Costa di Bussia, a sleeper Barolo and a child-of-a-lesser-god Barbera

costa di bussia baroloNearly every week, I get an email from an importer, export manager, or publicist asking me if I can meet and taste with a traveling sales rep from Italy who will be visiting Texas. I try to accommodate as many as I can when my schedule aligns with the rep’s and I always try to post my notes somewhere.

After all, even though there are those who have proclaimed that wine blogging is dead, the rest of us regular punters continue to slog through the workaday toil of posting our tasting notes.

In the spirit of such resilience, I’m happy to report that the 2010 Barolo by Costa di Bussia (above, rigth) was showing gorgeously the other night when I tasted it with a rep who insisted that we meet at 10 p.m. (because that was the only time convenient for him).

Honestly, I’d never tasted the wines before and was super geeked to discover that they were old-school (almost) all-the-way.

Costa di Bussia (literally, Bussia slope) lies, as you can probably imagine, in Monforte d’Alba, a literal stone’s throw from Aldo Conterno’s famous rows in Bussia (which is pronounced boos-SEE-ah, btw). This is Serravallian Nebbiolo, austere and umami-driven.

The wines are aged in large-format cask: this is the Nebbiolo that I’m looking for, in part because the earthy style appeals to me; in part because at around $50 a bottle (at least according to what I can see on makes the wine accessible to me.

The wine is very young and still very tight but I thought it was great and it will make for a fantastic wine to enjoy readily in another five years or so.

The Barolo was a winner in my book but the traditional-style Barbera was a champion. This is the Barbera that Tracie P and I crave: zinging acidity, brilliant fruit, restrained alcohol. I really, really loved this wine and although I can’t find any pricing on it, I image that it weighs in for less than $25 — ideal for a Saturday night wine at our house (at around $50, the Barolo is a nicely priced special occasion wine at the Parzen household).

The only disappointment was the winery’s “important” Barbera, which, as you can imagine, is aged in barriques. It’s perfectly understandable that wineries like this continue to make “modern” style, “big” Barbera. After all, many fat markets, like the U.S. and Germany, for example, love these wines. Very well made wine and very focused in terms of its raisin d’être (excuse the pun). But not for me. These wines, with their restrained acidity, always taste flat to me and lack in varietal expression. But I can see the appeal for drinkers and the allure for producers.

Whenever a rep tells me that this is our “important” Barbera, it makes me think that the “other” Barbera must be a child of a lesser god. Almost invariably, I like the “unimportant” wine more.

So there you have it. Another wine blog post by a lesser, average punter wine blogger who happens to like logging, slogging, and sharing his tasting notes.

2 thoughts on “Costa di Bussia, a sleeper Barolo and a child-of-a-lesser-god Barbera

    • Nice little find for Barbera, and the 2013 vintage has some very grand examples out there. I’ve been sampling through quite a few while here in Alba this past month, and I’m digging the acidity & fruit balance of many. These are real bargains for Americans when the Baroli are just too much for a “daily drinker.”

      Cheers Jeremy.

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