2009 Pelissero Barbera d'Alba Tulin
Giorgio and I spent a rainy Sunday evening a few weeks ago having a quiet dinner out on PRIMA’s Loggia and tasting through his incredible lineup of wines from his estate high on the hill in Treiso. There is no doubt, I came away thinking, that Giorgio’s cellar is producing some of the most distinctive and compelling wines in all of Barbaresco at the moment. His wines are dark, savory and broadly structured- truly modern masterpieces. But the wine I always find to be one of his most interesting is also his least expensive- an extremely tasty, extremely nuanced Barbera made, in part, from 50-year old vines grown near the cantina. Barbera, as a grape, is normally packed with fruit and high in acidity, but can lack balancing tannin, especially in riper spots. That is definitely not the case in this beautifully made, immaculately balanced wine that has a great ‘front’ of dark plums, blueberries, cinnamon stick and wild fennel followed by a plush ‘middle’ of plum skins, chocolate powder and baking spice before a grand ‘finish’ of sweet mint chocolate tannin that blankets the wine’s food-friendly acidity. It’s not a ‘classic’ Barbera per se. It’s actually better than that. With Chef Peter’s short rib ravioli, it was magic. And while Giorgio’s stupendous Barbarescos were wonderful with the braised beef that followed, it was that Barbera for $25 that really resonated. So I bought some. And I expect you might buy a little too. Your next red sauced pasta, homemade burgers or steak and potatoes will thank you!