"Impenetrable deep crimson. Balsamic blackberry with hints of cardamom. Lots of lift and concentration on the nose with leafy, black-cherry top notes. Great depth of blackberry fruit with firm, fine-grained tannins and supple acidity. A Buttafuoco to lay down at least for a year or two. 17.5/20 points. 17.5/20 points. (WS)"
Vinous Reverie Notes
An amphitheater with an east end opening, the Solinga Valley is strong red wine country and the original home to the historic Buttafuoco wine. A document from 1861 verifies the name of this unique site as Vigna Buttafuoco, and it’s shared with only one other grower on the hill, Franco Pellegrini. The structure of the valley is able to hold onto the sun’s heat for a while longer (before the cold rolls in) than in the more exposed sites further south and outside of the Buttafuoco communes, which are more fitted for Pinot Noir or a different kind of wine altogether. The result of the heat is stressed vines that render wines of strength and depth, with the shoulders and tannins provided by Croatina and the acidic drive and bright intensity from Barbera - together an extremely compelling pair. The soils in the Solinga Valley are compacted sands with a mix of small and medium-sized, extremely hard granite-like igneous cobblestones with a high content of quartz and loads of organic matter in the topsoil. Much of the bedrock deep below is a conglomerate composed of these quartz-rich, rounded rocks. Most of the sands in the lower section of his vineyards are mildly calcareous and further upslope there’s a more loamy mixture of sand and clay. Only made in special years, this flagship from a single site (a bricco) of Picchioni’s range combines all the elements the historic Buttafuoco can generate. It’s bright and dark at the same time; explosive and reserved; deeply textured and suave; voluptuous and sleek; a mouthful and a mindful of wine. Buttafuoco is an idea, a style; not a grape. There are rules for the use of the DOC Buttafuoco dell’Oltrepò Pavese, which simply requires a minimum of 25% Barbera and 25% Croatina and a maximum of 65% of either, offering great flexibility to this historical “concept” wine. There are other grapes too, but they’re not required, and the requisite pair matched together are a perfect combination. Barbera is the freshness, the zippy acidity with lifted red tones - the extrovert; Croatina the muscle and tannin, the quiet big guy. Riva Bianca is serious business and while it has an explosive kaleidoscope of characteristics.