2006 Barbera d'Alba MonBirone DOC
Barbera •Barbera d'Alba, Monbirone DOC
What We Say
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Mission Codename: Our Lady of MonBirone
Operative: Agent White
Objective: Acquire an exclusive allocation of a Barbera d’Alba for our operatives
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Monchiere Carbone
Wine Subject: 2006 Barbera d’Alba MonBirone DOC
Winemaker: Francesco Carbone
Barbera, the third most planted varietal (after Sangiovese and Montepulciano) in Italy finds its most classic expression in the Piedmont and specifically in Asti and the much smaller Alba region. The best of Barbera is, like this wine, the Barbera d’Alba which can match any Barolo or Barbaresco in terms of overall quality. Barbera d’Alba is characteristically rich and full of flavor and makes up just a small percentage of the total production of the region.The finest Barbera is grown in specific single vineyard crus surrounding those communes. Italian Barbera comes in two basic forms, the tradizione, a more rustic old-world style and newer more fruit forward styles similar to the Barbera that is grown in California. Sadly, Barbera is often passed up as a lesser varietal but when done well, these wines show their classic Italian heritage and character.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Dark and dense purple garnet with ruby streaks through its clear but deep heart. Ruby along the edges and when swirled, evenly spaced legs of random speeds descend to the wine below.
Smell – Both rich and bright, with vibrant aromas of tart red and black berries, cherry and tart plum are layered over hot spice, cocoa and mocha notes. Toasted and smokey oak, spice, balsam and green herbs and hints of earth round out the complex nose.
Feel – Smooth and dry, this full-bodied classic has rustic textured tannins and lively acidity that hits mid palate. Well developed but bright, with a touch of spice, sweet minerality and tartness.
Taste – Rich and smooth, with well balanced and fruit forward flavors of tart blackberry, red plum and ripe cherry integrates with toasted smokey oak, mocha coffee and cocoa. Hints of vanilla toast, soft spice, and soft minerality lingers through to the finish.
Finish -Lingering long with the rich dark fruit fading gently as the textured tannin, acidity and mineral structure holds on just a bit longer.
Conclusion – The 2006 Monchiere Carbone Barbera d’Alba MonBirone DOC is a delicious traditional Barbera that hows that this generally youthful varietal can have both power and complexity to spare. Beautifully dark, rich and complex on the nose, rustic textured on the palate and lively in its flavors this wine is perfect for your fall or winter stews and game meats. Be sure to let this wine breathe and open up to reveal all of its unique aromas and flavors. Drink now or cellar for up to 5 years.
WINEMAKER INTEL BRIEFING DOSSIER
SUBJECT: Francesco Carbone
WINE EDUCATION: Alba Piedmonte
WINE JOB BRIEF: Wine Maker for Monchiero Carbone
WINEMAKING PHILOSOPHY: Respect the full extent of nature when you are in the vineyard.
WINEMAKER QUOTE: Barbera is a wine that can age but is also very satisfying when it is young.
FIRST COMMERCIAL WINE RELEASE: 1995 Monbrione and a Roero Nebbiolo.
AGENT WHITE: Greetings, Francesco. We are thrilled to be showing your 2006 Barbera d’Alba MonBirone DOC today. Thanks so much for taking some time to answer questions for our Operatives today.
FRANCESCO: Thank you so much. It is a pleasure talking with you from Italy. I am glad you enjoyed my wine and I am pleased to share it with your operatives.
WHITE: Was there a specific experience in your life that inspired your love of wine?
FRANCESCO: One of my fondest memories was when my Grandfather took me into the family vineyard and taught me how to prune the vines. I realized at that point I wanted to make my life’s work taking care of the vineyard and making best wine possible.
WHITE: What wine or winemaker has most influenced your winemaking style?
FRANCESCO: My Father gave me a glass of Orvieto.
WHITE: Who do you make wine for?
FRANCESCO: I make wine for myself and my family. Because I put so much of my heart and soul into the wine, the people who drink my wine really enjoy it. They can taste the passion.
WHITE: Please tell me a little bit about the wine we are featuring today.
