Scarpa via NYC

*Disclaimer: Snooth provided transportation and lodging so I could attend this conference.

Where is Scarpa Winery, you might ask? On this particular night, it was found at Peking Duck in Manhattan, but in reality, Scarpa is in Piedmont, Italy. When I traveled to NYC a couple weeks ago to attend the Snooth People’s Voice Awards blogger conference, we were able to try quite the line up from this winery, which is not currently imported to the US, but is looking to come to the market ASAP. The Scarpa tasting kicked the conference off with a bang, with almost a dozen more tastings to follow. Lucky for Scarpa, being first, our palates were fresh and ready to taste.

Our first flight.

Our first flight.

We tasted through the following line up, in this order:

  • Scarpa Barbera d’Asti, La Bogliona, 2007, $72
  • Scarpa Barbera d’Asti, La Bogliona, 2006, $52
  • Scarpa Barbera d’Asti, La Bogliona, 2005, $68
  • Scarpa Barbera d’Asti, La Bogliona, 1998, $58
  • Scarpa Barbera d’Asti, La Bogliona, 1997, $95
  • Scarpa Barolo, Tettimora, 2005, $74
  • Scarpa Barolo, Tettimora, 2004, $88
  • Scarpa Barolo, Tettimora, 2003, $98
  • Scarpa Barolo, Tettimora, 2001, $130
  • Scarpa Barolo, Tettimora, 1999, $105
  • Scarpa Barolo, Tettimora, 1987, $250
  • Scarpa Barolo, Le Coste di Monforte, 1978, $500

As you can see, we were able to taste through a couple different verticals, as well as even older vintages of both verticals. And yes, the last bottle really does retail for $500, which may be the most expensive wine I’ve ever tasted. I’d have to go back through the last 6+ years of notes to check, but I’m pretty positive that tops my list.

One interesting thing I learned about the winery involved the use of large oak tanks to age the wines, rather than the smaller barrels most wineries in the US favor.  Their idea of the life-span of a tank is also quite different than the American notion that barrels need to be replaced every 2-3 years. The Scarpa tanks are on average currently 12-13 years old and they will use them for at least 30 years. They also use no temperature control in the winery, just open the doors when the weather is nice!

My two favorites of the tasting were the 2005 Scarpa Barbera d’Asti, La Bogliona, and the 1978 Scarpa Barolo, Le Coste di Monforte.  When I’m looking for Italian wine, I often go for a Barbera d’Asti, just because I find it to be a delicious and more affordable alternative alternative to Barolo.

2005 Scarpa Barbera d’Asti, La Bogliona: Spice, herbs, orange zest, chocolate covered orange, crushed violets, black cherry, raspberry, fresh and vibrant, lots of acidity.

1978 Scarpa Barolo, Le Coste di Monforte: Mint chocolate, min, espresso, eucalyptus, coffee bean grounds, anise notes, fresh vanilla, red fruits, cranberry, bright fresh red fruit with excellent acidity. I was really surprised by how much life this wine has in it and can imagine  it could age for years to come given the acidity.

Overall, the strong line up of wines impressed me. In general, I could easily recommend all but the 1998 Barbera because I thought that particular glass had oxidized and so I didn’t get a fair impression of the wine. Here’s hoping Scarpa Winery will find its way to a wine shop near me soon.


California Barbera

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from My Wines Direct

**Update: My Wines Direct has provided a code for $10 off any order, good through 12/17.  Enter Wannabe10 at checkout.

Several weeks ago (and probably closer to 2 months ago) the folks from My Wines Direct contacted me and wanted to know if I’d like to try some of the wines they offer.  Sadly, they don’t ship to Virginia, so I had to have them shipped to my parents’ house, and then it took awhile to retrieve and drink them.  In my package was the 2003 Laughing Raven Reserva Barbera and the 2005 Fauna Sauvignon Blanc (Note: I reviewed the 2006 version of that wine nearly 2 years ago, and the 2005 isn’t in great shape anymore.)

The 2003 Laughing Raven Reserva Barbera hails from the Alexander Balley, clocked in at 14.5% alcohol by volume, had a real cork closure, and is available from My Wines Direct for $21.99.  It’s interesting to note that the wine is barrel aged for 36 months!!

On the nose I found spice, a little barnyard funk, berries, oak (not surprising given 36 months in barrel), boysenberry, eucalyptus, and mint.  On those nose I got orange peel, red berries, raspberries, cocoa powder, plums, and black cherry.  I also found hints of orange on the back palate.

