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 Editorial  Share this article     Summary of Wine Tasting column Events 
  Wine Tasting Issue 149, March 2016   
Contrasts of Primitivo and BarberaContrasts of Primitivo and Barbera Wines of the MonthWines of the Month  Contents 
Issue 148, February 2016 Follow DiWineTaste on Follow DiWineTaste on TwitterIssue 150, April 2016

Contrasts of Primitivo and Barbera

Apulia and Piedmont meet up in our tasting by contrast and fill our glasses with two great grapes capable of amazing and opposed expressions

 Apulia and Piedmont are two distant regions and very different one from each other. The former, with its remarkable length, represents the “heel of Italy”, it is one of the most sunny regions of the country and it is affected by the influence of seas from which it is surrounded. Piedmont is in the other side of Italy, in a very different territory, facing the Alps and without reaching any sea. Both regions have a remarkable richness in grapes and wines - no region in Italy makes an exception in this - each having its own wine glories, equally great and extraordinary. Such as Primitivo and Barbera, the two grapes protagonists of our tasting by contrast, two opposed viticultural and enological expressions to interpret a wine. Important protagonists in their respective lands, both have a long and important history in the wine scene of Italy, giving wines of quite distant characters.


 

 Primitivo is capable of giving wines of good and full body, frequently characterized by good roundness and a pretty high content in alcohol. Barbera is very different, mainly known for its typical acidity, a well appreciated quality by its lovers. The two varieties have a good wine making versatility, in particular Primitivo which is also used for making robust sweet wines by using dried grapes. For the sake of truth, it should be said Barbera too, although marginally, is used for the production of sweet wines. Barbera and Primitivo are produced both in inert containers and those made of wood, including the barrique, therefore proving - in both cases - a good versatility in wine making. They however are two grapes and wines distant one from each other, enological expressions even opposed, with differences that - we will see - can be found in every aspect of sensorial tasting.

 The history of Primitivo is very interesting and only in recent times they have been successful in tracing its origin. A grape found in Apulia since a very long time, Primitivo takes its name from the characteristic of ripening before other varieties, and for this reason it is also called primaticcio and primativo (”prima” means before in Italian). The research on Primitivo origin begins at the end of the 1960s when they suspected some analogies with Zinfandel, a variety considered at those times indigenous to the United States of America and widely cultivated in California. Research done on DNA allowed in fact to discover Primitivo and Zinfandel were the same grape, although it was not possible to understand their origin. Later research allowed them to discover this grape had a certain connection with Plavac Mali grape, found in Croatia, and they believed it was the same variety. Subsequent researches allowed them to discover Primitivo - and therefore Zinfandel - is analogous to Crljenak Kaštelanski, a red berried grape found in Dalmatia.

 For this reason, some Primitivo producers write Zinfandel in the labels of their wines in order to have better commercial chances in the United States of America. It is however Primitivo and, sometimes, wines produced with this grape and labeled as Zinfandel are also found in the Italian market. Variety of a strong character, it is capable of giving wines with a good body and color, a quality that, in past times, made this grape to be mainly used in wines of other areas in order to give them more body and color. Primitivo is cultivated in many areas of Apulia and having in Manduria - in province of Taranto - its most famous and best territory and here it is also produced as a sweet style. This variety is also found, although marginally if compared to Apulia, in Campania and Abruzzo regions. Primitivo, which wines usually have a quite high alcohol content, is mainly vinified in cask, a technique giving more roundness to the wine while smoothing the intensity of tannins.

 Barbera is the most cultivated variety of Piedmont and it is one of the most common grapes in Italy as it is also found in other regions of the country. Barbera, along with Sangiovese and Montepulciano, is in fact among the most cultivated varieties in Italy and it is used in countless wines, both alone and blended to other grapes. It is believed Barbera originated from the Monferrato area, in Piedmont, and present in this territory since a very long time. Barbera has been a quite valued and appreciated grape of the past, until 1986 when it became sadly famous because of the well known and irresponsible Italian methanol scandal. This regrettable and deplorable event caused the intoxication of many people, with irreversible effects in many cases, including death. It will take all the obstinacy and determination of respectable and proud producers to give back to Barbera its dignity and prestige, in particular Giacomo Bologna, also known as Braida. It will in fact be this famous producer from Rocchetta Tanaro, in province of Asti, to commit himself to his Barbera and making of it one of the most successful and great grapes of Italy known everywhere in the world.


