Saturday, June 5, 2010

Remember the Beach Boys?? Baa - Baa - Baa ... Baa - Baa - bra -ann ~

Every time I think of Barbera (the grape) I think of the Beach Boys and the song, "Barbara Ann."  Sorry, it's just the way my brain is wired!

Have you ever had a Barbara wine?  I mean, BARBERA... The grape is the third most planted varietal in Italy (behind Sangiovese and Montepulciano). It's a vigorous grower and has rich, deep color, soft tannins and has lively acidity (making it a great food wine.)  There are many local Italian vineyards with vines that are older than one hundred years and produce wine with rich, concentrated fruit and dense, chewy tannins -  capable of long-term aging. The best known appellation for this grape is Barbera d'Asti, a DOCG (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita - Italy's highest quality category) in the Piedmont region.

Most of the Barbera that you find in the United States will be young, produced from younger, more vigorous vines, offering intense aromatics with red fruit, cherries and raspberries. These wines are not really made for aging and are best when they are young. BUT - somewhere in the middle are wines you can enjoy now, AND cellar down for future pleasure as well.

Which  brings us to one of my favorite wines! Fontanafredda Barbera Piemonte "Briccotondo."

Each year I purchase a case of the Briccotondo when it is released - I haven't been disappointed yet! This is a Legacy wine and consistently garners rave reviews and 90 points... I still have some 2006 that is drinking beautifully right now.

REVIEWS: The ’06 and ’07 received 90 points with a "Best Buy" from Wine Spectator, was listed on the Top 100 Wines of the Year and out-sold every other Italian red we carried last year:                 "Displays lovely plummy, chocolaty character. Full and silky smooth, this is packed with flavor. So delicious. Drink now through 2011."

 (12/08) 90 points from Wine & Spirits Magazine: "A vibrant and youthful barbera with fresh plum and cherry flavors, this feels balanced and cool. An everyday red to enjoy with grilled sausage." (12/08)

My personal review: The '08 Briccotondo is a beautiful ruby-red wine with purple highlights. The nose is packed with black fruit, especially blackberries and plums, with spicy hints of black pepper and cinnamon. Soft tannins meld with the fruit and provide a long, tasty finish. I enjoyed this with a vegetarian Bolognese, but it’s great with any Italian dish – even pizza!  Available at World Market $14
It's almost time for the release of the 2009!!!

Find it ~ Buy it ~ Try it ~ Love it!
Salud` KathyD

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