2006 Barbera d'Alba DOC "Elena"
Barbera •Barbera d'Alba DOC
What We Say
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Mission Codename: The Youngest Daughter
Operative: Agent White
Objective: Secure an exclusive allocation of a classic Piedmont Barbera d’Alba for our operatives.
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Renato Fenocchio
Wine Subject: 2006 Barbera d’Alba DOC “Elena”
Winemaker: Renato Fenocchio
Backgrounder: 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 garnet purple with a dense and core that’s clear but extra dark. Along the edges the color lightens only slightly to show garnet tints. When swirled, this wine leaves randomly spaced fat legs along the side of the glass that descend to the wine below at varying speeds.
Smell – Bold, rich and redolent with the ripe and tart red cherry along with other red berries leading the way and inviting you in. Upon further exploration the cherry becomes slightly more tart and is surrounded by soft earthy undertones with toasted vanilla oak and a subtle nuttiness along with anise, green herbs and mocha as well.
Feel – Rich and warm, this dry and full-bodied wine initially glides over the palate with its well developed but sturdy tannins. Amble acidity and a touch of minerality sharpens the feel along the edge of the tongue and frames the rich, ripe fruit long into the finish.
Taste – Ripe and tart red cherry flavors are framed by toasted vanilla oak and wild anise. Soft earthiness, cedar cigar box, green herbs and toasted nuts also emerge along with a little exotic spice and dark cocoa.
Finish – Long and rich, the ripe and tart cherry lingers long providing a warm expansive feel as the other complex flavors of green herbs, its earthy and toasted notes and spice lasting and lasting.
Conclusion – The 2006 Renato Fenocchio Barbera d’Alba DOC “Elena” is a delicious a classic Barbera that has truly benefited by its time in the bottle. Well developed and rich flavors along with a warm and generous mouthfeel makes this wine great for richer pasta and roasted meat dishes. Enjoy this wine tonight after decanting or cellar for three to five years.
WINEMAKER INTEL BRIEFING DOSSIER
SUBJECT: Renato Fenocchio
WINE EDUCATION: The history of our wines begins early in the XIX century, when the family Fenocchio moved from Monforte d’Alba to Barbaresco. Here, my great-grandparents worked in a dairy-farm, attending to the growing and cultivation of numerous products, such as vines, hazelnuts and cereals.
I soon began helping my parents at home and in their vineyard, and, then, I started working in one of the most important cellars in Barbaresco, Marchesi di Gresy.
These are the first steps towards a lifetime spent making wine.
WINEMAKING PHILOSOPHY: As a farmer, year after year I obtain my harvest directly from Nature itself, by adding care, constancy and all my passion. The wines and the extra virgin olive oil I produce are the result of careful and steady handwork, coming from traditional wisdom with the help of modern technologies for caring the environment.
AGENT WHITE: Greetings, Renato. We are thrilled to be showing your 2006 Barbera d’Alba “Elena” today. Thanks so much for taking some time to answer questions for our Operatives today.
RENATO: Ciao. I’m pleased to share my wine with you.
WHITE: Was there a specific experience in your life that inspired your love of wine?
RENATO: I was about 5 years old when I started accompanying my Nonno (grandfather) to his vineyards. I literally grew up with grape-growing and winemaking.
WHITE: What wine or winemaker has most influenced your winemaking style?
RENATO: My father and my uncle.
WHITE: Who do you make wine for?
RENATO: I am lucky since I do “the nicest work in the World” in a wonderful place and my aim is to do all my best for leaving it the most undamaged I can to my daughters.
WHITE: Please tell me a little bit about the wine we are featuring today.
RENATO: Today’s wine is Barbera d’ Alba “Elena.” It is named for my youngest daughter. The vineyard of Barbera is in the borough of Neive, on the hill named “Starderi," exposed to South-West. This is a big and rich Barbera with luscious berry fruit and hints of mocca and leather. Beautifully balanced, it shows vibrant acid and and ripe round tannin.
WHITE: What is your favorite pairing with today’s wine?
RENATO: Friends. And to eat, my wife’s Ravioli al Plin.
WHITE: In your opinion, what makes the Piedmont (and the Langhe Hills in particular) so special?
RENATO: The vineyards are found in the hills of Barbaresco, Neive and Treiso, and have excellent exposure on the gentle hills of “Langhe” at varying altitudes -from 240 to 350 meters above the sea level. The extremely diverse soils give each vineyard a distinct character. They range from calcarious-clayey soils with sandy emergences in Barbaresco and Treiso to argillous-calcarious sedimentary ground with grey-blue sandstones in Neive.