Color and
transparency of Barbera d'Asti
Color and transparency of Barbera d'Asti

 Barbera, besides being widely cultivated in Piedmont and in many regions of Italy, is also cultivated in other viticultural areas of the world, such as California and Argentina. A grape having a strong acidity, Barbera it is not particularly rich in polyphenols, making wines of crisp agreeableness and moderate astringency. The Piedmontese red grape proved with time interesting wine making versatility, as well as proving to be well suited for the production of different styles, including pleasing slightly sparkling wines. Barbera is now very successful in the world, becoming one of the grapes part of the Olympus of Bacchus during the 1990s, when drastic viticultural and wine making changes took place all over Italy. These changes, characterized by the research for quality and therefore the experimentation of new and modern wine making techniques, have allowed Barbera to be reevaluated even in the vinification in cask. Widely found in Piedmont, Barbera is a grape present in many denomitations of the region and, in particular, Asti and Nizza Monferrato, today recognized as Denominazione d'Origine Controllata e Garantita areas. (Denomination of Controlled and Guaranteed Origin)

 Our tasting by contrast will examine a Primitivo di Manduria and a Barbera d'Asti. These two wines will let us understand their remarkable differences, mainly expressed by the roundness and astringency in the first case, finesse and crispness in the second. Barbera is cultivated in many areas of Piedmont and each of them gives this grape characteristics strongly affected by soil and territory. As opposed to Barbera wines from other areas of Piedmont, the one produced in Asti is in fact characterized by a higher finesse and elegance. Something completely different, for example, in those made in Alba having a different composition of soil and characteristics of the territory, Barbera wines here are more robust and full bodied. We will taste two wines having no more than three year of aging and vinified in cask, therefore ensuring a good balance between tertiary qualities and characteristics of the grapes. Wines will be served in two tasting glasses at a temperature of 18 °C (65 °F).

 Let's pour the two wines in their respective tasting glasses and start the first part, the one about appearance evaluation. The first wine we will observe is Primitivo di Manduria. Let's tilt the glass over a white surface - a napkin or a sheet of paper will be enough - in order to assess the color at the base. We will observe an intense ruby red color, sometimes deep, and a low transparency: it will in fact be quite difficult to see an object behind the glass. Nuances of the color, observed at the edge towards the opening of the glass, will show an intense ruby red hue. Let's now pass to the evaluation of Barbera d'Asti. The color of this wine shows to the eyes of the taster an intense and brilliant ruby red color, while revealing a higher transparency than Primitivo di Manduria. Nuance of Barbera d'Asti confirms a brilliant ruby red hue. Let's now put the tilted glasses close one to each other and compare both wines in order to understand differences in color and transparency.

 Olfactory profiles of Primitivo and Barbera mainly express aromas of wild berries. The famous grape from Apulia mainly expresses aromas recalling black berried berries, whereas Barbera is more directly associated to red berries. In both grapes will also be perceived aromas recalling flowers, in particular violet. In Primitivo will be mainly perceived aromas of black cherry, plum and blackberry, whereas in Barbera will be cherry, raspberry and plum, also blackberry will be perceived sometimes. Both grapes offer a good versatility in the vinification in wood containers, a technique enriching the olfactory profiles of both wines with a higher complexity. Primitivo and Barbera, according to viticultural and wine making techniques, are capable of making wines with a good longevity and excellent chances of evolution. With time, these two varieties - provided they are kept in very good conditions - can in fact enrich their aromas with very complex sensations, offering an excellent case study to the nose of the taster.

 The first wine of which we will evaluate the olfactory profile is Barbera d'Asti. Let's hold the glass in vertical position and without swirling, then proceed with the first smell. To the nose are perceived aromas of cherry, raspberry and plum, followed by violet. Let's now swirl the glass in order to favor the development of aromas and, by tilting it, do a second smell. It will be perceived aromas recalling blackberry as well as sensations associated to wood, such as vanilla. Let's now pass to the evaluation of the opening of Primitivo di Manduria. The nose is evidently different and here it is perceived black cherry, plum and blackberry followed by violet, sometimes ever dried. After having swirled the glass, Primitivo completes its olfactory profile with blueberry, carob and sensations given by wood. Sometimes, in this wine, sensations of fruit can also get a character recalling jams. Let's now compare the two wines: in Primitivo we will notice a fuller and rounder olfactory profile than Barbera, in which will be perceived a more lively and crisp character.

