Archive for Barbera d’Alba

2006 Fratelli Alessandria ‘Priora’ Barbera d’Alba Superiore DOC

Posted in Barbera, Italy with tags , , , , , , , on May 1, 2011 by thewinespies

Mission Codename: 140 years and counting… Redux

Operative: Agent White

Objective: Secure an exceptional Barbera d’Alba Superiore.

Mission Status: Accomplished!

Current Winery: Fratelli Alessandria

Wine Subject: 2006 ‘Priora’ Barbera d’Alba Superiore DOC

Winemaker: Vittore Alessandria

Backgrounder:

Barbera, the third most planted varietal (after Sangiovese and Montepulciano) in Italy finds its most classic expression in the Piedmont and specifically in Asti and the much smaller Alba region. The best of Barbera is, like this wine, the Barbera d’Alba which can match any Barolo or Barbaresco in terms of overall quality. Barbera d’Alba is characteristically rich and full of flavor and makes up just a small percentage of the total production of the region.The finest Barbera is grown in specific single vineyard crus surrounding those communes. Italian Barbera comes in two basic forms, the tradizione, a more rustic old-world style and newer more fruit forward styles similar to the Barbera that is grown in California. Sadly, Barbera is often passed up as a lesser varietal but when done well, these wines show their classic Italian heritage and character.

In order to be labeled Superiore, the Barbera must be aged for at least 12 months, of which 6 months must be in oak or chestnut, have an alcohol of 12.5% or greater.

Wine Spies Tasting Profile:

Look – Dark purple with ruby reflexes through its dense and nearly inky black core. Along the edges the color shows its dense ruby red hues and when swirled, widely spaced, .chubby legs cling to the glass and descend slowly to the wine below.

Smell – Distinctly Italian on the nose with spiced and toasted oak framing ripe and rich red fruit including cherry, plum and a touch of black and red berry. Spice and green anise along with floral violet scents adds complexity.

Feel – Smooth and dry, this full bodied classic is very well structured with sturdy tight grained tannins and lively acidity. A touch of minerality and hot spice lingers on the palate into the finish.

Taste – Ripe and tart red fruit including Italian cherry, plum and raspberry leads the way with notes of toasted and slightly smokey oak and hints hot and exotic spice. Dark bitter-sweet chocolate, bittter herbal notes and anise also adds complexity.

Finish – Long, this wine’s spice and oak frames the slowing lingering fruit, leaving a warm feel in the mouth and begging for another sip.

Conclusion – The 2006 Fratelli Alessandria ‘Priora’ Barbera d’Alba Superiore DOC is a delicious example of this classic of Piedmontese wines. Classic Italian aromas of spice and toast along with Red cherry transcends the nose through the palate and long into the finish. Well structured but also warm, this pleasant wine is perfect for simple pasta (or even BBQ grilled flat-bread pizza) all the way to more hearty dishes. Buona sera & cin cin!

Mission Report:

WINEMAKER INTEL BRIEFING DOSSIER

SUBJECT: Vittore Alessandria

WINEMAKING PHILOSOPHY: Show through the wine the elegance and the balance of my territory: the hills of the Langhe area.

WINEMAKER QUOTE: “Wine is the poetry of the Earth.” (Mario Soldati)

FIRST COMMERCIAL WINE RELEASE: The first Barolo produced by our cellar was a 1870 Barolo!


WINEMAKER INTERVIEW

AGENT WHITE: Greetings, Vittore, We are thrilled to be showing your 2006 ‘Priora’ Barbera d’Alba Superiore DOC today. Thanks so much for taking some time to answer questions for our Operatives today.

VITTORE: I’m excited to be featured today on The Wine Spies, thanks for giving us this opportunity.

WHITE: Was there a specific experience in your life that inspired your love of wine?

VITTORE: I born and I lived in a small village: Verduno in the middle of the Barolo area surrounded by Nebbiolo vineyards. For my family making wine it’s a tradition that has gone on for 150 years.

WHITE: What wine or winemaker has most influenced your winemaking style?

VITTORE: All the wines and the winemakers that are able to give emotions, showing the “terroir” of origin and also stimulating the knowledge of this world.