As a result of the various soil types and growing conditions the grapes produced in our vineyards are extremely different. The vines of each microclimate produces a fruit with a perfume, colour and flavour so unique and distinguishable that wine produced from each vineyard is perfectly recognizable. Our vines are a confirmation of the importance of “Terroir” when choosing a quality wine.
WHITE: What is occupying your time at the winery these days?
RENATO: It is springtime here in Barbaresco, so there is so much work to do in the vineyards. From shoot and cane thinning to leaf plucking and trellising, it is one of the busiest times of the year for us. Between now and the harvest, every single one of our 50,000 vines will be touched by our hands a dozen times.
WHITE: How would you recommend people approach your wines and wine in general?
RENATO: With pleasure. Wine is meant to be shared around a table with family, old friends and soon-to-be friends.
WHITE: Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
RENATO: We are proud of our work as farmers and try and capture that effort in the bottle. Sometimes we succeed. The special feature of Fenocchio’s work is the complete dedication to nature that comes through on the purity of flavour and the finesse of a long palate. ~ Graham Chidgey
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 approximate location of Renato Fenocchio can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
About This Wine:
Big rich berry fruit, mocha, leather.
Named after Renato’s youngest daughter Elena, this is a big and rich Barbera with luscious berry fruit and hints of mocca and leather. Beautifully balanced, it shows vibrant acid and and ripe round tannin.
Vintage Report: The 2006 summer was hot and dry. While August was unusually cool the heat returned and persisted deep into September, Despite a heavy rainfall before harvest there were very few problems with rot in the region. For Barbera it was a year of complexity and balance with wines that will develop nicely with age.
Terroir: Alba – Langhe – Piedmonte: Alba experiences severe winters but the growing season is long. Fogs roll in toward the harvest to ensure cool nights and good acid balance in the maturing fruit. The hills around Alba are home to the Barolo and Barbaresco appellations as well as the fabled white truffle.
About The Winery:
The Fenocchio’s farm sits amongst the most prized vineyards in Barbaresco. In fact, they hold a plot adjacent to Angelo Gaja’s and sell some of their fruit to Bruno Giacosa. What sets the Fenocchios’ apart from both Angelo and Bruno, is their commitment to do everything in the vineyard themselves and always by hand.
The history of our wines begins early in the XIX century, when the family Fenocchio moved from Monforte d’Alba to Barbaresco. Here, my great-grandparents worked in a dairy-farm, attending to the growing and cultivation of numerous products, such as vines, hazelnuts and cereals.
I soon began helping my parents at home and in their vineyard, and, then, I started working in one of the most important cellars in Barbaresco.
These are the first steps towards a lifetime spent making wine.
The years passed by, the harvests came and I always learned how to work in a better way both in the vineyards and with the wines.
The work was hard but, at the same time, very interesting; then, in 1993 and I decided to start working together and our greatest desire was to continue our parents’s and grandparents’s work: a vine farm. Our aim was to care about the plants and to start producing wine in a more natural way, that is with a special attention for the environment.
So we kept my family’s lands and bought a little vineyard in Neive.
Since those early years our family has grown with the birth of our daughters, Aurora and Elena.
At the same time our farm has also grown -we now have 11 hectares of grapevines in some of the best positions of the Barbaresco wine lands. We have brought back into use the oldest vines, and have also planted some new ones.
The Renato Fenocchio Farm is located in Neive, a small country region which is 10 kms from Alba.
The vineyards are found in the hills of Barbaresco, Neive and Treiso, and have excellent exposure on the gentle hills of “Langhe”at varying altitudes -from 240 to 350 meters above the sea level.
The extremely diverse soils give each vineyard a distinct character. They range from calcarious-clayey soils with sandy emergences in Barbaresco and Treiso to argillous-calcarious sedimentary ground with grey-blue sandstones in Neive.
As a result of the various soil types and growing conditions the grapes produced in our vineyards are extremely different. The vines of each microclimate produces a fruit with a perfume, colour and flavour so unique and distinguishable that wine produced from each vineyard is perfectly recognizable. Our vines are a confirmation of the importance of “terroir” when choosing a quality wine.
Our way of working in the vineyards is not properly organic, but we believe that we can and we must produce in a sustaineable way, in order to protect our land, our health and our future.
Always striving to be great, at the work we love so much.
Varietal: 100% Barbera
Appellation: Barbera d’Alba DOC
Delicious with: Pappardelle bolognese
Cases Produced: 208
Alcohol Content: 14%
When to Drink: Now – 2015