Lady Barbera and King Barolo: discovering some of the best crus in Piedmont by Oberto.

This was another tasting organized by the Italian Sommelier Association in Friuli Venezia Giulia. Fabio Oberto, son of Andrea, who established the winery with his name 28 years ago in La Morra (CN), was invited by the sommeliers in  Friuli to present some of his best wines, the Barbera d'Alba Giada in a mini vertical tasting of vintages 2006, 2005 and 2004, and his three flagships, the crus Barolo Vigneto Rocche 2006, the Barolo Vigneto Albarella 2006 and the Barolo Vigneto Brunate 2006.
From the left: sales agent  Oberto wines in Friuli, Maurizio Dal Pont,
Sommelier representative Ais Fvg Gianni Ottogalli and producer Fabio Oberto
While Barbera has always been traditionally  named in the feminine Italian "la Barbera" (even though its high acidity, dark color and robust personality makes it a more masculine wine),  Barolo is considered the "king" of wines, for its big powerful tannic character and for his noble origins. The history of the modern Barolo dates back to the mid 19th century, when Camillo Benso, count of Cavour, the major of Grinzane Cavour, invited the French oenologist Louis Oudart to the Barolo region in Piedmont to improve the technique of vinification of the wine Barolo, that until then was vinified in a sweet version from the grape variety Nebbiolo. Oudart made the first dry version of Barolo, which soon became the favorite red wine among the nobility of Turin and the ruling house of Savoy, thus gaining the appellation of the "wine of kings, the king of wines".  The Barolo was also recently chosen as the symbol wine of the Unification of Italy, which was celebrated on March the 17th. Today, some of the highest quality expressions of this wine lie in single vineyards located in  the five communes of the Barolo zone, that, although not officially, are considered as Barolo "crus". These are the Cannubi and Sarmazza vineyards in the commune of Barolo, the Brunate vineyard, shared with the commune of La Morra, the Cerequi and Rocche vineyards in La Morra, the Monteprivato and Villero vineyards in Castiglione Falletto, the Lazzarito and Vigna Rionda in the commune of Serralunga d'Alba and the Bussia, Ginestra and Santo Stefano di Perno vineyards in Monforte d'Alba. Although all these vineyards lie in the same territory, among the Langhe hills (CN), there are many different terroirs,  that is mesoclimate, soil types, altitudes and expositions. These elements affect the Nebbiolo grape in such different ways,  thus creating several distinct Barolo wines, with an exceptional organoleptic richness and diversity.
Oberto, who runs today a winery of 16 hectares in the commune of La Morra, is one of the lucky producers to own some vineyards, even 70 years old, in the Barolo crus.  He told us, indeed, that this commune counts 2.500 residents, 750 hectares of vineyards and 100 wineries and that the commercial value of a Barolo cru starts from 500.000 euro to a maximum of 700-800.000 euro per hectare. What nature generously gives, however, must be managed in the cellar with a wise technical knowledge.  That's what Oberto does, lying in a midway in the quarell between modernist and traditionalist Barolo producers, making long period of maceration and using both the barrique and large oak casks  for wine aging.  The "power" of the "king Barolo", according to Oberto,  is best expressed at least after 5 years of aging (the minimum required from the appellation DOCG), having a long life ahead of 20-30 years. 
Here below my tasting notes. 

Barbera d'Alba Giada 2006 Oberto
Bright lively red color. The nose reveals notes of fresh dark fruits, like blackberry, blueberry, blackcurrant and plum. There are also balsamic hints, like dark licorice and mint,  green herbaceous fragrances, scents of mineral and wet soil (humus). Very fresh taste (high in acidity), the fruits perceived on the nose continue in the mouth, nice long finish of bitter licorice. Quite smooth with a predominance of  harsh parts. Very young.

Barbera d'Alba Giada 2005 Oberto
The color is still bright red and lively, a little more evolved. On the nose the fruits are riper,  there is some cherry too. It is still fresh, but more complex.  There are notes of licorice root, tobacco, moss and mushrooms and a balsamic mint hint. After resting in the glass it develops notes of coffee and animal. The taste is fresh and high in alcohol, smoother than the 2005. More ready, again a very nice harmony nose-mouth. 

Barbera d'Alba Giada 2004 Oberto
Again a bright and lively red color. The nose is more evolved and complex. Notes of dark riper fruits, plum jam, rhubarb, spices, balsamic. After resting in the glass it develops notes of coffee, toffee and animal. Fresh taste, warm in alcohol, smooth, mineral. The sip is richer and wider with a very long finish. 

Barolo Vigneto Albarella 2006 Oberto  
The color is light red with a transparency typical of the grape variety. The nose is fresh, very complex.  Spicy notes of nutmeg, star anise and  pepper, hints of aromatic herbs like rosemary and parsley, scent of cherry under alcohol, tobacco and Indian ink. Fresh powerful sip, very tannic, with a long mineral finish. Very young.

Barolo Vigneto Brunate 2006 Oberto
The color is light red with a transparency typical of the grape variety. The nose reveals a rich complexity. Notes of cherry under alcohol, Indian Ink, rhubarb jam, candied bitter orange peel, licorice root, raw meat, coffee, walnut liqueur, spices like vanilla and star anise, bitter chocolate and tobacco. The sip is smoother, even though still fresh and tannic. Warm in alcohol and more balanced with a nice harmony nose- mouth.

Barolo Vigneto Rocche 2006 Oberto
The color is light red with a transparency typical of the grape variety. The nose is more intense and complex. Sweeter notes, like cinnamon, vanilla, cherry, mulled wine. Again pepper (white) and star anise, rhubarb, Indian Ink, chocolate. Some leather and mushrooms, a little truffle. The taste is much wider and smoother with more rounded tannins. More mineral. Great extract and a very long finish. 

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