WHITE: Who do you make wine for?

VITTORE: For wine consumers that love wine.

WHITE: Please tell me a little bit about the wine we are featuring today.

VITTORE: “Priora” is a Barbera ‘d’Alba Superiore, that is aged for at least a year in wood, and is produced with grapes from our Barbera vineyards most evoked: Gramolere in Monforte d’Alba and Rocche dell’Olmo in Verduno.

WHITE: What is your favorite pairing with today’s wine?

VITTORE: Perfect with first corse.. Tagliatelle with ragù

WHITE: In your opinion, what makes the Langhe in the Piedmont so special?

VITTORE: There are many reasons that make the Langhe so lucky: for example the personal relationship between the producer and its vineyards, its casks and its customers. That it’s possible because, generally, in our region the cellars are family owned ! An other very special feature is the beautiful landscape – very charming-!

WHITE: What is occupying your time at the winery these days?

VITTORE: In the vineyards we are tieing the vine-shoots.. In the cellar we have just bottled the Verduno Pelaverga “Speziale” 2010 and the Dolcetto d’Alba 2010

WHITE: How would you recommend people approach your wines and wine in general?

VITTORE: First of all with the glass! :) Then I think that the best way is going deeper, to the origin, for example visiting the winery, meeting the wine producer and knowing the territory in which the grape is grown, discovering traditions, old recipes and different flavors.

WHITE: Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?

VITTORE: Verduno is unique: it’s one of the eleven villages where you can produce our signature Barolo and the only one where you can produce Verduno Pelaverga, one of the smallest and most particular DOC of Italy. I would suggest to try it!

WHITE: Thank you so much for your time. We learned a lot about you – and your wine. Keep up the great work, we are big fans!

Wine Spies Vineyard Check:

The location of the approximate location of Fratelli Alessandria can be seen in this satellite photo.

2006 Filippo Gallino Barbera d’Alba Superiore

Posted in Barbera, Italy with tags , , , on August 8, 2010 by thewinespies

Mission Codename: La Spia Superiore

Operative: Agent White

Objective: Acquire an exclusive allocation of a Bannrbera d’Alba Superiore for our operatives

Mission Status: Accomplished!

Current Winery: Filippo Gallino

Wine Subject: 2006 Barbera d’Alba Superiore D.O.C.

Winemakes: Lorenzo Quinterno and Filippo Gallino (winery owner)

Backgrounder:

Barbera, the third most planted varietal (after Sangiovese and Montepulciano) in Italy finds its most classic expression in the Piedmont and specifically in Asti and the much smaller Alba region. The best of Barbera is, like this wine, the Barbera d’Alba which can match any Barolo or Barbaresco in terms of overall quality. Barbera d’Alba is characteristically rich and full of flavor and makes up just a small percentage of the total production of the region.The finest Barbera is grown in specific single vineyard crus surrounding those communes. Italian Barbera comes in two basic forms, the tradizione, a more rustic old-world style and newer more fruit forward styles similar to the Barbera that is grown in California. Sadly, Barbera is often passed up as a lesser varietal but when done well, these wines show their classic Italian heritage and character.

In order to be labeled Superiore, the Barbera must be aged for at least 12 months, of which 6 months must be in oak or chestnut, have an alcohol of 12.5% or greater.

Wine Spies Tasting Profile:

Look – Dark and dense ruby red and purple/garnet with ruby streaks through its clear but deep core. Ruby along the edges and when swirled, evenly spaced legs descend to the wine below.

Smell – Both rich and bright, with vibrant aromas of red and black fruit layered over pleasant cocoa and vanilla notes. Soft toasted oak, spice, balsam and green herbs and hints of earth round out the nose

Feel – Smooth and dry, this full-bodied classic is remarkably round and smooth for a varietal know for its higher acidity. Well developed tannins, bright but balance acidity and a touch of spice and tartness hits on the edge of the palate.

Taste – Rich and smooth, with well balanced flavors of blackberry, plum, raspberry and other bramble fruit integrates with mocha and cocoa, vanilla toast, soft spice, a touch of black licorice and hints of green and bramble herbs.

Finish -Lingering long with the rich dark fruit fading gently as the structure holds on just a bit longer.

