The Asti pudding club

[99 bottles of barbera on the wall]The fourth and final set of notes from the morning’s barbera d’Asti tastings (there are afternoon and evening sessions yet to come), this time all wines from 2006, both regular and Superiore. See this post for important disclaimers.

Caudrina 2006 Barbera d’Asti Montevenere (Piedmont) – Chocolate malt drink.

Cisa Asinari dei Marchesi di Gresy 2006 Barbera d’Asti Monte Colombo (Piedmont) – This shows very different fruit than any other wine in the room: strawberry powder with Starburst-like qualities. Watermelon, as well? There’s no doubt that it’s very odd.

Agostino 2006 Barbera d’Asti Superiore La Marescialla (Piedmont) – Bored now. Flat, depressed (and depressing) fruit which never goes much of anywhere.

Castlet 2006 Barbera d’Asti Superiore Litina (Piedmont) – Reminds me of New World pinot, which is at least an appealing improvement over the New World cabernet and New World shiraz I’ve been tasting of late. Pleasant, puppy dog fruit. Strawberries and cream. Breakfast at Wimbledon? Sure, why not?

Costa Olmo 2006 Barbera d’Asti Superiore (Piedmont) – Dark cherry syrup, hints of licorice. Dead fruit. Dead wine. Dead taster, if I have to suffer many more wines like this.

Araldica “Il Cascinone” 2006 Barbera d’Asti Superiore “d’Annona” (Piedmont) – Stinky feet marinating in barley. And there’s something uncircumcised and unclean about it. Yes, it’s that sort of bad.

La Ballerina 2006 Barbera d’Asti Superiore “Ajè” (Piedmont) – Very, very chocolately. Myself, I prefer these sorts of things made from a fine, single-sourced cocoa, rather than the syrupy stuff that comes in a squeeze bottle. Also, a slightly fresher milk would be better; this tastes like that room-temperature, chemically frightening “milk” the French drink.

Castello di Razzano 2006 Barbera d’Asti Superiore Vigna Valentino Caligaris (Piedmont) – When I was in first grade, I was bitten by a dog. I had a heavily-bandaged and en-casted arm for a time, and I remember the incredible stench of trapped, humidified flesh and slowly-healing scar grunge that exploded forth when the cast was finally removed. Who knew they’d bottled that smell? The thermonuclear fruit device within helps mask the miasma, but not enough.

Disclosure: all wine, food, lodging, and all transportation paid for by various interested parties. See for details on the people and entities involved. My tasting notes have not been influenced in any way, nor has my work on this blog and/or my own site, but the content of any work appearing only on the official Barbera Meeting 2010 blog may (or may not) have been edited for content.


  • Anonymous

    March 18, 2010

    Perhaps it's just as well that your interactions with these wines have been so cursory (the mass tasting syndrome). They're clearly leaving a bad enough impression upon passing acquaintance – I dread to think what kind of reaction extended exposure might provoke. It could have you looking forward to critter shiraz. Oh, wait, – they're not that bad? Or, they are, but it's bland badness, not the offensive kind?

    I saw a write-up of an 18.3% alcohol Marquis Phillips shiraz on Cellartracker – perhaps that's what Asti should be aiming at…

  • thor iverson

    March 19, 2010

    Some of the barberas were already well over 15%. Don't encourage them.

    We did have some opportunities — not yet written up by me, though there's plenty of talk on the Barbera Meeting blog — to taste with producers, over meals, and in more sedate and focused settings. That sort of thing will never pay for a conference like this one, of course, but if it had been just one long blind tasting, I would have been filled with despair. As it is, I think there's hope, and I'm less dismissive of the producers' efforts than I am impatient for them to learn the lessons they'll inevitably learn from their current explorations, and then go on to start exploring individuality and authenticity again. Splintering (not with oak) their product like the market has itself splintered in recent years.

    I don't think they'll suffer the fate of Tuscany. They've too much individual self-regard for that (I mean that as a compliment).


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