Az. Agr. Mario Giribaldi

2004 Barbera d'Alba 'Vigne Gerbole'

Barbera •Vigne Gerbole

Italy: Piedmont

Offer Expired:May 31, 2009 at 11:59 pm
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Mission Codename: Tre Generazioni di Tradizione

Operative: Agent White

Objective: Acquire a traditional Italian Barbera from the Piedmont

Mission Status: Accomplished!

Current Winery: Azienda Agricola Mario Giribaldi

Wine Subject: 2004 Barbera d’Alba ‘Vigne Gerbole’ DOC

Winemaker: Mario Giribaldi


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 Alba. 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.

Today’s selection from Azienda Agricola Mario Giribaldi is a single vineyard cru from Alba and is made in the traditional method.

Wine Spies Tasting Profile:

Look – Deep purple (almost magenta) with garnet and violet hues that glisten through its dark clear core. Along the edges, this wine fades from ruby to pick with a slight brickish tint. Slow thin legs appear discretely along the edge of the glass when this wine is swirled.

Smell – Medium in intensity, well developed and slight rustic in character with aromas of almost candied, but not too sweet, Italian black cherry layered over black licorice. Toasted oak with vanilla and other sweet woods and a touch of floral violet add to the fragrant nose of this wine.

Feel – The initial attack of this medium-bodied wine is dry with firm finely-etched tannins and bright acidity. A spicy kick hits mid palate and lingers through to the finish. As this wine opens, the tannins, acid and spice mellow dramatically.

Taste – Bold and complex with Italian black cherry as well as tart raspberry, black licorice and cayenne pepper, who’s presence is felt more than its tasted until it softens. A touch of vanilla toasted oak, bramble brush and berries and a hint of tobacco also emerge as you explore this wine.

Finish – Medium long in length with lingering spice and cherry that fades cleanly with notes of toasted oak, dark berries, and tobacco.

Conclusion – What we love most about Barbera, even the traditional-styled ones, is that there is a certain purity of fruit that is present in the wine. Straightforwardly delicious, rich and bold, juicy but not overly sweet; perhaps commonplace at local Italian restaurants, but hey when in Italy… Today’s selection from Mario Giribaldi is a welcome addition to your forays into Italian cooking or simply if you need a mental vacation to the Piedmont.

Mission Report:

The last time I saw Baco, she handed me a parcel at the Foligno train station parking lot as she speed off on her Vespa. I thought I heard her laughing, but couldn’t confirm my suspicions.

Only until I had opened the parcel she gave me and read her note, did I catch a glimpse of her passion for wine. Baco was a deep cover operative and was skating on the thin ice with a few of the wineries we had under surveillance.

HQ was deeply concerned that she had been compromised and after redacting the contents of her note, sent me back to check on her. It was a previously scheduled sojourn, but still, tension was high. We couldn’t figure out how Baco was finding such great wine values. Was she on the take? It didn’t matter to me, for the ends justified the means. As long as she kept producing great wines, I was happy. HQ on the other hand…

Arriving in Torino at spring time is a treat in itself, having Baco meet me at the station with some Torrone, my favorite nougat candy, is heaven. Still short on conversation and this time in a dumpy Fiat he headed south to the village Alba where we met Mario Giribaldo, the third generation of family winemaker and proprietor of the Azienda Agricola Mario Giribaldi. Tasting flights of their wine was, dare I say, sinful. The wines were all delicious. The tradizione styled single vineyard cru Dolcetto d’Alba and this Barbera d’Alba stood out. (look for the Dolcetto to be featured inthe future.)

Wine Spies Vineyard Check:

The location of the approximate location of Alba in Italy’s Piedmont can be seen in this satellite photo.

What the Winery Says

About This Wine:

This Barbera comes from the vineyard Gerbole in Loc.Racca in the comune of Guarene, at a height of 310 meters above sea level, on a hilly area with mixed soil tending to argillaceous, with a South exposure, belonging to Mario Giribaldi.

The vineyards are composed exclusively of Barbera with Italian cloning material: The training system is Guyot with 5.000 vines per hectare: The vineyard Gerbola is 25 years old

An intense ruby red, with slightly violet reflexes. Very vinous to the nose, full and round, with cherry and with notes of vanilla and liquorice sensations; structured in the mouth, dry warm with spicy notes, tabacco, vanilla and red fruit marmelade. Excellent with game, red meats and mature goats cheese.

