2019 Silvestri, Barbera, Estate Grown, Carmel Valley AVA, Monterey County.
I can’t believe Ive not reviewed Silvestri’s Estate Barbera since the 2013 vintage, as it is one of my personal home town favorites, but this 2019 maybe just be the best yet with a beautiful purply garnet, opaque color in the glass and its opulent mouthfeel, plus its luxurious palate of dark berry fruit, subtle spices, soft tannins and a light sweet toasty oak framing. The delicately floral 2019 Silvestri Barbera, grown at legendary composer Alan Silvestri’s Carmel Valley estate set in the remote rolling hills set on rocky soils are based on a soft shale and ancient sea bed, locally referred to as “chalk rock” which gives, along with the marine climate, a distinct terroir complexity to Piedmonte grape here, and making for an exotic and unique example. There’s crushed bramble berry, strawberry, red currant and macerate cherry fruit core here, along with hints of sandalwood, cinnamon, vanilla, sage and lilac with just a touch of bright acidity and an element of stoniness or loam that adds interest to this Barbera, that lingers well into the aftertaste. This Silvestri Barbera is full f flavor and has a strong personality, deserving of a meal and time to open up fully to truly be at its best, and this Fall season is the perfect time to enjoy a bottle.
Alan Silvestri, the Oscar winning composer, who is a Syrah lover, originally planted his vineyard to Syrah, but then bravely added Barbera, which has turned out to be an iconic offering in his quality lineup of wines, and his two Syrah bottlings are really delicious too, plus now there is his promising Pinot Noirs as well, including the tasty Rosé. While Silvestri does a nice selection of whites, like the Chardonnay, it’s the reds that really grab the attention, especially this Barbera, a rarity in the region. Silvestri’s small block of Barbera, which, as the winery reminds us, is the first planting of this varietal in Carmel Valley, it was added to the vineyard to honor the Silvestri family heritage, that is Italian and may have Piedmonte connections. It’s situated perfectly to catch the sun on a warm southern facing slope that allows this varietal to mature and ripen to its fullest potential before harvest, giving more richness and fruit density than you’d normally find in Alba or Asti. The winery continues that with the influence of its French oak barrel fermentation and maturation the Barbera shows off a deeper concentration and depth that they say helps balance the grape’s natural high acidity, as well as adding a more textural hedonism, a feature of winemaker Frank Melicia’s efforts across the board. Think of Silvestri’s Estate Barbera as a California Superiore or Cru version of this grape, it is a limited effort, with only 459 cases made.
($75 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive