Battle Barbera

terre-davino-piedmonte-barberaHaving been ensnared by the everyday charms of Barbera in the form of recent PA picks Fuso and Massa Monleale, I was excited to see two additional choices recently enter into the Chairman’s Selection program. In the spirit of friendly competition, I popped the cork on bottles of Villa Remotti Barbera d’Asti Fanciot 2009 and Terra DaVino Barbera Piemonte 2010 (ok, unscrewed the top of the latter) the same evening and drank them side by side.

The Terre DaVino ($9.99), which comes with a “lesser” designation of Piedmont (as opposed to the Asti DOCG), is a fruit-forward expression of the grape, featuring spicy red fruits on both nose and palate. It’s relatively smooth, juicy and drinkable, although there’s a bit of artificial grape juice flavor there as well. For ten bucks, not a bad pizza wine, but this bottle pales in comparison to the last $10 CS Barbera.

The Fanciot ($12.99) was even more disappointing. Right off the bat, it featured strong notes of black tea in both aroma and taste, which made me wonder if some Piedmontese Dolcetto had snuck its way into the barrel. As the wine opened, the nose developed nicely, featuring earthy funk and gingerbread notes, but the palate remained watery and short.

So, my little tasting experiment ended up being a dud. If I have to pick a winner, I’d go with the Terre DaVino, only because it’s a few bucks cheaper. Unless you’re really hard up for cash, however, the Michel Chiarlo Barbera d’Asti Le Orme 2010, which is widely available across the state for $13.99, is a far better wine than either of these for only a few bucks more.

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