A Place at the Table for Great Barbera d’Alba

Barbera is never really given the respect or attention its nebbiolo-based cousins Barolo and Barbaresco receive, and that’s just fine because the two Piedmont natives couldn’t be any more different. Nebbiolo produces hugely tannic reds with a blackish hue that are really meant for aging while fetching big bucks at the store. Barbera, thanks to its smooth demeanor, fruit forward flavors and easy drinking approach has made it the workhorse grape in the region.

Barbera drank young yields simple yet captivating flavors, which shine at the dinner table and are affordable enough for any day of the week. Now some may say that it’s reputation as a table wine in the past has motivated producers to plant it everywhere they couldn’t plant nebbiolo, over cropping it and neglecting to give it the attention they gave to their higher end reds in the cellar. Luckily there are certain producers that are coaxing greatness from the grape by employing the same careful viticulture and winemaking methods as they would their higher end wines.

One of these producers is Col dei Venti and its “Tufo Blu” series, which earned their Barbaresco of the 2008 vintage a 94 point Wine Spectator score. We are thrilled to have finally located and restocked their Barbera D’Alba after it changed hands through a few different importers and producers. The 2008 vintage Barbera D’Alba is an intense as any we’ve ever tasted and Vino Aroma is one of only a few shops in the state that carry this wine.

This bottle surely benefits from some decanting or just simply opening it an hour beforehand – but if you – it will reward with intense aromas of dried cherry, red plum, dried herbs, chocolate and leather. It shares that recognizably “Italian” bouquet that many well-made more expensive bottles will show. The palate is balanced with supple fruit flavors and a mouth filling fleshy texture that overachieves at its price point of $16.  Frankly this wine is exactly what we love about the size of our store, how we taste and why we select every bottle that hits the shelves.

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