03 Trinchero Barbera and burgers for Memorial Day

Natural winemaker Trinchero (Asti, Piedmont) has always been one of my favorite producers of Barbera. The 1996 Barbera d’Asti [single-vineyard] Vigna del Noce ranks up there with the greatest bottlings of Barbera I have ever tasted.

And so when I spied a bottle of the 2003 Vigna del Noce at the Houston Wine Merchant, I couldn’t resist picking it up — despite the fact that 2003 was a notoriously difficult vintage because of the extremely hot summer.

Tracie P and I finally opened it over the Memorial Day holiday and paired with some griddle-fired beef sirloin burgers.

The wine — vinified with native yeast and raised in traditional large casks — was hot in the glass, with a lot of alcohol for this house (due, undoubtedly, to the nature of the vintage). But it still had that bright, bright acidity that you find in old-school Barbera. The black fruit and berry flavors were chewy and rich and once the alcohol blew off, I thoroughly enjoyed the wine with my burger.

The wine wasn’t perfect: I found the alcohol out of balance with the fruit and acidity. And it probably should have been opened a few years ago.

But as we Piedmontophiles drink the last of the 03s lying around, I couldn’t help but admire this wine for being true to its place and its vintage.

Sometimes a wine is great… for not being so great…

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