About The Winery:

As wine culture is complex and subtle and needs to be instilled and taught, the standard of quality of the products we offer is excellent so as not to disappoint not only expectations, but also the imagination of people whose heart has always been with us and who have looked with longing on Piedmont as a land of dreams.

This is the spirit on which the company is based, benefiting as it does, furthermore, from the outstanding climatic and soil conditions of its vineyards combined with great passion for the craft of transforming their yeld into fine wines with such particular tasting qualities.

Azienda Giribaldi Mario was founded at the begining of the xx century and has now been farming for three generations. Times in those days were hard and agriculture was not only one of the rare sources of economic support but a reason to be proud of those strong ties with a ground that caused so much suffering. The people however, were used to sacrificing themselvers for the land.

Today following the example set by tradition, and for the love of something as genuine and alive as wine the work begun by our fathers and grandfathers before them lives on with the same passion.

Times are still hard and changeable.

The quantity produced is a final result and represents the logical consequence of a continual process of improvement and consolidation that begins with the tilling of the land and continues with the technology of transformation.

What has not changed since then is the fortunate location of the winery in the heart of the Langhe clearly an extraordinary wine growing land, but above all a land for culture and traditions. The colour, sounds, smell and flavours emerging from this area are the true expression for culture, a means of communication, an image in itself. Our efforts and commitment are directed towards these issues; making good wines produced in keeping with the traditions of our land that have the right tasting properties for everyday consumption and will prove pleasing and stimulating on every social occasion.

One of our main objectives is to better the quality of the grapes through a selection of the vine clones, without however leaving behing the other important factors in the vineyard.

A new important novelty which has been introduced into the company, is the production of biological wine. In a market which is becoming more and more aware of the use of chemical products in the alimentary sector, we thought it necessary, and interesting to move in this direction. On the other hand, biological is recognized at a European level and it is an opportunity directed not only towards a consumers niche but an increasing reality wich is destined to confront directly with the conventional production. Seeing as the demand for organic wine is increasing, above all from the overseas it is understandable that it is in our interest to work in this direction. In fact 70% of our company’s production is exported in different countries.

A choice made with the intention of communicating to the world the image of our civilization, that can really be the ambassador for our wines, our people and all the other aspects of the culture of our Langhe.

About The Vineyards:

Science And Technology In Vineyards – Vine clones’ of the same variety, that have complementary phenotype characters, are transplanted after a long and accurate selection, in order to get ideal agronomic and oenological types.
It is fundamental to select only high quality vines to get greater value grapes and wines: this result can be obtained only by crossing different peculiarities of different clones. The cru Garnì is a perfect example of this procedure: during the reimplanation of 1995, three different clones of Dolcetto were planted (precisely CVT CN 22 clone who bears consistend medium size grapes that make a very intense ruby red wine with slight violet reflexes and high alcoholic strenght; CVT AL 275 clone who bears small grapes thath make a good bodied wine of intense and fruited aroma; CVT 8 clone who bears medium to big size grapes that make an intense and harmoniuous wine with a complex and elegant bouquet and an excellent balance between alcohol and acids). Every clone generates grapes that have particular characters: they will all contribute to produce a very defined quality wine and a masterly union of these different types will create a real complete wine. Nowadays the selection phase is considered the fundamental step of the whole vine-growind process and the frontier of rurther developments in oenology.

Organic Wine – An important development sector in Giribaldi firm is the production of organic wine. The project has started in 2001 and will give its first result in 2004 vintage. The awareness about ecology and health matters and a market which is more and more concerned about the use of chemical products in agriculture and food industry, have given a big input to this new enterprise.

In Italy organic and biologic experiments in wine production were started, more than forty years ago, by a small group of “philosopher-farmes” and the result of their experience were acknowledged and regulated by the Europena Community only in 1991, Nowdays the “consumers” are becoming more and more “tasters” and their requests and needs are oriented towards a greater attention on “all” quality standards of wine. Foreign markete, that is even more demanding about bio guarantees, is transforming a narrow market in a great proportions business reality. Giribald firm, whose 70% of products are exported in different countries all over the planet, has mad the purpose to increase the efforts in this direction and to improve its already topmost quality standards, offering a wide range of organic wines who are bound to become the real “ambassadors” of Langhe culture all over the worlds.

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