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K&L Staff Recommendations
Monica Larner writes: "One of the oldest estates in the Langhe, Fratelli Barale was founded in 1870, shortly after the Barolo denomination was created with the help of Marchesi Falletti and founding father of modern Italy, Count of Cavour, Camillo Benso. Sergio Barale and his daughters manage the estate today."
91 points James Suckling: "A tangy, delicious red with a soft texture and plenty of ripe fruit such as blueberries and blackberries. Hints of citric acidity. Full and savory." (10/2015) 91 points Wine Enthusiast: "Fragrant and fresh, this offers scents of blue flowers, wild berry, moist earth, chopped herbs and a hint of baking spice. The vibrant, supple palate doles out juicy black cherry, crushed raspberry, white pepper and star anise alongside fresh acidity. (KO)" (11/2015) 90 points Wine & Spirits: "No tasting note given." (12/2015) 90 points Wine Spectator: "Lush and juicy, boasting blackberry, black currant and sweet spice flavors. Shows tannins from oak, and r ...Read More »
Terre da Vino's La Lune e I Falò Barbera d'Asti comes from a variety of vineyards with varying soils and aspects located between the towns of Nizza Monferrato and Agliano Terme. Aged in one-third new oak barrels for a year. A purple-fruited Barbera with lots of fruit and integrated spice, finishing long.
93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "On another level, and worth the uptick in price, the 250-case 2014 Barbera Cervo (from vines planted in 1997 and tiny, tiny yields) was brought up all in barrique and is easily the finest example of this variety I’ve tasted from Washington. Elegant, layered and concentrated, with a serious feel in its black cherry, lavender, underbrush and peppery herbs bouquet, this terrific effort is a real head-turner that readers should seek out! The Casa Smith brand is reserved for the Italian themed wines from Charles Smith. (JD)" (6/2016) Vinous: "(14.06% alcohol; from vines ...Read More »
The Barbera grapes for this wine were grown on vines dating back to the beginning of the 19th century. It's a vibrant ruby red in the glass with a dry, full body. Thanks to the long growing season in this northern part of Italy, the wine develops gorgeous acid that makes it a perfect accompaniment to roasted and braised meats.
Ca' del Baio is the labor of love of four generations of family producers. The Grasso family manages the 22 hectare vineyard and winery based in Treiso. They follow a hands-on winemaking philosophy founded in the belief that great wine is made in the vineyards; these hand-tended Barbera vines were planted in 1995. The Grassos have been able to successfully integrate new technology into their traditional methods to produce wines today that showcase the unique terroir characteristics of the Langhe. This Barbera bottling undergoes a controlled fermentation ... Read More »
91 points James Suckling: "Lots of dried berry, apple and lemon aromas and flavors. Medium to full body, outstanding acid tension and a long and flavorful finish." (10/2015) 90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Barbera d'Alba Bricco dei Merli is a dark and generous wine that is loaded tight with bright fruit flavors. The Cogno family describes it as having the exuberance of the 2011 vintage and the elegance of 2012. It's true that 2013 marches to the beat of its own drum with pretty fruit contours surrounded by a fringe of spice and light leather. It ages in large oak casks for 12 months and rests on the lees ...Read More »
90 points Decanter: "Clean, fresh and long, this is still closed and unyielding at present, but it does hint at considerable depth and purity of fruit. Even more so than other Nizza wines, this is one for the cellar and ought to turn into something special." (5/2016) K&L Notes: The Bava family's oldest vineyard sits atop the south-facing, all limestone "Crena" vineyard near the village of Agliano, thought to be the premier site for Barbera in Asti. The wine is fermented on the skins in stainless steel tanks for 10 days and then spends 18 months in 1,500-liter oak barrels. The results are... Read More »
Guido Rivella had a multi-decade career as the winemaker for Angelo Gaja. Now retired, he and his daughter have a tiny estate in Barbaresco. This Barbera comes from a vineyard next to the Barbaresco vineyard "Cole." It is an eastern-facing, 1.4 acre piece. The wine is fermented in stainless steel for 12-14 days and then aged in used barrique for six months. Barbera has naturally high acid, but this wine shows exceptional balance and is supple and layered, with complex earthy aromatics.
