Elvio Cogno Pre-Phylloxera Barbera d’Alba DOC – 2016 – Opening a Bottle – 4 3/4 Stars
Visually speaking, there appears to be a little more opacity to this Barbera than others, but not enough for the casual drinker to care. The aromas are impactful and tightly wound, registering recollections of black cherries, musk, salami, violets, nutmeg, vanilla extract and a minerality similar to pencil lead. (We’ve all sniffed a pencil inadvertently while taking a tough exam, right?). At this stage in the wine’s life, these aromas all seems smashed together, like a spring about to uncoil, but it is beautifully integrated and approachable already.
On the palate, the wine is distinctly savory, juicy and finely balanced. From the one year it spends in used Slavonian barrels, there is just enough tannin to give the acidity the grip it needs; otherwise, it would seem, the wine would slide away without us grasping it. The finish is tidy and buttoned-up.
What I love about this wine is the juxtaposition between rustic tones and its sophisticated craft. It is meaty and hearty, yet measured enough to rival many of its Langhe neighbors — including Barolo — at this price point.