Acidity is not a four-letter word; acidity is your friend!
Before we publish the next in our series of posts on how “Acidity Is Not a Four-Letter Word” (a series we could have as easily called “Acidity Is Your Friend” or “Acidity, the Misunderstood Missing Link in Wine”), I want to take time out to share a personal anecdote about aged Barbera.
You may remember that we posted about aged Barbera previously (one of our most popular posts from last year, “Can Barbera d’Asti Age?“). The notion that Barbera must be drunk solely in its youth is one of the myths that we have gladly debunked here on the My Name Is Barbera Blog (see this post here). A recent experience of mine working as a sommelier was a great illustration of this.
A few weeks ago, I began moonlighting as a floor sommelier at one of Houston’s most popular Italian restaurants and pizzerias. As per the protocol here on the My Name Is Barbera blog, I can’t reveal the name of the venue or the Barbera d’Asti producers that we currently have on the list there (I inherited the list, btw; and even though I’ll be selecting new wines for the program moving forward, the wines in question were chosen by my predecessors).
But let it suffice to say that one was a Barbera d’Asti from the 2004 vintage (from a respected winery that actually specializes in other grape varieties) and the other was from 2007 (from one of Barbera d’Asti’s most iconic producers, well known throughout the world of Italian wine).
No one was buying the wines because they were priced really high. But as soon as I revised their prices on the list, they both started to fly like hot cakes. Among the guests for whom I poured the wine, none of them knew what they were ordering or why these wines were so special. The appeal lay solely in the price and the fact that the restaurant is well known for its wonderful wine program, one of the best in the city).
It was amazing to see their faces as they experienced these 15-year-old and 12-year-old expressions of Barbera: The wines were very fresh and lithe, not “tired” or stale at all. And as they ordered bottle after bottle, inspired by the price and the deliciousness, they raved about how much they loved them. It was such a great example of how Barbera can age with spectacular results. It was only after they had begun to enjoy and praise the wines that I revealed how Barbera’s natural acidity allows the wines to age so gracefully and so spectacularly. Needless to say, they were all surprised and somewhat confused.
After all, I told them: Acidity is not a four-letter word; acidity is your friend!