Easily one of the best values in high end Nebbiolo I've ever tasted, the De Forville Barbaresco is remains a bit of a hidden secret due mainly to scarce availability in the US. The 2018 vintage, like 2017, was one defined by difficult weather but unlike the scorching weather of the 2017 growing season, 2018 was cool and damp with early season hailstorms which brought yields down. In other words, a real winemakers vintages where careful decision making in both vineyard and cellar separate great winemakers form the merely competent. De Forville's 2018 is one of the best young wines I've ever tasted from their cellar.
The De Forville estate was founded in 1860 by Gioachino De Forville, a Belgian immigrant, and have been farming Nebbiolo ever since then. Like pretty much everyone else those days, they sold fruit and wine in bulk and by the early twentieth century were supplying restaurants and retailers with bulk wine which they'd bottle on their own. The De Forvilles started bottling their own wine in 1940. Five generations on and the De Forvilles own and farm 11 hectares of vineyard sites in the Langhe, 4.5 of those in prime Barbaresco terroirs, primarily the crus Rabaja, Loreto and Pozzo. Farming and winemaking is very traditional with month long fermentations on the skins for the Nebbiolo and aging in 5-6,000 litre botti, malo in barrel, a couple of rackings then left untouched for 2 years.
This Barbaresco DOCG is the standard bearer for the estate. There is a single vineyard bottling from the Loreto cru, which we'll see later this year but this is really the same level of quality if not specificity. The 2018 is just gorgeous right out of the gate, o need to decant. Pretty red fruit and cool mineral notes soar from the glass with darker flavors of truffle, black tea, dried rose petals and tar. No other varietal in the world smells anything like Nebbiolo when it's this clear. Punchy black fruit and mineral on the palate with a classic limestone and dusty tannin finish. Will age well but drinking beautifully young. 500 cases imported to the US.