Monday, October 31, 2005
What a find! Barbera is native to Italy and some excellent wines are produced in Piedment in the North West of the country, most notably in Alba and Asti. I was introduced to this variety by an American friend with a £20 bottle of Barbera d'Alba from the Summertown Wine Cafe which was simply amazing and certainly the best £20 bottle of wine I've had. I then bought Il Monello Barbera d'Asti 2003 for about £8 in Oddbins and found the same exciting flavours and aromas - but without much finesse or complexity and a little too acidic for my liking.
So having tasted the Barbera from Brown Brothers briefly at the London Wine show (see below) I've bought a bottle and can report wonderful cherry and spice aromas which follow on the palate, cinamon and nutmeg waft at you as you inhale and at £6.65 a complete steal - so much so that the wife has declared it our new house red! Buy it from SH Jones or online. (www.shjones.co.uk) 17.5/20
I visited The London Wine Show with my extended family over the week-end and tasted all manner of interesting things - though my taste-buds were somewhat worn out by the end (as were my feet) I certainly didn't taste half the wines I would have like to, but given the amount there it would have been really hard. Highlights for me were a Louis Jadot Meursault tasted alongside an AOC Chablis and a Chablis Fourchaume from the same negociant which was great to do. The cheaper Chablis was fairly dull and uninteresting, the Fourchaume hit many high notes, has a steelyness and finess to it that I've rarely had the chance to taste and the Meursault was as expected fatter, nuttier and an altogether finer wine.
I also tasted a number of very nice Pinot Noir from New Zealand, 6 in total the best being a Mount Rosa Pinot Noir from Central Otago (www.lenzwine.co.uk).
I also tasted Brown Brother's Barbera for the first time, having avoided buying a bottle for fear that the finesse of the Italian grape would be murdered in Australia, however what I discovered was a wine that pressed the right buttons for a Barbera although it did lack a little in complexity.
Shaky Bridge Pinot Noir (http://www.nzwd.co.uk/uk/index.htm) - also from Central Otago was a great credit to the New Zealand wine industry and for me was a better bottle than the Mercurey and Santenay tasted on the Wines of Burgundy Stand.