One of my biggest pet peeves is hearing people say that they "hate Chardonnay", or "can't stand Pinot Noir", or "won't drink any F*#@&%g Merlot". While I totally understand having a bad experience with a wine and attributing the distaste solely to the varietal, there are far too many factors involved in winemaking to simply blame the grape. I am also guilty of this, as there was a time when I dismissed Barbera entirely as a mere table wine. The reality is that Barbera was not the problem, it was merely a matter of exposure. This year, I've been exposed to the best Barbera wines that I've ever tasted and topping that list is this offering from Cascina La Barbatella. 'La Vigna dell'Angelo' is sourced from 70+ year old organically farmed vines from the relatively new DOCG of NIzza - a high elevation Piemonte appellation that has strict requirements for limiting yields and longer aging requirements to ensure quality. This wine sings with fruity notes of fresh marionberries, blueberry compote, and figs until the sensation of walking through a forest takes over with aromas of eucalyptus, damp leaves, pine needles and wood chips overwhelm the senses. The acidity is lively, and energetic enough to effortlessly swirl its full bodied and silky texture on the palate. The tannins are grainy and cedar-like, revealing a complex earthy, fruity, and slightly smoky and lengthy finish. This Barbera captures the ever elusive quality that only a few wines achieve: A true sensory experience.
Cascina La Barbatella was founded in 1983 by the Sonvico family who produced wines rich in tradition and culture, earning a multitude of awards and recognition. In 2010 the estate was purchased by husband and wife, Lorenzo and Cinzia Perego, who continue the Sonvico legacy and immerse their love of art into the production of this legendary wine. 'La Vigna dell'Angelo' is Barbatella's flagship wine with a miniscule quantity of roughly 3000 bottles produced annually.