Paolo Manzone - Barbera d'Alba Fiorenza 2019
Paolo Manzone is one of the under the radar producers in Piemonte’s Serralunga d’Alba commune, but with wines this good as he won’t be for long. Paolo has been awarded Gambero Rosso’s Tre Bicchieri award (Italy’s highest honor) several times, and wasn’t recently recognized as one of the top 25 producers in Barolo by Forbes. It’s clear this winery is on the up and up, and with prestigious neighbors like Bruno Giacosa, Roberto Conterno, Vietti, and Pio Cesare I expect it won’t be long before Manzone’s prices climb too. For now though, Manzone’s wines are a steal, and you should snap them up if you love great Piemonte reds. The original house and vineyards on Manzone’s estate, located in the Cru Meriame of Serralunga, have been in his wife Luisella’s family for generations. In 1999 after years of wine consulting Paolo and Luisella launched their own winery and agriturismo. Today, after expanding their holdings, they farm almost 12 hectares, planted with Nebbiolo, Dolcetto, and Barbera.
This Barbera d’Alba Superiore is very impressive. 100% Barbera from 30 year old vines planted in clay and chalk heavy soils. The fruit is fermented in stainless steel tanks, then aged in 20% new French oak barrels for 12 months prior to bottling. The vine age and barrel ageing make all the difference here, producing a complex, robust wine, this is not your average everyday Barbera. Rich upfront aromas of blackberry and cherry bound from the glass, with hints of spice and earthy minerals. Full-bodied with lots of ripeness, more dark berries, plenty of weight and intensity, good texture, and plush round tannins from the barrel ageing. What I love about this wine is how thoroughly drinkable it is. Yes, it’s dark and broody with plenty of intrigue, but it never feels too heavy, there’s a harmonious balance to it. Once you taste it, its really hard to put the glass down. Great for grilling, and pasta of course, but can easily be enjoyed by itself. Drinking great now, and you can expect it to cellar well for another 5-6 years.
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