2006 Cascina Garitina Caranti Barbera d’Asti Superiore
Mission Codename: La Spia Superiore
Operative: Agent White
Objective: Acquire an exclusive allocation of a Barbera d’Asti Superiore for our operatives
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Azienda Agricola Cascina Garitina
Wine Subject: 2006 Caranti Barbera d’Asti Superiore
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.
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, hae an alcohol of 12.5% or greater and be from one of these sub-regions: Nizza, Tinella, Colli Astiani or Asti.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Dense and dark purple with garnet reflections through its dark but clear core. Along the edges the color lightens just slightly and when swirled slow medium thick legs hang for a moment before deliberately descending down to the wine below.
Smell – Medium bold in intensity with fresh aromas of fleshy and spicy fruit, specifically dusty raspberry, blackberry and plum. Complex notes of toasted oak, vanilla caramel, floral violets and fresh oak mix with a dusty earthiness.
Feel – This full-bodied and dry wine has an initial attack of spice with bright fresh acidity. Medium-firm but well-textured tannins blend with the spice and acid reaching the far corners of the palate.
Taste – Fresh and bright flavors of spiced blackberry and plum with a touch of tart raspberry as well are immediately followed by a kick of mild cayenne pepper. As the spice fades hints of vanilla and oak mix with classic Italian candied fruit and hints of tree nuts.
Finish – This wine finishes with its spiced fruit fading slightly but with its textured and structured tannins gripping just a while longer. Hints of this wine’s fruit, spice and floral notes linger inviting another sip.
Conclusion – The 2006 Cascina Garitina Caranti Barbera d’Asti Superiore is a fresh and light-hearted Barbera but also shows real depth and character which is provided by its extended barrel aging. Nice balance between its fruit and other complex notes puts this wine somewhere in between new and old-world. Enjoy this wine right away as a perfect starter to your next Italian dinner but also save a few bottles in the cellar – we’re betting that this wine will evolve beautifully for 5-10 years to come.
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 to the village Asti where we met the folks from Cascina Garitina. Tasting flights of their wine was, dare I say, sinful. The wines were all delicious. The tradizione styled 2006 Caranti Barbera d’Asti Superiore stood out and here we are today.
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of Azienda Agricola Cascina Garitina, just south of Asti in Castel Boglione, Italy can be seen in this satellite photo.