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The Society's Barbera d'Asti Superiore 2018

Red Wine from Italy - NW Italy (Piedmont)
This barbera is from the beautiful Cascinone vineyard in Piedmont. Bursting with ripe juicy red fruit this medium-bodied Italian red has had time in large old oak casks softening the tannins. This is a perfect pizza or pasta wine as many think that barbera is one of the grapes that most suits tomato sauces.
is no longer available
Code: IT29861

Wine characteristics

  • Red Wine
  • Full-bodied
  • Barbera
  • 14.5% Alcohol
  • Oak used but not v. noticeable
  • Now to 2023
  • 75cl
  • Cork, natural

North West Italy

The most renowned of the north western wine regions of Italy is Piemonte, and it is arguable that it is the most renowned of all Italy’s wine producing regions. Home to Barolo and Barbaresco, both made solely from the nebbiolo grape that performs particularly well on the slopes around the town of Alba, Piemonte produces some of the most famous, and increasingly sought after, wines in the World. These are wines that manage to harmonise power and finesse, harnessing the abundant tannins of nebbiolo to richness and concentration but, in good examples, never tipping over into heaviness. They have all the components necessary to make wines that can age for many years and achieve a silky elegance that reminds many of the finest Burgundies. The climate is largely continental with a little influence from the Mediterranean over the hills helping to maintain the long, warm autumns that nebbiolo needs to reach full ripeness on the limestone, clay and sandy soils not far from the Alps to the...
The most renowned of the north western wine regions of Italy is Piemonte, and it is arguable that it is the most renowned of all Italy’s wine producing regions. Home to Barolo and Barbaresco, both made solely from the nebbiolo grape that performs particularly well on the slopes around the town of Alba, Piemonte produces some of the most famous, and increasingly sought after, wines in the World. These are wines that manage to harmonise power and finesse, harnessing the abundant tannins of nebbiolo to richness and concentration but, in good examples, never tipping over into heaviness. They have all the components necessary to make wines that can age for many years and achieve a silky elegance that reminds many of the finest Burgundies. The climate is largely continental with a little influence from the Mediterranean over the hills helping to maintain the long, warm autumns that nebbiolo needs to reach full ripeness on the limestone, clay and sandy soils not far from the Alps to the north.

Besides nebbiolo the Piemontese also make wines from varieties that give them something to drink while the Barolos and Barbarescos mature gracefully in vat and bottle. Dolcetto (little sweet one in Italian) and barbera are the principal varieties, best known for producing fruity, lively reds to match the foods of the region but which are also now being taken more seriously and given the treatment that can turn them into something far more refined and structured through lower yields, better sites and oak ageing. Beside them growers persist with the lesser known but just as fascinating freisa, rouchet, grignolino, brachetto, pelaverga, bonarda, croatina and vespolina, and the white varieties cortese and arneis. Lastly, but these days not necessarily least, Moscato d’Asti and Brachetto d’Acqui are two wines that, when made well, can be a delight – frothy, sweet and fragrant bubblies of low alcohol and gentle fizz for enjoying with a range of desserts when lightness of touch is called for or for drinking in the garden on a warm Summers’ evening.

North of Piemonte is the Valle d’Aosta, the smallest wine region in Italy squeezed into a valley abutting the Alps almost in the shadow of Mont Blanc and reaching out to the French border. Here, on steep Alpine slopes, varieties like petite rouge, fumin, malvoisie and petite arvine sit alongside a few plantings of chardonnay and make characterful wines with a mountain freshness that goes delightfully with the local cuisine. Slightly to the east a scramble of small appellations such as Gattinara, Ghemme and Lessona produce perfumed and fine boned variations on nebbiolo, here known as spanna and sometimes blended with other local varieties, that were once more famous than Barolo.

In the north-east of the region on the border with Switzerland Valtellina Superiore also majors in nebbiolo of excellence, this time within the region of Lombardy. Head south from Valtellina Superiore to the hills around Lago d’Iseo and the méthode traditionelle sparkling wines of Franciacorta are made from pinot noir, chardonnay and pinot bianco grapes. Throughout Lombardy still wines are made from an assortment of varieties in several different appellations without any making a stand as the focal point of regional production. Perhaps the closest to achieving such recognition, besides the increasingly well-known Franciacorta, is Lugana just south of Lake Garda where turbiano (aka verdicchio) can produce some excellent, fragrant whites on a flat glacial plain where the lake acts as a moderator of temperatures, cooling the air with its breezes.

