Tue 17 Apr 2012
The Sovrana Barbera d’Alba 2009, a single-vineyard wine made by the estate of Beni di Batasiolo, is a “new style” Barbera, that is, it’s aged in small oak barrels — 12 to 15 months — instead of the traditional large old casks. The controversial process — sides have been drawn, insults hurled throughout Piedmont — imparts a different range of aromatics to the bouquet, and yet what a winsome and seductive range that is. Sovrana Barbera d’Alba 2009 offers an incredible perfume of dried cloves and sandalwood, lavender and potpourri and pomander, dried red currants and raspberries with a tinge of ripe mulberries and plums, layered with dusty graphite, all quite penetrating and evocative. In the mouth, matters take a more serious turn; the wine is intense and concentrated, displaying heaps of backbone and grit and vibrant acidity, along with dense, chewy, slightly grainy tannins and, finally, tightly-knit flavors of black cherry, red currants and tart mulberries. The finish brings in more earthiness and granite-like minerality with hints of iron and iodine. Give it some air and give it food; this is no smacky-mouth sipping wine but a beverage intended for a salt-strewn medium rare rib-eye steak, a veal chop grilled with rosemary and garlic or, as we tested it last night, with spaghetti with sausage meatballs, basil and peas, a Jamie Oliver recipe. 14 percent alcohol. Drink now through 2015 or ’16. Excellent. About $20.
Imported by Boisset America, St. Helena, Ca. A sample for review.