Conclusion – The 2006 Filippo Gallino Barbera d’Alba Superiore is a fantastic wine that fully represents how the traditional style of this wine should be. Mellow, smooth and rich on the palate, a very approachable nose and flavors, subtle complexity, but with enough sturdiness to pair perfectly with Italy’s rich and rustic food. Enjoy this wine now or cellar for up to five or more years.

Mission Report:


WINEMAKER INTEL BRIEFING DOSSIER

SUBJECT: Lorenzo Quinterno

WINEMAKING PHILOSOPHY: Respect the grape and the expression of the territory. As little as possible, try to be as natural as possible.

WINEMAKER QUOTE: “There can’t be good way to live where there isn’t a good way to drink” (Benjamin Franklin)

FIRST COMMERCIAL WINE RELEASE: Locorotondo 1984


WINERY OWNER INTERVIEW

AGENT WHITE: Greetings, Filippo Gallino (Owner and co-winemaker), We are thrilled to be showing your 2006 Barbera d’Alba Superiore today. Thanks so much for taking some time to answer questions for our Operatives today.

FILIPPO: Thank you for taking the time to enjoy our great wines!

WHITE: Was there a specific experience in your life that inspired your love of wine?

FILIPPO: My grandfather made wine, my dad made wine, my son has decided to continue my passion. It ’s a tradition that is repeated more than 150 years. If I were reborn it would not make much sense to me to do anything else.

WHITE: What wine or winemaker has most influenced your winemaking style?

FILIPPO: I was a close friend of Matthew Correggio. He was in my basement and encouraged me to modify the traditional winemaking, starting with the pruning in the vineyards.

WHITE: Who do you make wine for?

FILIPPO: For the consumers of the wine and for those who love wine.

WHITE: Please tell me a little bit about the wine we are featuring today.

FILIPPO: I started doing the Barbera d’Alba Superiore in 1994. Immediately gave us much satisfaction. It begins with a strong thinning in the vineyards during harvest and careful selection. It is vinified in steel and then left for about 12 months in small wooden barrels of 225 liters. It ‘was the first wine to win awards from the major guides and magazines.

WHITE: What is your favorite pairing with today’s wine?

FILIPPO: My ideal meal starts with a nice soup made with diced fresh vegetables and legumes, followed by a roast beef left to simmer with vegetables mixed grill and finish with the tasting platter of aged Castelmagno of Robiola d ’ Alba, and Tome , accompanied with hand rolled breadsticks. All accompanied by Barbera d’Alba Superiore.

WHITE: In your opinion, what makes the Alba so special?

FILIPPO: There are many factors that make our region a lucky ground for the production of wines. Soil, soil, microclimate, the hills and exposure.

WHITE: What is occupying your time at the winery these days?

FILIPPO: Now I am working mainly thinning the grapes, while we are bottling wine.

WHITE: How would you recommend people approach your wines and wine in general?

FILIPPO: With curiosity and interest. We try to make the best wines of our region, enhancing their typicality and respecting the tradition of flavors and scents of our lands. For people new to the Roero, they must try our wines.

WHITE: Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?

FILIPPO: After a year of hard work just knowing that so many friends and clients uncork a bottle of my wine for the pleasure of drinking, that is the best reward I can have. I invite all readers to also share their experience.

WHITE: Thank you so much for your time. We learned a lot about you – and your wine. Keep up the great work, we are big fans!

Wine Spies Vineyard Check:

The location of Filippo Gallino just north of Alba can be seen in this satellite photo.

2004 Az. Agr. Mario Giribaldi Barbera d’Alba ‘Vigne Gerbole’

Posted in Barbera, Italy with tags , , , on May 31, 2009 by thewinespies

Mission Codename: Tre Generazioni di Tradizione

Operative: Agent White

Objective: Acquire a traditional Italian Barbera from the Piedmont

Mission Status: Accomplished!

