Despite the soft glow of its sunlight, the easy pace of its rolling hills, and the centuries of history behind it, a sort of subterranean reinvention is constantly happening in Monferrato.
When I set out to write this post, the working title was “Is Barbera masculine or feminine?” But like so many instances of the best intentions, the subject quickly changed into something else much more significant in my view.
What makes a good wine? The one you can afford? The one you can give out as a present? The one you enjoy in the best moments of your life? The expensive one? Everyone will come up with their own answer.
An early 16th century medical manual lists barberry lozenges as a commonly used cure.
Let us paint the picture for you so you can feel the essence of Monferrato – the essence that is Barbera d’Asti.
Could Barbera be at all-american wine?
The pivotal moment of the tale is a feast that the marchioness prepares to welcome her guest. Wine is served, of course. The narrator notes that there were “vini ottimi e preziosi.”
In fact, what we did drink were Nizza that, if anything, wore their years as well as any aging heartthrob.
The fact of the matter is that Barbera was the grape of Piedmont at the time and, gauging from Odart, possibly the grape of Italy.
A translation of Giorgio Gallesio’s landmark description of Barbera grape