VARIETAL/VINEYARD: Our original Barbera vineyard is CVT 171 from Piemonte, planted on a low-vigor rootstock called 420-A. Our young vines include clone 84, which brings great depth to the wine. Barbera generally ripens in late September here in Dry Creek. We routinely reduce the crop by 35% to 50% to facilitate more even ripening and concentration. We farm all our vineyards organically.
VINTAGE/HARVEST: Even though 2021 could be considered another drought year, the vintage benefited from winter 2020 rains that carried us through a fairly moderate growing season. Though the core winter months had relatively low rainfall, they were cold enough to keep us on track for a typical late March to early April bud-break. This gave way to a warm, dry spring with the exception of some strong winds that occurred during flowering, which may have played some role in lowering the yields. These low yields and warm September days really helped us achieve the ripeness and intensity of aromatics we are looking for in Barbera.
WINEMAKING: Our approach to making Barbera is straightforward. The grapes were de-stemmed and pumped through a peristaltic pump into both open and closed stainless steel and concrete tanks. After a five-day cold soak, the fermentation started naturally with indigenous yeasts. The wine was pressed at dryness. We age our Barbera for 15 months in French Burgundy barrels, about 30% new. Using new barrels for aging Barbera provides texture which balances out the natural acidity.
STYLE/DESCRIPTION: Barbera does exceptionally well here in Dry Creek Valley, producing dark and exotically fruity wines that have outstanding acidity. The 2021 Barbera marks the first vintage where we were able to incorporate the fruit from some younger vines and new clones we planted in 2018. These no doubt add a level of vibrancy and youthfulness to the darker, more structured Barbera that comes from our older block. While this wine shows great now, it will improve over the next 1 to 2 years.