Raise your hand if, at least once, you’ve asked for a light, cool, drinkable Barbera with a low alcohol content.
Well, you’ll be disappointed to learn that it’s going to be impossible to find a 2015 vintage Barbera like that, at least in my part of Nizza.
2015 has been and is going to be a vintage to remember, even when we become grandparents or great-grandparents (for those who are lucky enough). A perfect vintage in the vineyard and in the cellar too, thanks to two meteorological macro effects: a hot, actually very hot, summer – and Barbera loves hot weather – and a cool harvest, with lots of peaks and troughs in temperature.
The rains and low temperatures we had in the middle of August had similar effects to 2010. Early ripening (generated by very hot weather in June and July) was confirmed, as was the unusual hardness of the Barbera grapes, which gave each individual winegrower the chance to decide when to harvest, without being conditioned by grape health or the weather.
Thick, very tough skin and lots of sugar, which reminds me of the 1990 vintage.
At Cascina Garitina, we did virtually no green harvesting (apart from in the vineyards hit by hail, where we had to remove the damaged grapes) and removed very little foliage in the summer, in order to maintain a better balance and freshness in the aromas, and these decisions turned out to be the right ones.
Perfect yields (with an average 10% more than the doc and docg) without withered or sunburnt grapes, which would have blocked the path to such a great vintage.
Despite this, we were among the first to harvest Barbera in the area south of Nizza, which is always slightly later due to the constant wind blowing in from the south (Marin), which lowers the average temperatures.
But who really knows Barbera and the genetic characteristics of the grape which have been enhanced in this vintage?
Here you can see the analyses of two tanks, just a few days after the grapes were crushed.
Where can you find a wine with an alcohol content of 16.06% and a total acidity of 9.96, of which 4.51 is tartaric acid, with 3.52 in malic acid, despite the really hot summer?
It’s all thanks to the Barbera, the soil and canopy management, elements that are increasingly important to achieving perfectly balanced ripening, without allowing the grapes to over-ripen with the consequent risk of olfactory deviations.
Obviously the experience matured over several hot years (e.g.: 2003/2007/2011), enabled us to manage July’s African temperatures and try to maintain all the freshness and acidity that are the foundations of #Barbera.
The figures we have, clearly show that the 2015 Barbera will all be great, alcoholic and full-bodied wines with nice balance and freshness, guaranteeing drinkability and longevity.
Another piece in the puzzle to succeed in communicating how Barbera is one of Piedmont’s grape varieties which gives wines with the longest life, possibly on a par with the great Nebbiolos. (I have comforting feedback which tells me that, after 30 or 40 years, Barbera is much more complete and pleasant).
Ah, I was forgetting the analysis of colour, which goes from dark red to compact black, thanks to thick and very consistent skins, so the analyses don’t really count for much 😉 there’s an abundance of colour.
As you can see, my initial analysis of the vintage looks at a range of factors without considering the Babo or Brix which have been plastered all over the social networks this year, in an attempt to communicate the excellent quality of the grapes.
I have even seen a 20 Babo for a Barbera which, in 2015 cannot be classed as a high level, as the average of the grapes in #Nizza has been 22.