By Stephen Tanzer

2005
Cantina del Pino Barbaresco   89(+?)
(bottled in August of 2007; aged entirely in barriques, 30% new) Good full red. Very pure aromas of black cherry, licorice and flowers. Juicy and quite dry, with dark cherry and spicy oak flavors initially dominated by ripe acids and firm underlying structure. But this slightly aggressive Barbaresco opened nicely with air to show good ripeness. This fairly tannic and backward wine will need a good four or five years of bottle aging after it's released.

2004
Cantina del Pino Barbaresco   91
($35-$44) Good full red. Sexy aromas and flavors of dark cherry, berries, licorice, marzipan and dried flowers. Sweet, lush and layered, with enticing inner-mouth perfume to complement the wine's density of material. Classic Barbaresco and pleasant already owing to its smooth, toothdusting tannins and lack of rough edges. Long on the aftertaste. In theory, a wine like this should last longer than the 2005 on its depth of material, but this is also balanced from the start.

2003
Cantina del Pino Barbaresco Ovello   91
($45-$58; 50% new barriques Medium red. Superripe aromas of cherry, menthol, marzipan and spicy oak. Rich, broad and sweet, with sound acidity enlivening the ripe red fruit flavors. Plenty of alcohol here but avoids the heat of so many 2003s and finishes with big but thoroughly ripe tannins. Renato Vacca has taken his wines to a higher level in recent years. He notes that the Ovello bottling comes from the "whiter soil side" of this cru, and that it typically produces a sharper, more tannic style of wine that gains in elegance with bottle aging. In 2003, he kept healthy levels of natural acidity in the grapes by harvesting early.