) winemaking excellence” Gambero Rosso, Italian Wines

The Wines

2014 Castello di Neive Pinot Nero ‘I Cortini’

‘I Cortini’ is the vineyard sloping South-South Westerly away from the castle of Neive towards the township. All 1.25 ha of the vineyard planted to Pinot Noir, and is the closest of the estate’s vineyards to the estate itself. It’s a significant wine for the family, Italo’s father used to make a Pinot Nero from the same vineyard before the family bought the estate, and he continues its production in his honour. Maceration and ferment for 8 days, gentle pressing and ageing in second-passage French barrique for 12 months.

‘Expressive and elegant Pinot Noir, seemingly built over its solid core of cranberry, wild strawberries and red cherries, this shows the earth, tobacco leaf and savoury alpine mint familiar in the estate’s Nebbiolo wines. A poised and perfumed wine, I Cortini makes a fabulous argument for Piemontese Pinot Noir and is a must taste’ @baroloboy

2013 Castello di Neive Barbaresco

Castello di Neive’s Barbaresco is the building block upon which the family has elevated its winery to the top division of Piedmont’s hierarchy. A blend of fruit from the Gallina, Messoirano and Valtorta vineyards is complemented with grapes from the younger (20-30y/o) vines of Santo Stefano, on skins for 12 days and ageing in the cellar’s French botti for 18 months.

‘Perhaps the highest praise that could be heaped upon a wine of such unique geographical significance is that it tastes of its area, specifically that this is quintessential Neive Barbaresco. Terroir has almost become useless hyperbole, such is its overuse, but in this case it’s intended and necessary. Deep raspberry, ‘redskins’, amarena cherries and rose petal draped over a wound, mineral core. Wild fennel and sweet dried herbs give this away as Nebbiolo whilst the wines natural depth, body and plentiful tannin are classic Neive. We recently tasted an ’09 of this wine which was beginning to hit its straps, suggesting to me that this elegant young 2013 has a good decade ahead of it’ @baroloboy

2012 Castello di Neive Barbaresco ‘Santo Stefano’

Undoubtedly the Stupino family’s gem in the crown, Santo Stefano remains one of the most important vineyards in all of Barbaresco. The only other winery able to purchase wine from the monopole is the great Bruno Giacosa – thanks to an old family friendship – otherwise this is the only estate making wine from the vineyard. South-South West facing, planted mostly to Nebbiolo in the better exposed parts (Barbera and Riesling in the others) planted in 1963 and 1970 in the mainly calcaric soil typical to Neive. 12 days on skins, second and third passage French botti for two years before bottling, 6 months longer than the regular Barbaresco.
“Structured and loaded with finesse, this stunning red opens with scents of perfumed berry, rose petal, baking spice and a balsamic note. The focused palate delivers juicy black cherry, ground pepper, anise and tobacco alongside firm but refined tannins. It has great length, closing on a mineral note. Drink 2018–2028” 94pt Wine Enthusiast
91pt I Vini Veronelli
5 bunches Bibenda

2006 Castello di Neive Barbaresco ‘Santo Stefano’ Riserva

In certain vintages, when the Stupino family decide to bottle a riserva from the best barrels of the harvest from Santo Stefano, there’s cautious excitement within the cellars of the Castello. The fruit is the ripest from the vineyard, again from the best exposed sites. 12 months on skins, the same as the other Barbaresco, but 4 years in French oak before a year in bottle before being sold. 800 cases only, we have 3 of those still available from our cellar
“A clean, gentle style, this wine offers velvety tannins that hold Nebbiolo’s earthen charm. It’s graceful and delicious to drink now, a kind of honey of the earth, the tannins texturally uplifting in the finish” 92pt Wine & Spirits
“This red is developing well, with flavors of mulled cherry and leather picking up spice and tea accents. Still firm and dense on the finish, but the overall impression is one of balance and fine length” 91pt Wine Spectator
“The 2006 Barbaresco Santo Stefano is a major step up from the normal bottling. A gorgeous bouquet of spiced cherries and raspberries leads to a generous core of fruit that offers plenty of inner perfume and depth. Today the tannins remain firm, but there is more than enough balance here to make me think the wine will develop quite positively. This is a highly promising Barbaresco from Castello di Neive” 91pt Wine Advocate

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