Liguria, famed more for its picturesque and exclusive Riviera resorts than its wines, runs in a strip from the French frontier to the border with Tuscany. Vineyards are small and fragmented due to the rugged terrain as the Ligurian Appenines finally curl and dip towards the sea and because of this Liguria’s production is tiny, if interesting. Vermentino, rossese, sangiovese and dolcetto are all grown but the most famous wine, oft seen by the tourists who consume most of it, is Cinque Terre made from bosco with either vermentino or albarola blended in.

Finally, the wines of Colli Piacentini, Oltrepo Pavese and Gutturnio close to the city of Piacenza on the edge of the Emilia-Romagna, if chosen carefully, can provide much pleasure with wines made from barbera, bonarda and a number of international varieties. However, much of the crop and the wines made here are destined for spumante producers or blenders based elsewhere.
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Araldica Vini Piemontesi

Araldica is the trading name of the successful co-operative at Castelvero in Italy’s north-western Piedmont region. It is one of the most important producers of Barbera d'Asti and Barbera d’Alba, and also makes excellent Gavi, Moscato and Prosecco. Founded in 1954 by a small group of growers, headed by their parish priest, the co-op has evolved greatly from its simple origins and now it owns the largest winery in Piedmont.

It currently has around 200 members, cultivating 900 hectares of vines throughout the region, but in particular its vineyards in the Monferrato hills are celebrated for the quality of their barbera. As the business expanded in the latter half of the 20th century, the company also acquired a modern, temperature-controlled bottling plant and warehouse, with a large capacity to store its barrels made from the region’s traditionally favoured Slovenian oak.

While Italy is generally known for its sun-baked vineyards, Piedmont is actually as far north as Bordeaux, and the nearby Alps make a marked impact on the temperatures which are much more in line with classic French regions. The hot summers are followed by very cold, often snowy winters, and the melting snow is an excellent marker of vineyard quality: the best vineyards have the fastest-melting snow because they receive the most sunshine.

The co-op members mostly grow native grape varieties such as barbera, nebbiolo and dolcetto for the reds and cortese, arneis and moscato for the whites. They also grow...
Araldica is the trading name of the successful co-operative at Castelvero in Italy’s north-western Piedmont region. It is one of the most important producers of Barbera d'Asti and Barbera d’Alba, and also makes excellent Gavi, Moscato and Prosecco. Founded in 1954 by a small group of growers, headed by their parish priest, the co-op has evolved greatly from its simple origins and now it owns the largest winery in Piedmont.

It currently has around 200 members, cultivating 900 hectares of vines throughout the region, but in particular its vineyards in the Monferrato hills are celebrated for the quality of their barbera. As the business expanded in the latter half of the 20th century, the company also acquired a modern, temperature-controlled bottling plant and warehouse, with a large capacity to store its barrels made from the region’s traditionally favoured Slovenian oak.

While Italy is generally known for its sun-baked vineyards, Piedmont is actually as far north as Bordeaux, and the nearby Alps make a marked impact on the temperatures which are much more in line with classic French regions. The hot summers are followed by very cold, often snowy winters, and the melting snow is an excellent marker of vineyard quality: the best vineyards have the fastest-melting snow because they receive the most sunshine.

The co-op members mostly grow native grape varieties such as barbera, nebbiolo and dolcetto for the reds and cortese, arneis and moscato for the whites. They also grow lesser-known varieties like brachetto and freisa, as well as international varieties such as merlot, cabernet sauvignon and chardonnay. Vineyards are spread across the major areas of the Langhe, Monferrato, Roero and Gavi. Generally speaking, barbera is grown in more exposed, sunny areas, because it is one of the more hardy and adaptable varieties, whereas more delicate varieties are planted in sheltered areas. That said, the co-op owns some of the best barbera sites in the region.

Additional premium estates in the region have been added to the company’s portfolio since 1999. First, the co-op bought the 60-hectare Il Cascinone estate in the Monferrato hills in central-eastern Piedmont, and completely revamped the vineyards and cellars here. This is the site of some of its best barbera plantings.

It subsequently purchased La Battistina, a 30-hectare south-facing vineyard, and one of the best sites in Gavi. The excellent old vines here have an average age of 35 years. The unique, well-draining, mineral-rich limestone and chalk soils here are perfect for the high acidity levels of cortese, the official Gavi grape, and Araldica further enhances its character by ageing 20% of the blend in oak. This superb wine is the source for The Society’s Gavi.

The co-op is ably run by Claudio Manera, whose wife Lella is also an oenologist working in the laboratory. The winery is based at Castelvero: its oldest part was built in 1954, but over the years the traditional cement tanks have been replaced with stainless-steel ones, as well as wooden barrels for careful oak maturation where appropriate. Here, Claudio leads a team of four other winemakers, and their creations continue to win awards for being excellent examples of their kind.
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