I have been drinking a lot of Italian wines lately (hello, Amarone), and it’s no coincidence, because in two short months I will be in Italy! You should all be very excited because I will be writing all sorts of great posts about the vineyards and wineries we visit while there. In preparation for my upcoming adventures I have been exploring the fine world of Italian wines, as well as brushing up on my Italian language skills. What better place to visit as a wine lover? Home of the Sangiovese, Nebbiolo, and Corvina grapes, and last but definitely not least, Barbera.
The Piedmont region, in the northern part of Italy, may be most well known for its Barolo and Barbaresco wines from the Nebbiolo grape, but are those traditional table wines for the general Italian populace? Probably not. Barbera, also produced in the same region, offers a lighter alternative, more suitable for everyday consumption, for both your palate and your wallet. While the Nebbiolo grape is given the prime vineyard real estate for its growing needs, Barbera is grown in much larger quantity. Even though the grape is native to Italy, it’s the third most planted grape in the country, Barbera has begun to spread to new world locations.
There are two primary DOCs (denominazione di origine controllata, meaning “controlled designation of origin”) for Barbera in Piedmont, Barbera d’Alba and Barbera d’Asti. This week’s bottle, Vietti Barbera d’Asti Tre Vigne 2013, is obviously from the latter area. There are some differences between the two, largely that the d’Alba is generally a more structured and concentrated wine, while the d’Asti is more fruity. This particular bottle indeed lives up to its expectation with notes of ripe red cherries, a little blackberry and darker fruits, mineral and spice undertones and hints of vanilla on the finish. It is a fairly dry wine, medium acidity and tannins, and very well balanced. The wine is very drinkable and I feel that you could drink it with just about any food you choose, I had it with the very traditional pasta and meat sauce combo. Overall, I give it a 9 out of 10, and given that you can get it for under $20 a bottle, it’s even better!
Do you have any suggestions for a future Bottle of The Week? Perhaps you know of a great little winery in Tuscany that I absolutely must visit. If so, leave a comment and a recommendation!