This was the first dinner/tasting I experienced with a group known as the “Rabelaisians” run by Rob and Sara. The idea is a simple split the bill scenario with a theme – horizontal or vertical – for each dinner.

As the title gives away this was vertical of the “Pora” Cru from Produttori del Barbaresco. A little bit of background that is shamelessly botched together from the “net” follows.

The arrival of Cavazza in 1881 in Barbaresco put the spotlight onto the region and in 1894 he founded the Cantina Sociale di Barbaresco with a group of nine growers. Though the quality of the nebbiolo grown in the region had long been recognized, the newly founded Cantina is generally recognized as the birthyear of ‘Barbaresco’. Two World Wars and the subsequent poverty in Italy had a profound effect on the region and revival only started in the 1960s and 1970s thanks to a generation of young growers such as Angelo Gaja, Bruno Giacosa and the cooperative cellar of Produttori del Barbaresco, the successor of the original Cantina Sociale di Barbaresco. Barbaresco became a DOC in 1966 and a DOCG in 1980.

Produttori del Barbaresco was founded in 1958 by a local priest Don Fiorino Marengo to retain Barbaresco’s young farmers in the area. Today it is recognized as one of the leading producers in the region and its members own one-sixth of the vineyards in Barbaresco. Winemaking in the cellars is very traditional with 28-day fermentations and ageing in large casks. Produttori del Barbaresco Website


Pora is widely considered as the flagship wine of Produttori. It was at one time owned by Domizio Cavazza and among the first single vineyard wines to be released by the cooperative. It is south-southwest facing, bordering Asili on Calcareous blue marl. The single vineyard’Pora’ bottling is always a Riserva and today aged for three years in botti. 

I was very excited by this tasting as I have always looked to buy the Produttori wines and in fact have blogged about some examples before

2005 – Montefico and Asili

1970 – Barbaresco

The venue will surprise nobody – Zucca, the menu is below:

Salumi Misti

Buffalo Mozzarella with roasted pumpkin

Vitello tonnato

Taglerini, rabbit ragu and crispy sage

Slow cooked pork shoulder, porcini and yellow polenta

Chocolate and salted caramel tart, hazelnut ice cream
Taglerini, rabbit ragu and crispy sage

The wines were served in three flights of four wines each.

Flight 1

2005 – Rich, lovely, precise, has a bit of bite, black cherry, quite bold but clean, blacker fruit that normal. 17

2004 – Ever so slightly closed, slightly airy which is just an expression of it seriousness I guess. There is an intensity about it’s texture. It seems an odd comment but this is very clean and precise, long also, I am guessing this will be quite something. 18+

2001 – Slightly disappointing…saline and leather, very masculine, tasting 5-10 years older than it should be. A little too degraded. I have a feeling the bottle was not perfect, it just seemed a little heavy. No score.

2000 – You can tell this was a warm vintage, it has that slightly bruised fruit and a slight lack of precision. A tiny bit dry at the end and without much upside in terms of cellaring, you could keep it but why. All that sounds negative but actually as a wine to drink now it’s a good glass. It’s just a bit more Monday/Tuesday night Spag Bol than Thursday night truffle pasta if that makes sense. 15.5

Verdict – overall I think people liked 2004 then 2005 with the other two a little behind and general agreement that 2001 wasn’t “spot on”.

Flight 2
1999 – Some maturity coming, clean, intense, tightly wound, a slight bricky red fruit, Iron and lifted herbs. Really pure and for the purist also. Excitingly correct and proper, just what it should be! 18.5

1997 – Almost a slight greek yoghurt nose, deep and sweet, a slight aniseed edge, degraded but with some strawberry fruit, of the same style as the 2000 but with more to offer. 16.5-17
1996 – A little bit of “swimming pool” (not a bad note oddly) then some pine and resin, soy and a little spice but essentially very lean and a little angular, a slight wet-hay greenness. There were a few who thought this corked, I didn’t. It was just mean to me, very 1996 in a way. 16

1995 – Initial nose reminds me of caramel, good acidity and nicely complete wine, there is richness and a little salinity (never quite managed to be salted caramel). There is not masses of fruit here but this is good. 17.5

Verdict – No real consensus, many preferred the 1997 but it was third in my book, interesting differences, a flight that slightly lacked fruit given it is not old yet. I’d have that 1999 in my cellar any day (wouldn’t last long mind you)

Wine of the night? Only just…

Flight 3

1985 – Beautiful, persistent, elegant, saline, red fruit, simple stoney minerality, the only other vintage it could have been was 1982, absolutely lovely. 18 

1978 – Some stink (sewage even) that passed very quickly then some degraded fruit, good acidity is coming through, sweetness is there and then some soy, this is at a lovely stage and is really quite decadent. 18

1971 – “Swimming pool” initially this passes and leaves trademark salinity thereafter you have archetypal aged nebbiolo, fruit of which some is red, then you have a savoury edge, bovril and soy…really delicious. Complete 18.5

1970 – Some spice, rich, blacker fruit, may be the youngest tasting of this flight, amazing texture and darker colour. There really is something different and special about the 1970 vintage, several wines I have had have this deeper darker body, with some there is a specific reason (Monprivato). Superb 18 

Verdict – A dream of a flight, more because all wines showed exactly what you would want them too in terms of the perceived vintage characteristics.

A real fun evening, well organised and Pora showed very well…buy it when it is released!

Thanks to Rob and Sara…