Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Tasted at Vinitaly: Roberto Ferraris's Barbera

I have known Roberto Ferraris for a number of years, and can still remember the first time I tasted Nobbio, his unoaked Barbera D'Asti -- the only Barbera he bottled at the time: We were in his cellar, and it drew aside a curtain, as it were, revealing a depth and complexity I hadn't known Barbera capable of. Needless to say, it set a standard that few other Barbere were able to match then, and even with the terrific improvements in cellar and vineyard technique that have swept the Astigiano over the past decade, Roberto's Nobbio continues to be a hard act to follow.

For that matter, I also liked the basic Barbera he has introduced since then:

Roberto Ferraris Barbera D'Asti 2004
Lot 10705
Deep ruby. The bouquet is fairly deft, with delicate red berry fruit balanced by pleasing acidity. Pleasing to sniff. On the palate it's rich, with bright lively red berry fruit supported by deft acidity that flows into a clean berry fruit finish. Quite fresh, and will drink nicely with grilled meats or light stews. Expect it to go quickly.
2 stars

Roberto Ferraris Barbera D'Asti Nobbio 2004
Lot 10905
Deep black almandine ruby with cherry ruby rim. The bouquet is deft, and fairly rich, with powerful red berry fruit supported by strong peppery spice from the grapes that opens quite nicely and has a lot to say. On the palate it's full, with powerful cherry and forest berry fruit supported by warm peppery spice that flows into a clean rich berry fruit finish. Great depth, and it will drink quite well with succulent roasts or rich stews; though one could drink it tomorrow, it will profit from another 6-12 months in bottle. I'd give it the time it needs.

Roberto Ferraris La Cricca Barbera D'Asti Superiore 2003
Lot 20405
Deep pigeon blood ruby with cherry rim. The bouquet is powerful, and frankly oaky, with a fair volume of fruit and mentholated spice under the veneer. Nice, but you do have to like a significant oaky component in the wine. On the palate it's full and soft, with intense cherry plum fruit supported by warmth and ample soft tannins that have cedary overtones and flow into a long warm finish. Good, if you like the style, and Roberto did compensate for the summer heat well, though there is a degree of overripe softness to it. I've always preferred Nobbio to La Cricca, and this is especially true with these vintages.
2 stars.

Contact Info:
Via Dogliano, 33 14041 AGLIANO TERME (Asti) - Italia
Tel. 0141 954234 - Fax 0141 954234
az.ferraris AT

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