Friday, October 30, 2009

2003 Andrea Oberto Barbera D'Alba Giada

My wife and I spent a few days in the Barolo area in Piedmont, Italy earlier this year. We both fell in love with the place and the wine of this region. I will be writing something on this trip soon. Ever since coming back I've had a thirst for not only Barolos and Barberescos, but also the "lesser" wines varieties of this wine region such as Barbera and Dolcetto.

The 2003 Andrea Oberto Barbera D'Alba Giada is an enjoyable and interesting wine. I was really looking foward to drinking this wine, and the light, yet bright purple colour of the wine looked promising.

The first sniff of the wine however was a shock. Alcohol. The most noticeable thing on the nose was almost a searing heat on the nose from the alcohol. 2003 was a hot vintage in Piedmont and I thought this might have been a wine that was going to be too alcoholic. I'd seen that the wine was 14.5% alcohol, not exactly low, but certainly not something that would normally disturb me. However the nose would have seemed to indicate an alcohol level a lot higher than 14.5%.

I left the wine for a while to breathe a bit, and when I came back the heat on the nose had died down a bit and I could actually smell something else! Cherry, plum, spice, and a bit of vanilla oak. I guess somewhat typical of a barbera, though also reminded me a bit of a good merlot nose.

On the palette, the initial main flavour was sour cherry, but then as the wine opened up over time, I noticed more the savoury, earthy flavour on the finish. Its good through the mid-palette but then is a tad short on the finish. Interestingly, there is a tiny bit of heat on the palette, but its not especially noticeable, and is certainly less than you would have expected based on the nose.

If ever there was a case for giving wine a chance to breathe this was it. It started off with a very alcoholic nose that made me question whether I'd enjoy it at all. After a couple of hours it evolved into a wine of real personality, with a nice balance between the fruity and the savoury. Very enjoyable!

Red

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