Meaning "middle son", Moliss is a Piedmontese word, not Italian. This is one of two single vineyard Barberas produced by Agostino Pavia and his sons Giuseppe ("Pino") and Mauro, of which total production is less than five thousand cases. It is made from old vines and aged in large Slavonian oak ovals, which impart subtle oak aromas and can add texture when new, Moliss is stylistically similar to a traditional Asti but cleaner and much more concentrated. Importer Oliver McCrum writes: "Barbera d'Asti used to have a reputation for having acidity like that ... Read More »
Inventory: San Francisco
90 points Wine Spectator: "A high-pitched red, featuring firm tannins that frame the black currant and bilberry fruit. Fragrant, racy in structure and elegant, with a long finish. Drink now through 2019. 125 cases imported. BS" (11/2016) K&L Notes: The 2013 vintage was cold and damp in Alba, but a sunny fall and a steady hand at the sorting table helped create beautiful, intricate wines. Tasting notes from the winery: "Hints of blackberries and spices. On the palate, it's full and harmonic. A perfect match for roasted meats, game dishes and seasoned cheeses."
Among the pioneers in bringing Rhône-style wines to Dry Creek Valley, Unti Vineyards now also grows Italian-inspired wines from Segromigno and Barbera. The first four, densely planted (4 feet by 6 feet) acres of Barbera were successful, and they've added four more, on low-vigor 420-A rootstock. The winery's vintage note: "This 2014 vintage is one of the most concentrated and full-bodied Barberas we have ever made. It possesses deep color, exotic fruit and floral aromas, with a juicy mouth-feel and solid acidity. While Barbera is all about fruit and acidi... Read More »
This is a 100% Barbera wine from the town of Donnici, just south of Cosenza in Calabria (The toe of Italy's boot) at over 1600 feet. The winery is just 16 acres of vineyards and produces 6 different wines, this Barbera is made in all stainless steel, and is aged for 21 months before bottling.
92 points Vinous: "Once again, Palmina's 2012 Barbera is absolutely delicious as well as one of the most distinctive wines in the range. Pungent red berries, orange peel, spice and mint open up in a super-classic, old-school Barbera endowed with tons of complexity and nuance, with a distinct nod to the great old-school Piedmont Barberas. The 2012 spent six months in neutral barrels then two years in cask. From top to bottom, this is a compelling set of new releases from Steve and Chrystal Clifton at Palmina. Although all of these wines are delicious, if there is one wine t ...Read More »
Giuseppe and Mauro Pavia are dedicated to their mission--to bring attention and acclaim to Barbera d'Asti, as they state very clearly: "...our aim has always been to create a strong identity with this land, in the commune of Agliano Terme, which we cultivate in order to offer Barbera d'Asti to wine lovers."
91 points James Suckling: "Aromas of mushrooms, berries and wood follow through to a full body, soft tannins and a savory finish." (11/2015)
92 points James Suckling: "Aromas of blackberry, blueberry and lemon peel. Full body, tangy fruit and a long and flavorful finish. Tart and exciting." (10/2015)
Cascina Val del Prete (valley of the priest) takes its name from the exiled Bishop of Asti who lived there in 1850. In 1977 Bartolomeo Roagna and his wife Carolina bought the farm "Val del Prete" where they had worked as sharecroppers. The first thing they did was replace some of the grain and fruit plantings with vines. The grapes are grown on south-facing slopes in a splendid natural amphitheater. Over the years they have increased the area under vine. Their sons, Mario and Luigi, have entered the family business to take care of the vineyards. Cascina ... Read More »
Jeb Dunnuck writes: "Palmina is Steve Clifton’s label focusing on Italian varieties grown in California. He has released a number of interesting and noteworthy blends in 2012 and 2013. As I commented in 2013, I think his value-priced wines give you the most bang for the buck, but he certainly produces the best example of Nebbiolo I have tasted outside of Italy."
96 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The dense opaque purple-colored 1998 Barbera d'Alba Riserva Pozzo dell'Annunziata resembles vintage port in its color, texture, and flavor saturation. Opulent, with extreme richness, this full-bodied, super intense, compelling, flamboyant Barbera (less than 1400 magnums produced) possesses freshness and exoticism. It boasts unctuous black cherry, chocolate, espresso, licorice, and strawberry liqueur aromas as well as flavors, immense body, major levels of glycerin, and gorgeously integrated sweet new oak (from 100% malolactic in new wood). (RP)" (6/2001) 93 points Wine Spectator: "E ...Read More »
Inventory: San Francisco