Pre-Phylloxera Barbera d’Alba DOC – 2016
This selection of Barbera is called “Pre-Phylloxera” because it is the only Barbera d’Alba DOC produced from ungrafted vines of Barbera. The wine is unique—to taste this wine is to discover the original characteristics of the indigenous Barbera grape. The vineyard was planted more than 120 years ago in Langhe, before the arrival of Phylloxera, a root-feeding aphid. It survived due to the sandy soil in this location, which the pest cannot abide. The vines come from pre-grafted plants and are propagated by cuttings.
- Vineyards: 100% estate vineyards in Località Berri, in the village of La Morra
- Cultivation: Vertical trellising, Guyot pruning, 100% organic (not yet certified)
- Vine Age: 120-plus years old
- Soil: Very rich in sand, which is a natural protection from Phylloxera attacks
- Elevation: 520 meters (1,706 feet) above sea level
- Exposure: Southern
- Density: 4,500 vines/hectare (1,821 vines/acre)
The 2016 vintage was certainly one of the longest-lasting in recent years. After mild temperatures in January and February, we had a drop of temperature in March accompanied by plenty of rain. The “late” drop of temperature slowed the vegetative cycle. Spring began with a considerable amount of rain with average temperatures. This vegetative delay continued until the end of the summer, which also began slowly but extended until the end of September.
- Fermentation: 100% in stainless-steel fermentors with 9-12 days skin contact, temperaturecontrolled, automatic pump-overs; 100% with indigenous yeast
- Malolactic: 100% in steel fermenters
- Aging: 1 year barrel-aging in used, 25-hl (660-gallon) Slavonian oak; bottle-aged for 6 months. Bottled without filtration
- Production (in cases): 330 (6/750ml)
- Cases Imported: 150
- Alcohol: 14%
The color shows an intense purple red while the nose shows a wide range of aromas. Ripe red cherries, small berries, dried flowers and hints of cinnamon accompany mineral notes. The mouth is rich with a very long aftertaste. The combination of bright acidity and velvety tannins gives a very pleasant and savory mouthfeel.
Elvio Cogno Pre-Phylloxera Barbera d’Alba DOC – 2016 – Opening a Bottle – 4 3/4 Stars
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.