FRANCESCO: The grapes have a unique quality the gives the wine fantastic freshness form the acidity, lots of spice on the palate and full body on the finish.
WHITE: What is your favorite pairing with today’s wine?
FRANCESCO: Rare (Bloody) Florentine Steak.
WHITE: In your opinion, what makes the Piedmont and Alba in particular so special?
FRANCESCO: The soil and the hills create an incredible micro-climate that allows the grapes to develop such complexity.
WHITE: What is occupying your time at the winery these days?
FRANCESCO: Always trying to create a unique bouquet.
WHITE: How would you recommend people approach your wines and wine in general?
FRANCESCO: If you drink my wines, it will transport you to the hill of Piedmont. So, take a moment you enjoy where wine comes from and taste a little bit of Italy in every sip.
WHITE: Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
FRANCESCO: When drinking this wine, know you are drinking one of the best Barberas in Piedmont.
WHITE: Thank you so much for your time. We learned a lot about you – and your wine. Keep up the great work, we are big fans!
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of Filippo Gallino just north of Alba can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
Awards & Accolades:
Monbirone is the hill that runs across the southern border of the narrow valley in which the town of Canale lies. The Monbirone Barbera d’Alba is a blend of Nebbiolo and Barbera. Grown on a compact calcareous soil in a temperate microclimate. The grapes are picked in late October and aged in barriques. Monbirone has considerable structure, pairing best with meaty main courses. “Very clean and stylishly elegant” – Gambero Rosso’s Vini d’Italia
About This Wine:
Colour: deep, with intense shades of ruby-red enhanced by purplish highlights.
Nose: excellent, layered and complex intensity and finesse, with aromas ranging from cocoa through toasted coffee to spices (juniper berries) and hints of cherry and plum.
Taste: great power showing on entry, with the alcohol that ensures initial smoothness immediately balanced by an acidity which softens the fruity pulp. The finish is long and fresh, giving a nice balance between the fruit and wood.
MonBirone is the most celebrated hill in Canale, as it is home to the sanctuary dedicated to Our Lady of MonBirone, to whom the people of the town are very devoted.
Our vineyards lie around the top of the hill facing east, south and west, enabling us to mitigate any variations in temperature which may occur between different vintages, and obtain a consistent standard of quality.
The roots of our family’s wine-growing tradition are to be found in these vineyards, as it was here on this very hill, as long ago as 1918, where Tilde Valente purchased her first small plot, and planted the barbera vine which had already provided excellent results on its loamy-limy soil for centuries.
And it is here that our very best barbera grapes are still grown to make Barbera d’Alba MonBirone.
The harvest generally takes place during the first two weeks of October, and crushing is then followed by a traditional-style alcoholic fermentation lasting 15/20 days. After drawing off, the wine is transferred into small 225-litre barrels for the malolactic fermentation and a period of ageing that can last between 15 and 20 months. After bottling, the wine’s development is then completed in our cellars underground, where it stays for around 6 months prior to its release.
Pairings: with its alcohol and good acidity it is recommended with all slow-cooking meat dishes, such as chine of pork, stewed shin of veal or beef stewed in red wine.
About The Winery:
“Ogni uss a l’ha so tanbuss.” This piemontese proverb is on all of the Monchiero Carbone labels. Literally, it means ‘every door has its clapper’ but the symbolic meaning of the phrase is ‘behind every door there is a secret’ and for the Monchiero Carbone family, the secret is their winemaking. Monchiero Carbone wine production began during the beginning of the 1900’s when Clotilde Valente (the grandmother on the Monchiero side of the family) purchased the Monbirone vineyards with her dowry. She focused on making high-quality wines intended for ageing, something very unusual for the time. In 1990, Marco and Francesco Carbone started vinifying and three years later, Francesco took over as General Manager. Today, the Monchiero Carbone wines feature some of the finest wines in the Roero.
“We bought the large house in Via Santo Stefano when we returned to our home town at the end of the eighties. What attracted me to this house was its old cellar, while my wife was taken by its roominess. We started working the family vineyards again with the historic 1990 vintage, and once the renovation had been completed the only problem left was what to call the new company. Up to then – and fortunately ever since too – Lucetta and I had always been and done everything together while bringing up our children, making lots of sacrifices to create a home for them. So it seemed only natural to convey this togetherness by naming the winery after our two families.”
