Summer has hit us. Red wine is the last thing I want to drink. Beer would fare better. But something needs to drown out the AC on eco-mode. This Thirsty Thursday turns to that old favorite: Barbera.
Italy’s third most-planted red grape, this prolific paragon of the Piedmontese people has filled many glasses, regions, and styles (including a scandal of added methanol or “coloring” nebbiolo with it).
Mazzoni is the pet project of the Franceschi (Tuscan vintners) and the Terlato (American importers) families. Neither comes from the Piedmonte, but they sourced grapes to their facility in Tuscany for today’s wine. The vintage is 2009.
Aromas: Very pure, almost distilled, moderate aromas of candied black cherry -like Red Jolly Ranchers- blood orange, dried rose petals, and a bit of burnt campfire wood play about.
Palate: This feels dry but fruity. Acids are bright: tightening the palate like a shiny wrench. Tannins are mild. Alcohol is mildly medium. The body hovers below medium. The texture is equally silken.
Flavors: Bouncy yet brooding flavors jostle between tart blood orange and raspberry to dried cherry and raisin (likely, multiple sites or passes). Then a thin knife of hand-whittled, dry ceder wood slices the fruit. The length unexpectedly lasts a medium plus length.
Conclusions: Mazzoni’s Barbera demands little. It may be a bit confected and lack a rustic origin myth, but its completely quaffable alone, even in the heat of summer. The lack of tannins and mouth-dripping acidity accomplish this. If your eating tomato-based anything, mild cheeses, beet salad, or simply grilled chicken, pork, or Quorn (yes, I went there), it will work them. Well done (3 of 5) and under $15.