2012 Barbera is Released

Estate grown barberaIt’s well known that the Shenandoah Valley Appellation is ground zero for great Barbera wines. Many of our neighbors have produced some stunning Barberas, and the area continues to receive more and more recognition for this variety.

We decided to plant Barbera vines in 2008 after getting tired of begging bottles of Barbera from our neighbors (or trading for our Aglianico). We planted 1.5 acres of vines and, now after 5 years, are excited to offer our first vintage of this great food wine. The official release was April 12, 2014.

Interesting side note – We lost a year of grapes due to the local Mule Deer’s attraction to young, tender Barbera leaves. Most of our other vines hardly suffered but the deer had a feast on the Barbera. Needless to say we triple-check our fencing for holes now.

At harvest we were excited to discover that our Barbera clone has an excellent sugar-to-acid balance when the fruit is at peak ripeness. With most Barbera clones the acid does not drop to acceptable levels until the sugar is very high.  We fermented in stainless steel then pressed the wine into a Flex Tank, a breathable polyethylene vessel. We like the Flex Tank because it provides slow oxidation of the wine to soften the tannins, much like an oak barrel, while keeping the fruit front and center. Finally, this vintage has been aging in the bottle since August, 2013.

But the real story is the taste – we think it’s a great Barbera! When Dr. Vincenzo Caggiano of Biba Restaurant in Sacramento, CA stopped by in February for a taste and tour, this is what he said: “Upfront fruit, great mouth feel, and a deft touch of acidity on the finish – I thought this was a Barbera from Piemonte, Italy. Wow, what a delicious wine.”

Our small Barbera vineyard gave us only 96 cases in 2012. Of course, as the vines grow in size, our crop will be larger. But, for now, there’s only a small amount to go around. If you’re interested in trying some of our new Barbera, please visit our tasting room during or after our Open House (spring is a great time of year for a trip out to Amador County). You can also contact us – we would be happy to ship you some. But hurry, this vintage will probably be sold out by summer!

See Dr. Caggiano’s full review of Amador Foothill Winery here: