Above: At Il Falchetto, we tasted in Donato Lanati-designed “Meraviglia” (“Wonder”) glasses by the Enosis laboratory. The ring in the middle of the balloon is intended to preserve and concentrate the wine’s aromas. That’s Scotsman and spirits wine writer Bill McDowall, left, with Barbera 7 members Stuart and Whitney. If you ever meet Bill, be sure to get into his good graces and enjoy his ever-present flask. ;-)
During one of the afternoon sessions of Barbera Meeting 2010, the Barbera 7 tasted at Il Falchetto, where we all liked the winery’s mid-level, as it were, single-vineyard Barbera d’Asti Superiore Lurei, which is aged in large cask. The winery’s flagship Barbera d’Asti Superiore Bricco Paradiso, which is aged in new, small French cask (barrique) didn’t impress me as much. Pretty much across the board, you would see the same thing, even at the wineries I liked the most: the entry-level and mid-level Barberas were juicy and fresh, with the bright acidity I love, while the flagship “important” Barberas tended to be oaky (often judiciously so, in all fairness, as in the case of Il Falchetto) and concentrated, with restrained acidity.
In other news…
My last two posts generated a couple of interesting comments worth re-posting here. In the first, Barbera 7 member Thor offered his transcription of Belgian wine writer Bernard Arnould’s polemical observations, uttered on that fateful, snowy night in Nizza last week.
- I was scribbling as fast as I could, and had Arnould as saying:
“Why so much oak? Why so many uninteresting tannins? My quest is to find a wine with fruit, freshness, and tannins that are interesting and not dry, and…[there was a pause here, and while my memory is that he said “maybe” I did not write it down]…a little oak. If you think that putting oaky barberas on the market is a good idea, you only join the rest of the world in making big, oaky wine.”
And, in the wake of yesterday’s post, Londoner, organic grape grower, respected enologist, and Tuscan winemaker Cristiano offered a reality-check technical point-of-view:
- However when talking about acidity in Barbera, one should remember just how fierce this can be. One thing is taming slightly the acidic character of these wines and another is completely obliterating that zippy side, that works so well with food. Although not completely correct in technical terms but gets the message across: a wine with high acidity is one that has over let’s say 6-6.5gr/l (expressed in tartaric acidity), there are some Barberas that can have naturally over 12gr/l of acidity,now that wouldn’t do, would it ? It’s a question of common sense. I am however completely against the use of oak in Barbera.
Thanks, everyone, for reading and for all the insightful comments.