2001 Montaribaldi, Barbera d'Alba, Dü Gir
The Barbera d’Alba and Dolcetto d’Alba wines from the Barolo producers seem to get the most attention. However, you should not overlook these wines that are made in the Barbaresco zone. Like nebbiolo, these grapes produce a more restrained and elegant wine in the Barbaresco communes of Barbaresco, Neive and Treiso than in Barolo. This not to say they are lighter, but they have a certain freshness and floral note that is replaced by power on the Barolo side of Alba.
Acidity is one of the key components that make wine taste so wonderful with food: the acids cleanse, refresh the palate and stimulate salivation. Barbera is naturally loaded with acid. In fact, it has so much acid it is a mixed blessing. Mass produced barbera can have acid bite far beyond what most people find pleasing. While Italians may be accustomed to this style, it is a type of wine that does not do well commercially outside of Italy.
The legendary Giacomo Bologna rediscovered barbera for everyone when he released his Bricco dell’Uccellone in the early eighties. Selected from prime vineyards with low yields and then aged in small, new French oak barrels. Bricco dell’Uccellone showed everyone barbera had the capability to make profound wines. Today there is a broad range of excellent barbera beyond the grocery store brands sold in Italy. The styles range from fresh, grapy versions that only see stainless steel to big, richly oaky wines that can challenge nebbiolo for depth and complexity.
The Taliano family, proprietors of Montaribaldi, have dedicated themselves to producing wines of the highest quality. The estate takes its name from the ancient road on which it is located. The road is almost certainly of Roman origins and exists as Montaribaldi on maps from the Napoleonic era. Brothers Luciano and Roberto joined their father in 1994 and have helped build the estate into a respected producer of Barbaresco and a full range of other Piemontese wines. Don't miss their lovely Montaribaldi Roero Arneis, Capural - a tremendous example of how charming arneis can be.
This single vineyard Barbera comes from vines replanted in 1968. After fermentation it ages for 12 months in new French oak barriques. The vineyard, Dü Gir in Piemontese dialect, is highly regarded for its ability to produce wines of high concentration with good aging potential. 6,600 bottles were produced in this vintage.
Tasting Notes: Deep, rich sparkling ruby with purple overtones. Just translucent. Bright dark wild fruit aromas. Hints of raspberry and sweet plums. Very bright and lively on the palate while sporting a substantial body. Huge raspberry and bitter cherry fruit flavors are balanced by a bitter hint of tobacco. The lush velvety flavors are carried nicely by the zesty acidity. The finish is long, rich and powerful yet refreshingly tart with a clean almost explosive tart cherry flavor that won't quit. A dose of wood tannins shows at the end. The wine carries its 14.5% alcohol quite well. We recently served this wine with Cazzoeula, the famous Milanese stew of pork ribs, skin, sausage and cabbage, and it was delicious. Although this is a big rich wine there is still more than enough acidity to make it match well with many dishes.