2004 Agostino Pavia Barbera d'Asti, Moliss
Agostino Pavia and his sons Giuseppe ('Pino') and Mauro make three styles of Barbera, three different bottlings from three different single vineyards, less than five thousand cases in all. Barbera d'Asti used to have a reputation for having acidity like that of a car battery, apparently due to high yields and an occasional lack of malolactic fermentation. These wines are different, zesty but balanced, with luscious fruit to match the acidity. I drink them with all kinds of foods, the very low tannins of barbera make it versatile. Moliss (a Piedmontese word, not Italian) is the middle son; another single vineyard wine, old vines, matured in large oak ovals, the closest thing to a tradional Asti but cleaner and much more concentrated. (These larger oval barrels, usually made of Eastern European oak, give the wine a hint of oak when new, and a different texture. The key is that they be well-maintained, many of the traditional wines from this region were ruined by dirty old cooperage, which smells a bit like chicken manure.) This wine is 'una bomba,' exuberant and packed with fruit.