Blind Wine Tasting Notes: Barbera

Last night at the San Carlos home of my friend Brad Brooke, our monthly group enjoyed a comparative blind tasting of seven wines made from the Barbera grape. Just like last month’s Cabernet Franc tasting, this tasting reflected an astounding aspect: though there’s not a lot of pure-varietal Barbera available in the local marketplace (despite the reported fact that Barbera is the fifth-most widely-planted grape in California), we again managed to not duplicate any labels. What an intrepid and resourceful group of wine shoppers we have in our circle!

Of our seven wines, 3 were from Northern California, and 4 were from Italy’s celebrated Piedmont region. After we scored our six wines (using this wine scoring sheet), the consensus of the group was that we like the Barbera produced from both geographies. There was no clear favorite, but rather 3 wines that rated significantly higher than the others.

Each of the wines listed below are ranked top-down, most favorite to least favorite; each is followed by the wine’s heat, or alcohol content. My purchase was the Sunset, which has been awarded 3 gold medals, one of which was the Best of California Gold Medal at the 2002 California State Fair. Funny that the group liked it more than I did — but not too much more!

Group Ranking
‘98 Torti Incanto, Lombardy 13.5
‘02 Sunset, Napa Valley 14.9
‘03 Preston, Dry Creek Valley 14.5
‘03 Seghesio, Sonoma County 14.6
‘02 La Spinetta Ca di Pian d’Asti 13.5
‘01 Cascina Castle T d’Asti 14.5
‘02 Ruggeri Corsini Armujan d’Alba 14

Winehiker’s Ranking
‘02 La Spinetta Ca di Pian d’Asti 13.5
‘03 Preston, Dry Creek Valley 14.5
‘02 Sunset, Napa Valley 14.9
‘98 Torti Incanto, Lombardy 13.5
‘01 Cascina Castle T d’Asti 14.5
‘02 Ruggeri Corsini Armujan d’Alba 14
‘03 Seghesio, Sonoma County 14.6

Next month, in tribute to the Olympics being held in Torino, Italy, capital of the Piedmont region, we’ll continue with the Italian theme, choosing Sangiovese as our grape. I’d like to wish a special viaggio buono to fellow wine-taster Dave Medlicott, who is about to jet off to Torino. Dave is a troubleshooter in video production technologies, and will be working non-stop during the Olympic telecast. I expect Dave will also get in some great skiing and wine tasting, especially if his girlfriend Debbie has anything to say about it. I believe we sent them off in good fashion last night.

~winehiker

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