Gregory Dal Piaz

Location: New York, NY

Editor at Snooth Happy to answer all your wine related questions.

Top Barbera Tasted 5/13

Rank Wine Rating Price
1 Barbera Cascina Francia Giacomo Conterno (2011)
Comments: High toned on the nose with aromas of blue mineral earth, dusty, blue flowers, and wild berry fruit that shows a bit more red fruit character than the Cerretta. This shows great focus and definition in the mouth with great old vine character, elegant yet really snappy and well focused. There’s an amazing purity and rawness to this, it’s fresh and shows not a hint of alcohol with incredible purity to the fruit that widens out on the back end with black spices, a nice earthy, mineral component and fleshy, ripe plummy fruit supported by gentle tannins. With ait this does develop a leathery note on the nose which might be off-putting to some, but I just kept on drinking this. Awesome Barbera. 95pts
Average price: $53.99 from 3 stores
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2 Oddero Barbera d'Asti (2010)
Comments: One additional year in wood, often used to season botte, about half sees barrique, in this year because of new botte no new barrique but typically fifteen to twenty percent, full south exposure of the vineyard, high temps,little thermic excursion, a tight little valley with a very steep vineyard, high percentages of sand, very narrow rows, no tractors can be used so all manual work. This has a really big nose that is barely fruit driven showing instead layers of forest floor, leather, dried meat, bramble and dark macerated floral aromas over a base of small blackberry fruits. Opulent on entry and chewy in the mouth with an attractive lightweight density to the wine, it’s not heavy but it is a bit thick with the acidity kicking in early and showing decisively but not too elevated. there’s great power and length, this is fabulous in a rich, powerful fresh and clear style. A really attractive blend of power and grace. 93pts
Previously available for $25.00
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3 G.D. Vajra Barbera d'Alba Superior (2009)
Comments: Two years slavonian oak Fairly opaque color for Barbera, ,this comes from Bricco delle Viole, old vines of 40 years or more, Very aromatic and both subtle and complex on the nose with aromas of forest floor, violets, soil and macerated black fruits. On entry here is a bit noticeable wood tannin, though this is round, opulent and rich, with a hint of RS and filled with jammy black fruits. Silky smooth with great depth of flavor, there is impressive freshness here considering the power and weight, and there are also some fairly prominent tannins that help drive the plum and wild cherry flavors through the long savory finish. this holds its 15% very well and if you think, outside of Barbera expectations this is a very special wine. 93pts
Average price: $35.99 from 19 stores
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4 Giacomo Conterno Barbera d'Alba Ceretta (2011)
Comments: Very aromatic on the nose and filled with aromas of clay rich soil. musky spice, and freshly crushed black fruit. On entry this is tight and a bit wooly with some pencil lead accents early on followed by powerful, broad dark ripe and yet transparent fruit. A firmly tannic barbera that is a little chewy, deep and long with mulberry and boysenberry fruit that offers palate staining intensity and exceptional liquory and vinous length. 93pts
Previously available for $49.99
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5 Cascina Delle Rose Barbera Superiore Donna Elena (2010)
Comments: Vines planted in 1948, old rupestris, Spicy and sweet nose which is stunning and totally terroir driven, hinting at a little camphor, mild wild berry fruit, and a licorice top note. This is a little on the soft side for Barbera but clear and open with fresh wild berry fruit, succulent red currants and wild blackberries topped with minty hints and a touch of stemmy and woodsy complexity. Totally refined and totally compelling Barbera. 93pts
Previously available for $30.00
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6 Cascina Delle Rose Barbera Superiore Donna Elena (2004)
Comments: Tobacco, dried raspberries, tar, earth, spice, and a little blackcurrant fruit all waft up gently from the glass. Opening with good acids this is quickly soft, broad in the mouth, ripe with a touch of pomegranate and chocolate wrapped around black cherry fruit that is supported by bright fine tannins and lots of chocolate on the finish. This is fresh,with pretty perfumes in the mouth and lovely length to the slightly candied black raspberry fruit. I tasted this blind and did not think it was Barbera. A gorgeously aged example. 92pts
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7 Elvio Cogno Barbera d'Alba Pre-Phylloxera (2011)
Comments: Two three days more of maceration, one year 15 Hl in botte Production is from .66 hectare, 1500 bottles, half point of alcohol higher than the normal bottling, plants yield small clusters, very small and very tight, small berries, give a wine of unusual extraction and richness, Chocolate and toasted herbs greet the nose followed by hint, a little of herb stem, a touch of dried basil stem, earth, ash, old wood and a bit of dried berry fruit. This is exciting in the mouth, rich and with great depth yet clear and bright as it dances across the palate. The purity of the black fruit is terrific and the nice firm tannins and lovely firm and integrated acids offer exceptional balance yielding an elegant wine that has an innate sweetness to the fruit and a lightly tactile quality to the dry extract. Fascinating wine. 92pts
Previously available for $45.99
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8 Giuseppe Mascarello Barbera d'Alba Scudetto (2009)
Comments: Just bottled a week ago Floral and intense on the nose with a complex array of grapefruit, quinine and red fruit aromas. On entry one finds nice acidity supporting bright red fruit that shows a bit of plum and a little watermelon flavor on what is a pretty lightweight mid palate though it shows real cut in a lovely, clear bright, and tense style that has small powdery tannins adding a bit of density to the long, juicy and pure finish. This is tense and exciting barbera. 92pts
Average price: $30.00 from 1 store
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9 Elio Grasso Barbera d'Alba "Vigna Martina" (2010)
