A Barbera bargain

Barbera d’Asti aged up to six years in wood!

While the Langhe area is renowned the world over for its wine, such quality often comes at a price, which is why Piedmont may not be the first region that springs to mind when searching for affordable bottles. Yet this oft-celebrated winemaking zone offers many great values. Among these are the wines of Castello di Montegrosso, where winemaker Graziano Motta produces some of our favorite Barbera d’Asti wines of recent years.

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Vintage Barbera gathering dust (and more!) beneath the Castello di Montegrosso in Montegrosso d'Asti.

Montegrosso’s Barbera d’Asti is named “Ruleja“, after the historic vineyard from which the fruit is sourced. This two hectare site has long been a provider for quality wines; Motta’s vines were planted over sixty years ago.

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One of the 50 hectoliter fiberglass tanks at the Montegrosso winery.

Motta vinifies his cru Barbera d’Asti Superiore in fiberglass tanks. Like his father before him, he believes that fiberglass dissipates heat rapidly enough to allow fermentation without temperature control. He does however have an advantage where others do not. The thick walls of his cantina, the same that form the base of the 900-year-old Castello di Montegrosso, help maintain a cool and constant cellar temperature.

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Barriques inside which Montegrosso's Barbera begins its aging process.

After fermentation and pressing, the wine is racked into barriques of various age where it will spend eight-to-twelve months. Graziano allows enough oxygen contact during this process to begin the stabilization so vital to his method of lengthy maturation in wood.

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Graziano Motta samples his Barbera d'Asti in the cellars of the Castello di Montegrosso.

The photograph above was taken in October, 2008. You’ll notice that the chalkboard at left identifies the wine being aged in that cask as Barbera d’Asti 2001. It is a rare winemaker that would allow Barbera to age for six years in large Slavonian oak. It is a confident and talented winemaker that would arrive at the stunning results offered by Graziano Motta.

2-montegrosso-barberasTaste the 2003 and 2001 vintages of Graziano Motta’s Barbera d’Asti this Friday at Vino from 5:30pm!

Barbera d’Asti 2003 Castello di Montegrosso
$27

Barbera d’Asti 2001 Castello di Montegrosso
$30

For more information call 212-725-6516 or email contact@vinosite.com.

All photographs by Jim Hutchinson, October 2008.

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