Sunday, February 11, 2007

Fiulot Barbera d’Asti 2004 Prunotto

I first learned to bottle wine in a family courtyard in Bellusco, a small town outside of Milan. Zio Beppe, as my kids called him, and I would spend Saturday and Sunday afternoons in late February and early March washing and cleaning thousands of bottles. Early February usually included trips to Alessandria, Alba and Asti to taste the local farmer’s wine. This wine was his own stuff not the grapes produced for sale and usually it was Barbera. Farmer’s Barbera is fruity with a pretty high acidity. Some farmers would age in barrels while others just produced a wine that their family liked. By the time the 12 or so 55 liter damagiane from 4 different vineyards arrived we had tasted 30-40 different farmer’s Barbera.

Many Italians asked how I knew so much about the culture of wine and where I had learned so much about the process. Zio Beppe was my mentor and my passion wine. It has been many years since I last spent time with Zio Beppe & Piera or Zia Luiga, the wonderful 86 year young lady who treated me as her son. Recently, my thoughts were brought back to those wonderful people by a bottle of wine.

A friend arrived at my door, bottle in hand, a Fiulot Barbera d’Asti by Prunotto 2004. He could not have known that Barbera is special and that I am extremely critical of Barbera. Mostly, I will no longer drink the commercial versions, for some reason they never stack up. It would have been rude not to drink this bottle of wine. A friend, bottle in hand, should never be shunned. Barbera is a fruity wine. This characteristic is accentuated in the farmer’s version. The acidity is also rather high, in line with the fruitiness. Thinking about these characteristics we prepare a Matriciana. The wine would go well with the tomato, pancetta and pepper.

The cork removed and the bottom of our glasses filled with a rich red color. The fruity base of Barbera was immediately evident but there was something subtle about this wine, hiding from our noses. The first sip revealed the secret, it was just a bit of tannins, enough to clean the mouth but not overbearing. This is not an austere wine, its basis is the fruity everyday table wine that is Barbera but the tannins give it an interesting plus. Fiulot Barbera d’Asti 2004 is a perfect fit in the cellar. One of those wines that works perfectly for a plate of Spaghetti or quick Risotto.

Grape: 100% Barbera, grown in the vineyards of Agliano d’Asti.

Color: Vivid Ruby Red.

Bouquet: Mature fruit. The immediate impression was young and vibrant.

Taste: Fruity, dominated by plums and cherries with a hint of tannins that cleans the mouth and balances the food. When consumed with food the flavor is a new experience with each sip, without food the fruitiness saturates the senses.

Alcohol Content: Minimum 13 %

Serving Temperature: 13-15 c.

Decanting: None.

Pouring: Pour slowly with a 15-20 degree inclination.

Glass: Red wine glass.

Aging: Not applicable.


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Anonymous Anonymous said...

darn you've got nice friends...
you should buy a car a visit them sometimes

i think someone else would like that starts w/an "R"

2:33 PM

Blogger Travel Italy said...

IWG I think the hydro or electrics will be on the market by April-May. Then we can party all summer long!

2:36 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

or you could buy an old amphibeous car, while waiting for the next flood (or if you already missed da boat!)

2:45 PM

Blogger Travel Italy said...

Caro Albert you of all the greats should understand the importance of world stability, clean energy and individual choices that change the world.

3:06 PM

Blogger Tracie P. said...

ooohh party! can i come?

11:04 AM

Blogger Travel Italy said...

Tracie b. Our sunkissed Napolitana will always be welcome at any gathering!

11:06 AM


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