2016 De Forville Barbaresco



I often get asked two questions: “What’s your favorite wine?” and “What wine drinks far above its price tag?”

On a Venn diagram, at the heart of the set of answers to both of these questions is De Forville Barbaresco.  Since 2008, year in and year out, De Forville has been making the wine of kings and the king of wines — Nebbiolo — at a price that has fallen far below — sometimes hundreds of dollars below — other producers in the appellation.  This sweetheart of a wine used to fly so under the wine cognoscenti radar that it felt like I was a squirrel hiding treasures in cellars all around town.

“Used to” are the key words in that sentence.

Following a string of breathtaking vintages, the wine press got hip to our De Forville.  And it all came to a head this past February.  Competing against all of the top Barbaresco producers (you know them!), which are priced hundreds of dollars higher, De Forville was crowned the top wine in the appellation by the New York Times.  Needless to say, the word got out and, like many of the best wines in life, this one is now highly allocated.  But shockingly, it’s still at a drink-your-heart-out price.

So let’s get down and dirty with this wine:

In the glass, the 2015 vintage is at once hedonistic and structurally powerful, drinkable now yet built to last twenty years or more.  Let me explain.  2015 was a great year for Piedmonte, and, man, have I been looking forward to drinking it.  To put it simply, in the 2015 vintage, everything is MORE.  More Maraschino cherry fruit, more rose petal perfume, more wild red and black cherries, more black tea, more tannin for more muscle, more acidity for more refreshing purity.  Like I said, simply more.  But more doesn’t mean the wine is unbalanced in any way.  The fruit is mighty, but not dominate or jammy.  The tannins are robust, but totally integrated and smooth.  The acidity is compelling, yet also harmonious with the body of the wine.  Our little shortstop of an all star is having a kick [blank] vintage, and I’m right in the glass, cheering him on.

That all being said, I recommend decanting the wine for at least thirty minutes (e.g., come home from work, pop off a glass, drink, change, watch the news, then dive into the rest), as well as serving it in the biggest Burgundy bowl you can find.  Risotto is the classic pairing, but with this beautiful summer weather, try a hazelnut-crusted grilled pork chop with wild mushroom fricassee.

My favorite?  Oh, yes.  Drinks above its price tag?  Absolutely.  Compare it to De Forville’s neighbors at hundreds of dollars a bottle.  We snagged a little bit away from cognoscenti.  Time to score yours.