Overall, I’d describe the wine as juicy and smooth with great structure.  We drank this on it’s own, but I think it would stand up well to a roast or a pork tenderloin. I’ve never had a Barbera from California before…it was really interesting, but toally different from any I’ve tried from Italy!

Great Value Italian Red Wine

The wine was a 2005 Siema Rosso Vino da Tavola by Lodali Winery from Piedmont. Sorry, I seem to have not taken a picture of this one. The wine clocked in at 12% alcohol by volume and cost me $8!!!! at The Winery in Old Town Alexandria. It’s a blend of 50% Barbera and 50% Dolcetto. I believe I took more notes on this wine than almost any other red wine I’ve had in recent memory. I’m still shocked at the layers and depth in this little $8 bottle of wine. What I should have done was go buy the rest that The Winery had because this was simply an amazing value.

The nose showed smoke, leather, a little barnyard, red berries, and red currants. It kept opening up as the night progressed and the smell was amazing. In the mouth the wine was red and earthy. I found red berries, red currants, earth, leather, a smoky characteristic, and more red fruit.

This was just an absolutely fabulous deep wine with layers of flavors. Everyone loved this one at our dinner party. I served it with homemade pizza, and in addition to everything else, the wine was wonderful with pizza! The smoky flavors were perfect for the cheese and pepperoni covering the pizza.

A Barbera Kind of Month

I picked up this bottle of 2006 Ruvei Marchesi di Barolo Barbera D’Alba at The Winery in Old Town, Alexandria for $18.99 minus a 10% case discount. It clocked in at 13% alcohol by volume and had one of those terrible plastic cork closures.

On the nose I found cherries and leather. The nose was sweet with spicy undertones. In the mouth I got flavors of dark cherry and spice. The wine was lighter in the mouth than other Barbera’s that I’ve had. It didn’t have as much going on as similarly priced bottles either.

It was a nice quaffing wine, but look for other bottles in the same price range that offer a better value.

I don’t know where I got this wine

Literally, I have no idea. I usually write these things down, but it had no price tag on it, which makes me think it didn’t come from The Winery. I think perhaps my brother gave it to me for Christmas, I know he gave me two bottles of wine, but I have several Italian reds of unknown origin, and I don’t remember which one was from him! See, I told you I’m losing my mind!

Anyway, the wine as a 2003 Camp’ du Rouss Coppo Barbera D’Asti. It looks like you can find it for about $18 online, it clocked in at 13.5% alcohol by volume, and had a real cork closure.

The wine had a deep and bitter nose. It showed a little barnyard funk, but it blew off quickly. A little fruit, but it comes and goes, raspberry, blackberry, and dark cherry. The nose was leathery, very leathery. In the mouth, I found red raspberry, a little spice, and leather on the back of the palate. Overall the wine was smooth, a tiny bit tannic at the finish, but well integrated. The flavors were dominated by the leather. For around $18 I think this is a good value for a Barbera.

Barbera d’Asti, how I Love Thee

*Disclaimer: I received this bottle in a sample pack from Domaine547.

I have very recently fallen in love with Barbera. We’ve had several bottles in the last month and they have all been gorgeous. It’s not a varietal I have a lot of experience with, but you can bet that I will be continuing to seek it out in the coming months. A nice, earthy red, with plenty of tasty fruit, it seems perfect of the pastas and stews we tend to eat in the winter. Jill of Domaine547 sent this bottle to me, not knowing (as I have yet to post those reviews) that this is quickly becoming a prized grape in our house!

The wine was a 2–5 Braida di Giacomo Bologna “Montebruna Barbera” d’Asti. It’s made of 100% Barbera grapes and is actually fermented in stainless steel for 2 weeks before being aged in oak for a year. The wine clocked in at 14% alcohol by volume, had a real cork closure, and can be purchased from Domaine547 for $24.99.

On the nose, there was a little bit of sour funk that quickly blew off to reveal an excellent wine. Showing through were aromas of leather, black cherries, and a slightly earthy note. At this point, I finally tasted the wine and my first note was “omg yum.” I found black cherry, which reminded me a bit of cherry Juicy Juice(which is still one of my favorite things, I am a kid at heart), but for adults. Plummy, with both red and black berries, the wine was smoky and had a lot of depth of flavor. This is one I would definitely buy at this price.

Thanks Domaine547, we really enjoyed this bottle!