Paolo Stella is winemaker for his family’s estate in Costigliole d’Asti about halfway between Alba and Asti. Twelve hectares of vineyards grow the full range of varieties found in this part of Piedmont, but it is Barbera that is their speciality.
Stravisan Barbera is gorgeous. Having thought Barbera is a nothing variety and favouring Nebbiolo or Dolcetto, this wine hit the mark. What makes it the one? Once it has had some air all the sharp angles smooth out and you are left with a beautiful red wine. Aromas of dark olives, earth, intensity, caramel, liquorice hint of alcohol, menthol, brown spice. The palate offers flesh and silk, mineral/black stone core in a tight ball, long finishing. mouth watering acidity, hint of bitterness, black chocolate and coffee beans. The flavours just linger so long. I’d tuck into this beauty from now and until about 2023. Pair it with a mushroom dish.
Known as one of the greatest wine regions in the world, its name literally means the ‘foot of the mountain’. Piedmont located in the North Western reach of Italy. There are a lot of parallels drawn between the best wines of Piedmont (Barolo and Barbaresco) and the wines of Burgundy. The region neighbours France and Switzerland with its border defined by the Alps to the north and west and Apennines to the south. These natural defences were used to keep the Ligurians safe from Roman invasions. Luckily it didn’t work forever, as we may not have the wines that we cherish today.
This Piedmont town is the home of the great Moscato, wonderful Barbera, Dolcetto and of course Nebbiolo. The wines tend to be a bit more obvious and fuller than the cross town rival Alba. And don’t tend to get as much attention sadly.
Nebbiolo is the king but approximately half of the red wine made in Piedmont is made from Barbera. Look for currants and blackberries, liquorice and oak characters.