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Rivella’s tiny cellar produces about 1000 cases of wine each year, all from the historic Cru of Montestefano in Barbaresco itself. Of the 1000 cases, about 750 are Barbaresco “Montestefano” and 250 are of a serious and regal Dolcetto. The vineyard was planted in 1963 by Rivella’s father, and the first vintage produced at the estate was 1967. His Montestefano parcel is next to his house, so he treats it, “come il mio giardino” (as my own little garden) he says, meticulously tended. Since the beginning, the vineyards have also been farmed organically.
The Montestefano Cru is unique in that is comprised of a solid meter of active limestone at the surface with clay and tufo underneath. This provides for a wine that has both freshness and lift, but also a bit more serious structure than most Barbarescos. Rivella vinifies more like Barolo, with 3-4 week macerations and long aging of 30-40 months in Botti Grande. As such, he tends to release his wines a year later than his neighbors, more like his brethren further south in Barolo. The Dolcetto too is aged in large cask, and released 18 months after the vintage. Not just a tutti-fruity wine to simply drink and forget. While this vintage hasn't been reviewed, Antonio Galloni gave the previous vintage 93 points and called it "a beautiful wine".