In spirit however, the inspiration behind the setting up of the Monchiero Carbone winery can be traced back to the many members of both families who earned their livelihood as vine-growers in the past. On the Monchiero side, the maternal grandmother, Clotilde Valente, had reached the ripe old age of thirty-one when she married Giovanni “Giobbe” Raimondo. He had just returned from twelve years in America, but they were separated again almost immediately by the outbreak of the Great War. To overcome her solitude, she decided to use her own dowry to purchase the Monbirone vineyard, and then proceeded to farm it for the rest of her days: while awaiting the return of her newly-wed husband, during the brief years of their married life, and then enduring the hardship of widowhood. This is the very same vineyard where the wine of the same name – the pride and joy of our production – is still grown today.
It was the early 1900s too when Enrico Carbone – nicknamed Ricù – married Lucia Gioetti, the beautiful young daughter of the local Count’s wealthy tenant farmer. Known as “the blonde”, Lucia brought with her a dowry that included a good sum of money, and this was naturally used to purchase land. Ricù immediately planted a vineyard of Arneis on the plot acquired on Tanon hill (Tanùn in the local dialect), and began – though not without some difficulty – to produce what at the time was a sweet white wine served on celebratory occasions and at get-togethers with friends.
These will certainly not have been the first – or only – events linking the lives of some of our forebears to a particular vineyard, but they have proved to be turning points in our family history.
Two vineyards, two terroirs: Monbirone, with its hard and limy – almost chalky – soil, where just two drops of water are all it takes for the ground to become as slippery as soap; a vineyard that is as heavy to work and hard to mould as the Monchieros themselves, but is ideal for bestowing structure, power and grandeur on the barbera variety.
And the light and dry, sandy soil of Tanon, which seems to have been specially designed to bring out all the fragrance and appeal of Arneis, and is as warm and friendly to work with as the Carbones.
Though it may seem strange to associate past events with the personalities and inclinations of the people involved rather than with chance, it should be remembered that in those days the land meant everything to smallholders. Everything came from the land, and everything was in the land. Whole families felt tied to their vineyards, farming them for generations driven by a feeling midway between necessity and pride.
Philosophy: In recent years, globalization has become all the rage; sadly, the world of wine seems to be following suit. Whether they are made in the north or south, or even on different continents, increasingly wines tend to taste and smell alike. Our approach is quite different. We believe in keeping alive the local culture and history handed down to us through the generations, in seeking to raise awareness of the quality of small volume productions, in diversity, and in wines which are produced on single hillsides or even on single small plots of land, and are capable of stirring unique emotions.
The only way to really achieve this is by starting from the “bottom”. And by the bottom we mean the foundations: our magnificent land. This is where it all begins, and without it we could never aspire to the “top”. Our philosophy is to respect the origins of the land, and to ensure its wellbeing: to continue to cherish and work it in a balanced way, so we can provide our vines with the correct natural nourishment, and allow them to develop soundly and yield the right amount of well-concentrated fruit. All elements that go into making a great wine. Because our true skill lies in optimizing the quality of the grapes by getting the best out of the vinification, maturing and ageing of the wines. I am firmly convinced that all a good producer can do is cause as little damage as possible to his raw material, so it is up to us to understand what operations should be performed in order to bring out the very best from the fruit of our land.
Our ultimate goal is that, wherever you are, you will be able to smell the aromas, taste the flavours, and feel the emotions and passion in our wine of a unique land which is small, rather than global!
Appelation: Barbera d’Alba, Monbirone DOC
Varietals: 90% Barbera, 10% Nebbiolo
Vinification: Traditional style, lasting 18 – 20 days.
Vineyard: Faces southwest. Soil is clayey limestone, among the heaviest in the area.
Aging: Placed in barriques at the end of November, it matures 12 ? 18 months. Ages in the bottle for at least 9 months.
Production: 10,000 bottles