The Greatest Barbera in Italy Bar None!

5/9/2008 -

(The Conterno Cellar)

I can only be talking about Giacomo Conterno's Barbera d'Alba from the Cascina Francia Vineyard. Almost every producer of Barolo and Barbaresco attempts to make a serious Barbera. Barbera actually takes to oak very well, better than most varietals, but most of them are oaked to death and are stripped of their character.  Thank goodness that is not the program at the Conterno winery. This wine, like their Baroli, macerates for 3-weeks on its skins during its fermentation period which happens in large casks. It then ages in large Slavonian oak barrels for two years. With the 2001 vintage, Roberto Conterno started aging the wine for much longer, 21 months versus 9. What happened after all this careful decisions are made? You get a Barbera that is ruby-red in color and has wonderful rich fruit that almost has a dried fruit quality to it and a stunning texture akin to velvet. This is easily one of the most velvety and ageworthy Barbera's out there. Barbera typically does not age for a long time but Conterno's does. It gets earthier and minerally as it ages and the bouquet is ethereal. This is a wonderful expression of Barbera and should be in every Conterno fan's cellar.

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