Comments: 15 months in barrique, bottled in August 2012 This offers up assertive toasted oak notes paring with the classic slightly herbal and violet driven plummy fruit of Barbera. Lots of wood spice, vanilla and milky notes. Rich and broad in the mouth with a nice blend of Barbera acidity and sweetness from the wood. The oak is much better integrated in the mouth than on the nose, supporting the fine black currant and black cherry fruit. The finish also shows fine integration with judicious wood tannins paired with the rather bright and assertive acidity. Showing really fine depth this remains transparent on the palate with fine black plum fruit, this should age very well, would love to revisit this in two to three years. 91pts
Average price: $29.99 from 4 stores
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10 Mascarello Bartolo Barbera d'Alba (2010)
Comments: 1 year in large wood A little tarry on the nose and rich with black fruit, black plums, earth, sweet medicinal notes and a little minty top note. On entry this is tight and focused with really deep fruit that tastes like old vines. A bit of alcohol intrudes early on the palate but the great acids kick in adding cut and definition leading to a long finish with attractive spice and dried floral accents.This would be great with a rare steak pick a fatty juicy cut like a skirt steak. 91pts
Average price: $47.99 from 1 store
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11 Cascina Delle Rose Barbera Superiore Donna Elena (2009)
Comments: A little stewy on the nose, complex and earthy and obviously terroir driven. Air brings out blue flowers and ripe blue and plum fruits with chocolate shavings on the nose. This is elegant, clear, and dry rich and ripe in the mouth, not an easy feat to manage. The fruit is quite perfumed in the mouth with hints of chocolate, violets, and stemmy spice adding detail There is impressive clarity of fruit here that shows excellent persistence on the chocolate covered cherry tinged finish. I can’t say this is my favorite style of barbera, this is a bit big but you can’t deny that it is expertly made in this style and judging it within the lineup today one can’t help but realise that this is simply what the vines produced in 2009. 91pts
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12 Cascina Delle Rose Barbera d'Alba (2011)
Comments: 15 months in botte Finely focused if a bit smoky on the nose with vivid black fruit aromas, a touch of black plum and a little spicy top note. This is so well balanced, elegant even though with nice richness and a touch of plum skin tannin adding a little texture to the mouthfeel. The feel is pure and fine driven by great acids on the backend. This is transparent and pure with fine length and balsamic aromas on the finish. There is a distinct lack of noticeable winemaking here, this really speaks of grape and place. 91pts
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13 Cascina Delle Rose Barbera d'Alba (2010)
Comments: A bit meaty on the nose and very open, complex and intense with black currant and spicy blackberry fruit framed with subtle herbal edges. Elegant and rich on entry with a lovely expression of fruit, just fruit and vineyard captured driven by superb acidity on the long finish which shows a subtle spicy edge. The balance of these wines (while tasting the entire Cascina delle Rose line-up) is just spectacular. 91pts
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14 Clerico Barbera d'Alba Trevigne (2010)
Comments: Two months in botte after a year in barrique Nicely paired wood and dark red and black fruits greet the nose. This is very nicely done, very precise with lovely wild red fruits and small black fruits in a supple and elegant style. There’s a touch of wood spice that pops on the black cherry finish which shows fine length but there is plenty of buffering material that helps keep the the wood tannins well covered through the finish. Wow this is nice, yes there is wood, the wood builds on the finish and becomes a bit heavy, but you just have to keep drinking it to keep it covered with the gorgeous fruit. 91pts
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15 Barbera D Alba Bricco Dei Merli Elvio Cogno (2011)
Comments: Two green harvests, 70 to 80 quintals per hectare can arrive at 100 with the excellent soil here, 15 days, natural yeast, malo in SS, cold stabilization, one year in slavonian oak, 15 Hl Tight and leathery on the nose with a fine spice note, this is aromatic but not fruity. With a fine plum skin quality early on the palate buffering the cutting acids this is deceptively smooth and polished in the mouth with late arriving herb notes and fine powdery tannins. The acid pops in a big way on the backend with mulberry toned fruit that is succulent and mouthwatering. This is probably pushing the limits of what is a generally acceptable level of acidity but it offers great freshness and classic Barbera cut. 90pts
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16 Francesco Rinaldi Barbera d'Alba (2011)
Comments: Botte for one year, from plots in La Morra, Novello, and Barolo, all told makes 7000 bottles A bit buttery at first, then turning savory and intense with clean, fresh aromas of , ivy with some soapy floral tones layered under brambly berry fruit framed with hints of violets, mace and nutmeg. Wonderfully pure and fairly intense in the mouth if not particularly complex, this is very vinous with lots of brambly fruit and a savory dark ripeness. Made in a rather dry firm, very classic and somewhat rustic style this finishes with great length and a gentle sweetness, probably the sweetness of alcohol. 90pts
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17 Giuseppe Mascarello Barbera d'Alba Scudetto (2008)
Comments: A bit funky on the nose filled with aromas of licorice, brownie, a little toasted nuts and meaty notes as well. Big acids on entry flow into lovely, clear and open fruit that is decisive in a rustic way. The flavors recall the slight oxidative flavors of Barbera from another era, though they do show great depth on the palate. This has near perfect acidity that just piques the palate but is well balanced by the richness of fruit,which gains a little medicinal herb and beef jerky complexity with just a faint wash of fruit tannin helping to support the midpalate and through the finish. 90pts
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