Barbera Magic 2019 / Italy
It’s a category of wine that, oddly, doesn’t get talked about anywhere near as much as you might expect. I call them “wines of affection.”
Actually, “affection” is too weak a term. Closer to the mark is something akin to love mingled with loyalty. They are wines you feel strongly about, never mind the reason. (Indeed, reason probably has nothing to do with it.)
My own such “wine of affection” may surprise you: It’s Barbera. (You thought I’d say Pinot Noir, didn’t you?) What is it about Barbera, of all wines, that so grabs me and won’t let go? Damned if I know. I only know that I’ve got a cellarful of Barbera and that it’s my go-to comfort wine. MATT KRAMER, The Wine Advocate
Barbera, unfortunately, still carries a little stigma as a variety that really doesn’t deserve more than passing attention by serious consumers. It is a prevailing myth that we simply don’t think is true. Given the right conditions to flourish Barbera can offer more pleasure than a lot more “prestigious” or “noble” varieties. Certainly if the team at PWS HQ’s drinking habits are anything to go by Barbera would sit right up there for one of our most loved varieties.
I kind of understand where people are coming from, Barbera wont hit the heights of Pinot, Nebbiolo or Cabernet for its ability to age and grow in stature and complexity with time in the bottle. But looking at a wine only for its ability to age is missing a fundamental point of what drinking good wine is all about, enjoyability, pleasure, the satisfaction you get from cracking a bottle with dinner and it sitting perfectly with your dish. That sinking feeling you get when you realise that the bottle is now empty and you don’t have another one on hand.
We love the stuff here and are always trying to win converts. The variety has its fans here in Oz and this offer is as much for you as it is for the drinkers out there who are yet to be brought in to the fold.
We have compiled four of our favourite examples from three producers that all take particular pride in their Barbera and range in style from super traditional through the more modern and plush. They include the utterly delicious 2013 from Barbaresco gun Enrico Dellapiana of Rizzi (we just tried the wine there and it is in such a good spot right now we couldn’t help but order some). The duo of brilliance from Gianfranco Alessandria with their upfront, engaging 2017 and the slightly more serious but equally appealing 2016 “Vittoria”. Lastly is the king of the hill, the bees knees, the sumptuous and oh so utterly drinkable 2016 La Tota from the alchemist of Barbera Mario Olivero of Marchesi Alfieri.
All the wines are ideal drinking and guaranteed to put a smile on your face. If this doesn’t convince you that Barbera deserves to be a permanent fixture in your house then I don’t know what will.