Friday, December 10, 2004

Winecology: Rocche Costamagna 'Annunziata' Barbera d'Alba Piedmont, Italy 2001

This was my first experience with Barbera and it was a good one. Italy is the one wine region where I have the least exposure and experience. So after opening this bottle, I did some homework. Karen MacNeil (a wine writer who's work I enjoy and also the host of a new PBS series on wine) writes that Barbera is, "Piedmont's most juicy, straightforwardly, delicious red wine." Further calling it the"stepsister" of Barolo and Barbaresco. Stepsister because, Barbera never gets equal attention from winemakers or critics as compared to the revered Barolo and Barbaresco wines. That said, if you are not deadset on a big bodied, ageworthy Piedmont wine; Barbera seems to be a fine alternative.

Rocche Costamagna seems to be a large producer of Barbera as well as Barolo and Barbaresco in Piedmont. Unfortunately, the English version of their website is under construction making it hard to learn much about the vineyards or winery. This offering had inky magenta colors. The nose was strong and aromatic. Chocolate, cassis and spice were all present making for quite a bouquet. On the palette it was simply luscious, well balanced with soft, velvety tannins. The finish was lasting and put forth cocoa and plummy fruits. All throughout there was a nice zip from the acidity - which I understand is typical of Barbera.

Rating - 9.0 out of 10
Price - $16