Marco Bonfante - La Stella Barbera d'Asti Superiore 2020
There are two regions for Barbera in the Italian Piedmont- Asti and Alba. While there’s considerable stylistic overlap between the two, Barbera d’Asti tends to be a little lighter and more fruit driven than its cousins. The La Stella really leans into this, balancing smooth tannins with bright acids and a big berry notes for a wine that’s light on it’s feet without sacrificing the structure needed for more elaborate dishes.
What makes this so lovely is a killer blend of vinification techniques. 50% of the harvest goes through a process known as cold maceration, which basically means holing the crushed grapes with their skins at a low temperature to delay fermentation, allowing for a deeper aromatic profile and tannic profile. After fermentation, the wine is then aged in a combination of Slovonian Oak Barrels and used French Oak Barriques for just shy of a year, elevating the structure while preserving the bright acids and bountiful berry notes.
The result is just what I want out of Barbera- full flavored but balanced, with an incredible structure and tons of ripe fruit and floral aromatics. It’s great just as a solo act, but you could put this with just about anything and have a good time. The winery recommends some classic dishes from the Piedmont, specifically with anchovies in green sauce or a risotto variant called Panissa alla Vercellese, but you could just as easily make this sing with a skirt steak and chimichurri sauce. It’ll sing with whatever you throw at it!
James Suckling: 92 Points
"A berry-rich nose, ripe and spicy, following through to a medium- to full-bodied palate with the same concentration of crushed mixed berries, smooth tannins and a long finish. Fun to drink now."
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