by Malcolm Jolley

Cossetti Vigna Vecchia Barbera d'Asti

The Barbera grape and the wines made from it in the Piedmont region of Northwestern Italy have a reputation for tartness. By custom, Barberas we made to be drunk young with rich rustic foods like braised meats (think osso bucco)  – the fat would balance out the acidity. These wines were meant to be rough and ready, while all viticultural refinement on the region’s wine growing estates was reserved for Barolos and Barberescos, made from the noble Nebbiolo grape. Then, in the 1980’s and 90’s, inspired by the tradition-flaunting Super-Tuscans to the south, some Piedmont producers began aging their Barberas in oak barrels, just to see what would happen…

The 2006 Cossetti Clemente & Figli Barbera d’Asti ‘La Vigna Vecchia’ (LCBO#  106278 – $15.95) is a delicious example of exactly what can happen when that Barbera sour red fruit and food friendly juiciness is laid in barrel for a year or so, then aged a little more. La Vigna Vecchia (or “The Old Vine”) retains its water-to-the-mouth vibrancy with sour cherry and red current, but these notes are overlaid with clove, cinnamon and and a touch of ginger for a spicy and complex finish. This is a remarkable wine for $15.95. The sort of red one could drink over a long roasted Sunday lunch, or a quick pan-fried Tuesday night dinner. It demands food, though I think anything with a good amount of animal fat, from cheese to roast beef to pork chops will be complimented pleasantly.

PS. Producer site, which has tech specs, etc. is: