2010 Elio Altare, Barbera d’Alba, Piedmonte, Italy.
Altare’s wines are legendary and while everyone lusts after his famed Barolo, this beautiful and refined Barbera d’ Alba offers maximum pleasure and is a super value for such a wonderful wine. This 2010 vintage is full of flavor and has near perfect balance and a terrific lingering finish with deep layers and bright focus. I’ve always been a sucker for Barbera and long believed it was one of the best buys in the wine business, and this wine just proves the point all over again, plus in recent times I have found Barbera to have some cellar aging potential, even though I recommend enjoying young and often. Altare’s Barbera comes from Barolo country and has serious structure and is a vibrant example of this under-rated grape, and the vintage 2010 looks to be a classic year for Barbera in the region. The nose is still youthful with grapey crushed berries, spicy spring flowers leading to a fresh palate of blackberry, currants and dark plum while zesty acidity and spicy notes add interest, and then licorice and lavender layers unfold before a crisp finish and lingering fruit stays a long time in a haunting fashion. This is pure and lovely Barbera from a top producer that gets the very best from his vines, making it a not to be missed treat.
($28 Est.) 92+ Points, grapelive

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