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
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!
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!
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.