 The gustatory analysis of the two wines let us continue the identification of differences in Primitivo di Manduria and Barbera d'Asti. Let's start this phase of the tasting by evaluating the Piedmontese wine. We will take a sip of Barbera d'Asti: the attack of this wine reveals the crisp character of this grape giving to the taste an evident acidic component, however very elegant. It should also be noticed the astringency in this wine, perceptible however not aggressive. In the mouth are perceived flavors of cherry, plum and raspberry, as well as the evident warm sensation of alcohol. The attack of Primitivo di Manduria is rounder and smoother than Barbera d'Asti, in which is also perceived a stronger astringency of tannins and a fuller body. In the wine from Apulia is also perceived a stronger effect of the alcohol, a characteristic also increasing the perception of roundness. The correspondence to the nose is very good: the perception of black cherry, blackberry and plum are dominant.

 The ending part of our tasting is about the final sensations perceived in the mouth and nose after having swallowed the wines. The finish of Barbera d'Asti has a good persistence, leaving in the mouth its typical flavors of fruits: in particular cherry, raspberry and blueberry. Crispness of acidity continues to be well perceived in the mouth after having swallowed the wine, leaving a sensation of pleasing elegance. The finish of Primitivo di Manduria is quite different from Barbera, also in this case having a good persistence. The sensation left in the mouth by the wine from Apulia is fuller and rounder, in which can also be perceived the burning effect of alcohol. It will also be perceived the typical flavors of this variety, in particular blackberry, plum and black cherry. According to a sensorial point of view, Primitivo and Barbera are two distant varieties, very different enological expressions however both capable of making wines of extraordinary and high quality.

 






 Editorial  Share this article     Summary of Wine Tasting column Events 
  Wine Tasting Issue 149, March 2016   
Contrasts of Primitivo and BarberaContrasts of Primitivo and Barbera Wines of the MonthWines of the Month  Contents 
Issue 148, February 2016 Follow DiWineTaste on Follow DiWineTaste on TwitterIssue 150, April 2016

Wines of the Month


 

Score legend

Fair    Pretty Good    Good
Very Good    Excellent
Wine that excels in its category Wine that excels in its category
Good value wine Good value wine
Prices are to be considered as indicative. Prices may vary according to the country
or the shop where wines are bought




Trentino Nosiola Bottega Vinai 2014, Cavit (Trentino, Italy)
Trentino Nosiola Bottega Vinai 2014
Cavit (Trentino, Italy)
Nosiola
Price: € 6.50 Score:

Intense greenish yellow and nuances of greenish yellow.
Intense, clean and pleasing, starts with hints of green apple, pear and broom followed by aromas of peach, hazelnut, hawthorn and pineapple.
Crisp attack and however balanced by alcohol, good body, intense flavors, agreeable.
Persistent finish with flavors of green apple, pear and peach.
Aged in steel tanks.
Vegetable and crustacean appetizers, Risotto with fish, Sauteed crustaceans



Trentino Superiore Marzemino d'Isera Vaioni 2013, Cavit (Trentino, Italy)
Trentino Superiore Marzemino d'Isera Vaioni 2013
Cavit (Trentino, Italy)
Marzemino
Price: € 13.50 Score:

Intense ruby red and nuances of ruby red, little transparency.
Intense, clean, pleasing and refined, starts with hints of black cherry, violet and blueberry followed by aromas of raspberry, pomegranate, plum, cyclamen, geranium, blackberry and pink pepper.
Properly tannic attack and however balanced by alcohol, good body, intense flavors, pleasing crispness.
Persistent finish with flavors of black cherry, blueberry and raspberry.
6 months in steel tanks, 4 months in bottle.
Cold cuts, Stuffed pasta with meat, Stewed meat with mushrooms, Cheese



Valdobbiadene Superiore di Cartizze 2014, Merotto (Veneto, Italy)
Valdobbiadene Superiore di Cartizze 2014
Merotto (Veneto, Italy)
Glera
Price: € 18.00 Score:

