Wine region / Country
Vigneti Massa Monleale 2010 (2 bottles)
Castello di Cigognola La Maga 2012 (2 bottles)
Accornero Barbera Monferrato Bricco Battista 2013 (2 bottles)
Normal retail price: £105.83
Club Discount Price: £89.97
You save: £15.86 (14.98%)
If you had to identify an Italian native grape in which tradition, territory, and versatility join in perfection, it would definitely be Barbera. The standard Italian countryside grape, for too long considered less than noble, over the years Barbera has become the benchmark for lovers of the native variety this side of the Alps. Indeed Barbera has the ability of being able to interpret every territory in an extremely varied and harmonious way, while still preserving that soft, gentle, caressing vein that makes it a summer and jovial wine but at the same time full and rich even for the most demanding palate.
As a wine used for blending, to soften harder and more robust vines, or the perfectly convivial sparkling wine, Barbera has become the grande dame of native varieties in Northwest Italy. Winemakers tied to this grape have consecrated it in all its potentials, with slower and prolonged macerations, and especially with aging in steel or even wood thus giving the modern Barbera a surprising personality, to say the least.
Today, the increasingly more accurate selection of grapes also gives Barberas grace and charm, and makes them sometimes full and opulent, but always brilliant and exceptionally drinkable. Robust in Alba, agile in Asti, austere in Monferrato, daring in Tortona and lively in Oltrepò: whatever it is, Barbera is still today an easy-to-love wine, incredibly easy to drink even when, just taken out of the most illustrious cellars after months and months of evolution, it has achieved unparalleled character and warmth.
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Red. Vigneti Massa Colli Tortonesi, Italy Uva autoctona a bacca rossa
Bottle: £11.18 club members / £13.64 non-members
Walter Massa's Barbera is masterful, and the Monleale is definitely the fullest and most classic expression of it. Of a thick and impenetrable ruby red colour, but with remarkable garnet nuances, Monleale amazes for the complexity and elegance of the bouquet. Not only red fruit and its jammy equivalent, but also sweet spice, cocoa, chocolate, eucalyptus, herbs with sage at the forefront.
The surprises keep coming when you taste it. The feeling of enchanting softness, which is typical of the grape variety, and its opulent austerity combine in perfect harmony with the most delightful freshness, reminiscent of the fragrant bouquet. The age should not fool you: Walter Massa's Barberas are suitable for long agings, and can keep their consistency and full body, which is fresh and minerally at the same time, for years.
The tannins, as per the Barbera tradition, are silky and caressing, and do not interfere at all with the fleshy succulence of the taste. Rather, it accompanies the aftertaste with a masterful elegance, whose fruity and spicy backdrop is just the prelude to an endless finish.
Cured cheeses / wild mushroom risotto
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Red. Castello di Cigognola Oltrepò Pavese, Italy Barbera
Bottle: £12.75 club members / £15.35 non-members
The slow maceration in steel and the long aging in oak produce an exemplary, rather than classic, Barbera. La Maga’s colours are the classic deep ruby with violet reflections, a sign of an uncontrollable youth yet which is destined to make history. The bouquet is a marvellous mixed bag: on first impact, red flowers, from rose-hips to violets, combine with jammy fruit of the forest and dry prune. But what amazes is the base of cocoa, herbs and sweet spices, which complete its bouquet of unrivalled elegance.
It does not disappoint on the palate. Brilliantly balanced, it is at the same time well-rounded and fragrant, opulent and subtly flavoursome. Juicy and pulpy, La Maga also reveals a gently polished tannin, which is at times imperceptible, but enough to produce sensations of enormous cleanliness and drinkability. Persistence is not affected at all, indeed it benefits from this superb elegance to produce a wine which is sharp, clean and unforgettable.
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Red. Accornero Barbera del Monferrato, Italy Barbera
Bottle: £21.06 club members / £23.93 non-members
Produced since 1989, so a pioneer of the best Barbera, Bricco Battista has a typical colour, intense ruby with slight purple shades. But it's on the nose that the prolonged ageing in Tonneaux pays off, releasing, besides persuasive notes of jammy red fruits and slightly withered red flowers, a beautiful spicy and toasted undertone, in which coffee and sweet tobacco prevail.
The taste, backed by a freshness and an almost surprising pungent richness of flavour and enormous consistency, is characterized by an opulent and juicy character, supported at the same time by a perfectly silky and polished tannin. Red fruits and jams, along with the balsamic texture, reappear at the end, leaving the taster with an exceptional feeling of cleanliness and smoothness, which means it's difficult to stop drinking it.
Lamb with fine herbs / roasted poultry
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