Current Winery: Azienda Agricola Mario Giribaldi

Wine Subject: 2004 Barbera d’Alba ‘Vigne Gerbole’ DOC

Winemaker: Mario Giribaldi

Backgrounder:

Barbera, the third most planted varietal (after Sangiovese and Montepulciano) in Italy finds its most classic expression in the Piedmont and specifically in Asti and Alba. The finest Barbera is grown in specific single vineyard crus surrounding those communes. Italian Barbera comes in two basic forms, the tradizione, a more rustic old-world style and newer more fruit forward styles similar to the Barbera that is grown in California. Sadly, Barbera is often passed up as a lesser varietal but when done well, these wines show their classic Italian heritage and character.

Today’s selection from Azienda Agricola Mario Giribaldi is a single vineyard cru from Alba and is made in the traditional method.

Wine Spies Tasting Profile:

Look – Deep purple (almost magenta) with garnet and violet hues that glisten through its dark clear core. Along the edges, this wine fades from ruby to pick with a slight brickish tint. Slow thin legs appear discretely along the edge of the glass when this wine is swirled.

Smell – Medium in intensity, well developed and slight rustic in character with aromas of almost candied, but not too sweet, Italian black cherry layered over black licorice. Toasted oak with vanilla and other sweet woods and a touch of floral violet add to the fragrant nose of this wine.

Feel – The initial attack of this medium-bodied wine is dry with firm finely-etched tannins and bright acidity. A spicy kick hits mid palate and lingers through to the finish. As this wine opens, the tannins, acid and spice mellow dramatically.

Taste – Bold and complex with Italian black cherry as well as tart raspberry, black licorice and cayenne pepper, who’s presence is felt more than its tasted until it softens. A touch of vanilla toasted oak, bramble brush and berries and a hint of tobacco also emerge as you explore this wine.

Finish – Medium long in length with lingering spice and cherry that fades cleanly with notes of toasted oak, dark berries, and tobacco.

Conclusion – What we love most about Barbera, even the traditional-styled ones, is that there is a certain purity of fruit that is present in the wine. Straightforwardly delicious, rich and bold, juicy but not overly sweet; perhaps commonplace at local Italian restaurants, but hey when in Italy… Today’s selection from Mario Giribaldi is a welcome addition to your forays into Italian cooking or simply if you need a mental vacation to the Piedmont.

Mission Report:

The last time I saw Baco, she handed me a parcel at the Foligno train station parking lot as she speed off on her Vespa. I thought I heard her laughing, but couldn’t confirm my suspicions.

Only until I had opened the parcel she gave me and read her note, did I catch a glimpse of her passion for wine. Baco was a deep cover operative and was skating on the thin ice with a few of the wineries we had under surveillance.

HQ was deeply concerned that she had been compromised and after redacting the contents of her note, sent me back to check on her. It was a previously scheduled sojourn, but still, tension was high. We couldn’t figure out how Baco was finding such great wine values. Was she on the take? It didn’t matter to me, for the ends justified the means. As long as she kept producing great wines, I was happy. HQ on the other hand…

Arriving in Torino at spring time is a treat in itself, having Baco meet me at the station with some Torrone, my favorite nougat candy, is heaven. Still short on conversation and this time in a dumpy Fiat he headed south to the village Alba where we met Mario Giribaldo, the third generation of family winemaker and proprietor of the Azienda Agricola Mario Giribaldi. Tasting flights of their wine was, dare I say, sinful. The wines were all delicious. The tradizione styled single vineyard cru Dolcetto d’Alba and this Barbera d’Alba stood out. (look for the Dolcetto to be featured inthe future.)

Wine Spies Vineyard Check:

The location of the approximate location of Alba in Italy’s Piedmont can be seen in this satellite photo.

2004 Reverdito Michele Barbera d’Alba Delia

Posted in Barbera, Italy with tags , , , on February 2, 2008 by thewinespies

2004 Reverdito Michele Barbera d'Alba Delia

Mission Codename: Spies in L.A.

Operative: Agent White, Agent Gold and a New Recruit

Objective: Expose the Underground L.A. Wine Scene

Mission Status: Accomplished!

Current Winery: Reverdito Michele

Wine Subject: 2004 Barbera d’Alba Delia

Winemaker: Michele Reverdito

Backgrounder: While many dismiss Barbera, it is the most prolific and the greatest of Barbera grapes in all of the Piedmont are from Alba. The best of Barbera is, like this wine, the Barbera d’Alba which can match any Barolo or Barbaresco in terms of overall quality. Barbera d’Alba is characteristically rich and full of flavor and makes up just a small percentage of the total production of the region.