Intense greenish yellow and nuances of greenish yellow, very transparent, fine and persistent perlage.
Intense, clean, pleasing and refined, starts with hints of apple, peach and wistaria followed by aromas of pear, jasmine, broom, tangerine, plum and pineapple.
Effervescent attack and pleasing sweetness, however balanced by alcohol, good body, intense flavors, pleasing crispness.
Persistent finish with flavors of apple, peach and pineapple.
Produced with the Charmat method.
Aperitifs, Crustacean appetizers, Sauteed crustaceans, Risotto with vegetables



Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore Brut Rive Col di San Martino Cuvée del Fondatore Graziano Merotto 2014, Merotto (Veneto, Italy)
Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore Brut Rive Col di San Martino Cuvée del Fondatore Graziano Merotto 2014
Merotto (Veneto, Italy)
Glera
Price: € 17.00 Score: Wine that excels in its category

Intense greenish yellow and nuances of greenish yellow, very transparent, fine and persistent perlage.
Intense, clean, pleasing, refined and elegant, starts with hints of pear, wistaria and apple followed by aromas of peach, broom, hawthorn, tangerine, pineapple, plum and mineral.
Effervescent and crisp attack, however balanced by alcohol, good body, intense flavors, agreeable.
Persistent finish with flavors of pear, apple and peach.
Fermented in closed tank for 50 days.
Fish and crustacean appetizers, Sauteed crustaceans, Pasta and risotto with crustaceans



Friuli Isonzo Friulano 2014, Borgo San Daniele (Friuli Venezia Giulia, Italy)
Friuli Isonzo Friulano 2014
Borgo San Daniele (Friuli Venezia Giulia, Italy)
Friulano
Price: € 18.00 Score:

Brilliant straw yellow and nuances of straw yellow, very transparent.
Intense, clean, pleasing and refined, starts with hints of apple, plum and hawthorn followed by aromas of pear, peach, pineapple, almond, broom and jasmine.
Crisp attack and however balanced by alcohol, good body, intense flavors, agreeable.
Persistent finish with flavors of apple, plum and almond.
Aged in steel tanks.
Pasta and risotto with fish and crustaceans, Sauteed white meat, Fried fish



Arbis Blanc 2013, Borgo San Daniele (Friuli Venezia Giulia, Italy)
Arbis Blanc 2013
Borgo San Daniele (Friuli Venezia Giulia, Italy)
Sauvignon Blanc (40%), Friulano (20%), Chardonnay (20%), Pinot Bianco (20%)
Price: € 22.00 Score:

Brilliant straw yellow and nuances of straw yellow, very transparent.
Intense, clean, pleasing and refined, starts with hints of apple, plum and banana followed by aromas of ripe peach, pear, elder, grapefruit, hawthorn, mineral and hints of vanilla.
Crisp attack and however balanced by alcohol, good body, intense flavors, pleasing roundness.
Persistent finish with flavors of apple, plum and pear.
Aged in cask.
Fish soups, Pasta and risotto with fish and crustaceans, Broiled fish



Collio Bianco Frontiere Sant'Helena 2013, Fantinel (Friuli Venezia Giulia, Italy)
Collio Bianco Frontiere Sant'Helena 2013
Fantinel (Friuli Venezia Giulia, Italy)
Tocai Friulano (50%), Pinot Bianco (30%), Chardonnay (20%)
Price: € 24.00 Score:

Intense straw yellow and nuances of straw yellow, very transparent.
Intense, clean, pleasing and refined, starts with hints of apple, citrus fruits and jasmine followed by aromas of pear, peach, hawthorn, banana, honey, almond, mineral and hints of vanilla.
Crisp attack and however balanced by alcohol, good body, intense flavors, pleasing roundness.
Persistent finish with flavors of apple, plum and banana.
Part of the wine ferments in cask.
Stuffed pasta with fish, Roasted white meat, Roasted fish, Mushroom soups



Collio Rosso Venko Sant'Helena 2009, Fantinel (Friuli Venezia Giulia, Italy)
Collio Rosso Venko Sant'Helena 2009
Fantinel (Friuli Venezia Giulia, Italy)
Merlot (50%), Cabernet Franc (40%), Pinot Nero (10%)
Price: € 24.00 Score: Wine that excels in its category

