Cascina Ballarin's Barbera d'Alba DOC is named after the elderly gentleman, Pilade, who once owned the vineyards where the grapes are grown. This wine is bursting with fruity aromas and an unobtrusive underlying scent of wood. The palate is savoury and slightly acidic with a smooth, velvety finish. Drink now to 2029.
The Barbera grapes for Cascina Ballarin's Barbera d'Alba DOC come from vines of 15-45 years old. The vines grow at 230 metres above sea level on soils of limestone and blue marlstone. Harvest takes place by hand in October. Vinification takes place in temperature-controlled tanks. The wine spends six months ageing in oak barrels followed by a further six months in the bottle before being released to the market.
Cascina Ballarin, Piedmont
Cascina Ballarin began life in 1928 by a father and son team who had previously been working as sharecroppers. Their adventure involved orchards and vineyards, as was typical of many small farms in the Langhe at that time. In the 1980s, vineyards began to replace the orchards as Cascina Ballarin chose to specialise in winemaking. To this day, there is still evidence of the old orchards with the odd tree popping up between the rows of vines providing a welcome break from the hot sun. Cascina Ballarin grows their grapes in La Morra, Monforte d'Alba and Novello. Their focus is on producing single-vineyard Barolo. They also have a passion for Barbera d'Alba, Dolcetto d'Alba and Nascetta.
Barbera is the most widely planted grape in Piedmont and is grown throughout the entire region. After the phylloxera crisis, Barbera became evermore popular amongst growers due to its productivity and versatility. But Barbera has other virtues as well. It's late-ripening and retains acidity even when fully ripe. High acidity is a hallmark of Barbera, along with bright red cherry fruit and low tannin. Traditional Barbera is simple and refreshing, a great everyday wine. Since the 1980s, there has been somewhat of a transformation with winemakers opting for lower yields and harvesting grapes that are fully or overripe. Coupled with the introduction of small new oak barrels, this has turned an everyday wine into one with good ageing potential. Barbera suits oak very well. The oak adds the tannins that Barbera lacks, tames its high acidity and improves the overall structure of the wine. Oaked Barbera's are rounder, softer, more complex and age-worthy.
Barbera d'Alba DOC
Barbera d'Alba DOC is an appellation based on the Barbera grape. The zone of production extends to both sides of the Tanaro River. On the right bank, the zone of production is almost the same as the Lower Langhe, which includes Barolo and Barbaresco. On the left bank, it includes the hills of Roero. The vineyards of Barbera d'Alba DOC are planted on hillsides with soils made up of layers of calcareous marls, sandstone, and sand. The rules of the appellation require a minimum of 85% Barbera, which can be complemented with up to 15% Nebbiolo. However, the vast majority of Barbera d'Alba is 100% Barbera. Barbera d'Alba is rich, earthy, and spicy with intense red fruits. Examples from the left bank are usually more approachable and refined. Those from the right bank are usually bigger, richer, and more structured.
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