Barberas are usually quite acidic when young and therefore, in our opinion, are improved with age, when the colors, aromas and flavors integrate. They are usually ruby red in color, with solid fruit of raspberries and tart pomegranates. When young they are lighter, fresh and fruity.

Wine Spies Tasting Profile:

Look – Ruby red and garnet hues and excellent clarity with pink edges and springy surface that is quite luminescent.

Smell – Intense, but balanced fruit including tart blackberries with additional layers of toasted and slightly smokey oak, hints of earth and herbal licorice.

Feel – Smooth but solid and structured tannins and bright acidity.

Taste – Tart cherries and blackberries dominate initially, followed by layers of oak, and earthy quality and a slight herbal and licorice hints.

Finish – Long, smooth and somewhat dry in finish, that teases you with its hints of fruit and a smokiness.

Conclusion – The 2004 Reverdito Michele Barbera d’Abla Delia is an excellent single vineyard Barbera. While Barberas are generally overlooked for the so-called more elegant Barolos or feminine Barbarescos, this wine stands on its own with true varietal character, solid bouquet, and flavors. It is full-bodied and yet still bright. This is a wine that will complement a wide variety of foods and certainly belongs on your personal wine list.

Mission Report:

Having just returned from several long missions in Italy and France, I was anxious to get back to our Southern California operations center. Life on the road can be taxing, and I was looking forward to sleeping in my own bed for the first time in weeks.

Within minutes of walking into the door, my cell phone rang. “Agent White,” the voice asked, recognizing it as Agent Pinot, “yes, Pinot, what can I do for you?” We have an urgent dispatch and need you to scope out a prospective new asset.” “When,” I asked, “Now, as it get your self rolling, haven’t you checked your voice mail?” Pinot questioned.

“No, I just got in, you know that,” I responded. “Doesn’t that Blackberry of yours work?, Agent Gold is waiting for you at the 3rd Stop Gastropub (satellite photo), get down there now and bring that bottle of 2004 Reverdito Michele Barbera d’Alba Delia you’re stashing away with you, and yes, we’ve been watching, as he laughed in his trademark sinister manner.”

The 3rd Stop, is my local watering hole wine bar. Known to be frequented by several of our assets, we had a potential new recruit to ‘evaluate’. “How did he know about the Reverdito, I thought to myself… I thought I had been careful, I was planning on saving this one for dinner with Agent Blush.

I walked in and Agent Gold met me at the door. She had done her homework and was, as usual, wearing her signature gold boots – only in L.A., but that’s what makes life here fun. “Has Pinot brought you up to speed,” she asked. The puzzled look on my face, as answer enough.

As it turns out, The Wine Spies had been under surveillance by another ‘spy’ organization. This one the local folks at Your L.A. Your L.A.’s mission is to spy out all that is cool in the Los Angeles area and we had been on their radar. They sent an operative to see if The Wine Spies had what it takes.

With pleasantries aside, and our initial evaluation done, we popped open the wine. I had hoped to get a chance to keep this one for myself. Everyone knows my love for Italian wines, but like most wines, they are best enjoyed with friends, and this was no exception. Agent Gold, and Agent Rose (as our Your L.A. asset will now be named) loved the wine. And for good reason.

It is wines like today’s from Reverdito Michele that make The Wine Spies unique. This wine is only available through us, by way of top secret negotiations with the winery and importer. If you want to know how we are able to covert operatives so quickly, get yourself a bottle, and the answer will become apparent.

The Wine Spies looks forward to having several Your L.A. operatives join us on our mission of discovering the exceptional wines, with great undercover deals, once each day…

Mission Postscript:

Local agents and operatives can find The Wine Spies regularly at the 3rd Stop – if you are ever in the area, drop on by for a glass and perhaps a TOP SECRET tasting.

Wine Spies Vineyard Check:

The location of the Alba region in the Piedmont of Northwest Italy can be seen in this satellite photo.

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