Deep ruby red and nuances of garnet red, little transparency.
Intense, clean, pleasing, refined and elegant, starts with hints of plum, black currant and black cherry followed by aromas of dried violet, blueberry, vanilla, tobacco, iris, chocolate, pink pepper, mace and menthol.
Properly tannic attack and however balanced by alcohol, good body, intense flavors, pleasing roundness.
Persistent finish with flavors of plum, black currant and black cherry.
24 months in cask.
Roasted meat, Broiled meat and barbecue, Stewed and braised meat with mushrooms, Hard cheese



Colli Orientali del Friuli Refosco dal Peduncolo Rosso 2011, La Roncaia (Friuli Venezia Giulia, Italy)
Colli Orientali del Friuli Refosco dal Peduncolo Rosso 2011
La Roncaia (Friuli Venezia Giulia, Italy)
Refosco dal Peduncolo Rosso
Price: € 35.00 Score: Wine that excels in its category

Intense ruby red and nuances of ruby red, little transparency.
Intense, clean, pleasing, refined and elegant, starts with hints of black cherry, plum and black currant followed by aromas of blueberry, violet, vanilla, raspberry, tobacco, chocolate, mace, pink pepper and eucalyptus.
Properly tannic attack and however balanced by alcohol, good body, intense flavors, pleasing roundness.
Persistent finish with flavors of black cherry, plum and black currant.
18 months in barrique, 6 months in bottle.
Roasted meat, Broiled meat and barbecue, Stewed and braised meat with mushrooms, Hard cheese



Colli Orientali del Friuli Picolit 2011, La Roncaia (Friuli Venezia Giulia, Italy)
Colli Orientali del Friuli Picolit 2011
La Roncaia (Friuli Venezia Giulia, Italy)
Picolit
Price: € 40.00 - 375ml Score: Wine that excels in its category

Brilliant amber yellow and nuances of amber yellow, transparent.
Intense, clean, pleasing, refined and elegant, starts with hints of raisin, dried apricot and acacia honey followed by aromas of quince jam, date, peach jam, candied fruits, citrus fruit peel, chamomile, vanilla, lavender and nail polish.
Sweet and round attack, however balanced by alcohol, good body, intense flavors, pleasing crispness.
Persistent finish with flavors of raisin, dried apricot and acacia honey.
12 months in barrique, 6 months in bottle.
Dried fruit and jam tarts, Hard cheese



Villa Gresti 2010, Tenuta San Leonardo (Trentino, Italy)
Villa Gresti 2010
Tenuta San Leonardo (Trentino, Italy)
Merlot (90%), Carmenère (10%)
Price: € 28.00 Score:

Intense ruby red and nuances of garnet red, little transparency.
Intense, clean, pleasing, refined and elegant, starts with hints of black currant, black cherry and plum followed by aromas of violet, blueberry, iris, raspberry, vanilla, tobacco, chocolate, face powder, pink pepper, cigar box and eucalyptus.
Properly tannic attack and however balanced by alcohol, full body, intense flavors, pleasing roundness.
Very persistent finish with long flavors of black currant, black cherry and plum.
14 months in barrique, 12 months in bottle.
Game, Roasted meat, Stewed and braised meat, Hard cheese



San Leonardo 2010, Tenuta San Leonardo (Trentino, Italy)
San Leonardo 2010
Tenuta San Leonardo (Trentino, Italy)
Cabernet Sauvignon (60%), Carménère (20%), Cabernet Franc (10%), Merlot (10%)
Price: € 55.00 Score:

Intense ruby red and nuances of garnet red, little transparency.
Intense, clean, pleasing, refined and elegant, starts with hints of black currant, black cherry and violet followed by aromas of blueberry, plum, iris, vanilla, cocoa, tobacco, coffee, mace, pink pepper, green bell pepper, cigar box, clove and eucalyptus.
Tannic attack and however balanced by alcohol, full body, intense flavors, agreeable.
Very persistent finish with long flavors of black currant, black cherry and blueberry.
24 months in barrique, 12 months in bottle.
Game, Roasted meat, Stewed and braised meat, Hard cheese









 Editorial  Share this article     Summary of Wine Tasting column Events 
  Wine Tasting Issue 149, March 2016   
Contrasts of Primitivo and BarberaContrasts of Primitivo and Barbera Wines of the MonthWines of the Month  Contents 
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