Gorgeous Giorgio Rivetti is one of Italy's natural-born charmers. With his brothers Bruno and Carlo, he runs La Spinetta, one of north-west Italy's most outstanding producers of barbaresco, barolo and barbera. The fact that most of these Piemontese reds weigh in at fabulous prices seems neither to faze Giorgio nor wipe the smiles off the faces of his customers, who can't get enough of the stylish single-vineyard barbarescos, Gallina, Starderi and Valeriano.
2001 was a great vintage in Piemonte for the nebbiolo grape, which makes La Spinetta's barbaresco a hotter property then ever. There is one stunner in the range however which, although still expensive, costs only a minor limb compared to the arm and two legs demanded of the single vineyard barbaresco. The wine, called simply Pin, has nothing to do with cult Bordeaux wine Le Pin, meaning pine. Pin, in Piemontese, means the apex or top, and is the name Giorgio's Argentinian father gave to this distinctive red.
Discarding the cabernet sauvignon which used to be part of the blend, the 2001 Pin, Rosso Monferrato, IGT, has become an all-Italian blend of two-thirds nebbiolo and a third barbera, and it's probably the best yet. Its enticing plum and damson aromas lead you into a concentrated red with vibrant damson and dark cherry fruitiness rounded out and tinged with the cinnamon spiciness of French oak. The price? £30.75-£33 (Uncorked, London EC2, 020-7638 5998; Swig, London W4, 0800 0272272; Wimbledon Wine Cellar, 020-8540 9979; Winecellars, London NW10, 020-8963 4816).Reuse content