The good people at Mondial Wines sent me this bottle as they know I’m partial to Italian wines, and they’re nuts about them. Barbera d’Alba is one of those wines that’s great because it’s easy to understand. It’s made from Barbera grapes grown around the town of … go on guess … well done, it is Alba. Other grapes grown in the neighbourhood are Nebbiolo which grow up to be Barolo, so they’re the rockstars of the region. The upside of Barbera is that it does well on slightly less luxurious slopes and ripens earlier, helping to smooth the workflow through the autumn.
Still, Barbera d’Alba is the best Barbera out there, with DOC and DOCG options. A note on pronunciation – it’s tempting to call this wine Barbara, like the Beach Boys‘ Barbara-Ann, but it’s more like Bar-bear-a. Save yourself a snooty look from a waiter, but do remember when you get a snooty look that the waiter is working for tips and tip appropriately.
This Batasiolo Barbera d’Alba DOC 2011 is a dark ruby colour, almost opaque. You certainly wouldn’t want to spill it on your carpet. It has good legs, which are also colourful. It smells autumnal if that’s a thing, like a forest, dark, with some earthy, mushroom characteristics, not in an unpleasant, cardboard way, but in a happy, truffle-ish style.
It’s dry, oh my it’s dry, with a high level of acid. There’s plenty of tannin to which helps that dryness to really shine. It’s at the high end of medium for both body and alcohol. That forest flavour continues, and it’s joined by cherries. Not the cherryade cherry you might expect from Sangiovese grown further south, but more of a morello kind of cherry, dark yet sweet. There’s a little tannin from wood too.
For less than a tenner this is a great wine, with real character and great flavour. Right now the nice folk at Mondial Wines are offering 20% off all Italian wines if you use the secret code “premium-reader” at checkout, making it an £8 bargain. They’ll chuck in free delivery if you spend £50. I told you they were good people.