Brett happens

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Bodacious Barbera

with 2 comments

While I normally shy away from oaked Barberas, The Gazette‘s Bill Zacharkiw recently waxed so positive about Braida’s 2011 Montebruna that when I ran across a bottle marked down 15% at the Marché Jean-Talon SAQ store, I put it in my basket. It wasn’t until I got home that I noticed my bottle was from the 2010 vintage.

Barbera d’Asti 2010, Montebruna, Braida ($26.05 before markdown, 11863311)
100% Barbera from the Montebruna vineyard in Rocchetta Tanaro. Fermented in stainless steel tanks for two weeks. Matured 12 months in large (up to 55 hl) oak barrels. 14.5% ABV. On the label, the letters of the cuvée’s name aren’t solid but rather composed of the names of the various parcels acquired by the estate to form the vineyard.
Cherry, fruit and pit, hints of tobacco, spice, slate, faint vanilla. Rich texture. Soft, plush tannins. Buoyant acidity. The spotlit fruit is ripe, fresh and juicy, with an appealing sour edge. Oak is held in check, adding a layer, if not depth, but not weighing the wine down. Good follow-through and lingering earth and spice flavours. In that select group of wines that capture the soul of the Barbera grape. I’d love to try an unoaked version. (Buy again? Yes but…)

I drank half the bottle and transferred the rest into a clean half-bottle, which I corked and refrigerated. The next day, the wine was much less interesting. The fruit had lost some of its vibrancy and the sweet vanilla oak was much more present. So buy again? You’ll probably have a hard time finding a bottle of the 2010. The 2011 appears to be widely available, however. But how will it compare? On the one hand, it’s Zacharkiw-approved; on the other, according to it clocks in at a hair-raising 15.5% ABV (2011 was a very hot vintage in Piedmont). You pays your money and you takes your chances.

Written by carswell

January 26, 2014 at 18:47

Posted in Tasting notes

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2 Responses

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  1. I normally don’t go for them either, but I liked the Braida. Needs a meal, where I drank mine back no problem. Not surprised that it went vanilla on the second day however, but my two bottles never made it to day 2. Not a wine for the purists, but for the genre, well done.

    bill zacharkiw

    March 23, 2014 at 13:39

    • The 2010 definitely has allure, Bill, and I look forward to future encounters with the wine. Might wait for the 2012 before revisiting, however, in hopes of a return to less extreme alcohol levels. Anyway, thanks for the lead — if looking for an oaked Barbera, this appears to be the one to choose (a point driven home by the 2008 Ca’Viola’s Bric du Luv I reviewed today).


      March 23, 2014 at 14:47

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