Montevina Barbera 2016
The 2016 Barbera displays a sultry, rich, dark red hue and bright aromas of rainier cherry, tart raspberry, and Amador spice. Flavors of dark cherry with toasty oak characteristics lead to sweet, soft tannins that melt away in juicy joy. The Montevina Barbera pairs beautifully with a multitude of cuisines. Try matching it with a Manchego and fig cheese plate, or an artisan pizza with prosciutto and vodka sauce, topped with fresh basil.
Gentle tannins, juicy fruit, and a happy acidity have made Barbera the predominant vino da tavola for centuries in Italy. The varietal’s vivaciousness and cooperative nature has made it equally popular with California wine grape growers. By no means new to the state, Barbera is the sixth most planted red grape in California, but is rarely labeled as a varietal. Loved by table wine producers for its pigment and acidity, Barbera has long been blended with less gentle varietals for balance. When crops are carefully managed and wine is aged in oak, Barbera’s distinctively soft, bright fruitiness is lifted up by exotic spice and ligneous tannin, making a delightful and versatile varietal wine. Montevina made acquaintance with Barbera in the early 70’s and immediately saw the varietal’s potential in Amador County.
The grapes are hand-picked, destemmed, gently crushed, then sent to stainless steel fermentation tanks. Because of the dependably gentle tannin levels of the varietal, we can use techniques to maximize extraction during fermentation. Once inoculated the tanks undergo daily “drain and return” treatments. The tanks are completely drained of their juice then the juice is returned to the tank over the skins that had formed a cap on the juice. This ensures more juice contact with the skins and feeds the fermentation more oxygen than a regular “pumpover” treatment. The fermentation is extended a full two weeks allowing more time for extraction and intensity of aroma and flavors. The wine was then aged for 6 months in small oak barrels and oak tanks to accentuate the sweet cherry cola flavors of the Barbera grape.