Why are the best wines if the world are so ageing worthy? Is it because ageing gives wines more complexity, aromas and better balance? Or is it a mere notion of a time travel we are undertaking when drinking such wines?
Revealing the true grape potential means revealing its ageing abilities, isn’t it? I had many opportunities to confirm that Barberas can age beautifully. As it happens with many wineries in the world, only the strongest and biggest can normally find the will to lay down for ageing a decent number of bottles. In case of Barbera d’Asti it often happens that bigger coop wineries have bottles from the 80-s and 90-s to put Barbera to the test. As I found out, a ’89 Barbera can be a wonderful creature, not only alive, but very much so. Properly stored and made, these wines deliver great pleasure and still have the power to amuse today.
Barberas from 2000s represent — of course — much safer bets, both more available and affordable. It still won’t be easy to find them in a local supermarket and even a specialized retail shop. While the market image of a “drink-it-young wine” pushes Barbera producers to ship their wines ASAP, it might be wise to start thinking about laying down a few bottles as a new healthy habit. Imagine what it would be like for Barbera d’Asti producers to have consistently older vintages available for tastings and general public.
It’s not that we are talking about the prolonged wood ageing: probably Barbera has enough of that already and some delicate bottle maturation will increase the complexity and tune down the fruitiness, pushing us into the realm of pure pleasure.
Fortunately, more and more wineries can afford to crack open a bottle of a 10-years-old Barbera and even older. In fact, I recently tasted 2011, 2009. 2006 and 2003 Barberas — all amazing wines ready to be consumed right now and (all of them) grabbing much more professional interest than the current vintages — which are, well, young wines. Finding such a Barbera could be tricky, but I suggest you to start asking: the more we, Barbera consumers, send this message to winemakers, the better wines we will drink! And 2000s Barberas are now simply wonderful!