When speaking to Luca Currado on the radio he said “you can always tell the tourist. They are the ones drinking Barolo or Nebbiolo. We drink Barbera.” And I’ve never been all that keen on Barbera. It has been a bit of a nothing wine or the price has been so high that I’d rather put all those dollars on Nebbiolo (yet, tourist!). But he went on to describe some of the sites that Vietti have and what makes Barbera special. I have undertaken a mission to understand Barbera and the first stop was Vietti’s wines. Vietti Scarrone is amazing. Perhaps it is the age, or that the site really is special. But the wine has depth of flavour, elegance, richness on the palate and it is so drinkable. Smoke, dark fruits, violets, cola. There is a lot going on in the glass. The wine is supple in the mouth and moreish. It is drinking well right now, but it will improve or at least hold that plateau for many years yet.
The Scarrone vineyard is in Castiglione near the winery. The vines are 1988 plantings and it must be an extraordinary place. This Barbera would easily compare to a Barolo of similar age. It is amazing.
Mario Vietti’s first Vietti wines came out in 1919. By 1952, Vietti was one of the top-level Piedmont producers. Vietti is one of the first producers to release single-vineyard Barolo and Barbaresco. Their wines age so well. They have earnt their reputation on the quality of wines they release. You should look out for their Cru Barolo, Barbaresco, and Barbera. Also, Vietti pioneered the rival of Arneis: The local white grape.
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.
An ancient city at the heart of the region and its centre of trade. It is also the region that gives its name to quality Dolcetto, Barbera and Nebbiolo.
Approximately half of the red wine made in Piedmont is made from Barbera. Look for currants and blackberries, liquorice and oak characters.