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2011 La Spinetta/Giorgio Rivetti Barbera d'Asti Superiore Bionzo
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92 Points | Stephen Tanzer's IWC - November/December 2013

(from 80-year-old vines on a steep, south-facing hillside, planted on clay-and-limestone soil; aged in one-third new barriques):  Saturated medium ruby.  Vibrant, high-pitched aromas of blackberry, blueberry, cassis, licorice and violet.  At once dense and juicy, showing more mineral cut than the Gallina barbera.  This boasts serious energy and verve.  Finishes bright, with a firm spine of acids and tannins.  This impressively structured barbera, which also was raised entirely in new barrels prior to vintage 2009, needs time.  The yield here was less than 30 hectoliters per hectare in 2011 from very small grapes, according to Rivetti.

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About Italy

Italy, like France, offers a world of wine styles within a single country: dry Italian white wines ranging from lively and minerally to powerful and full-bodied; cheap and cheerful Italian red wines in both a cooler, northern style and a richer, warmer southern style; structured, powerful reds capable of long aging in bottle; sparkling wines; sweet wines and dessert wines.
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Barbera

Piedmont may be famous for its Nebbiolo-based wines, Barolo and Barbaresco, but the inhabitants of this region in Northwest Italy don't drink these big, tannic wines on an everyday basis. When it comes to a weekday dinner's accompaniment, they usually turn to Barbera (when not drinking the other everyday wine of the region, Dolcetto.) With this in mind, it's no surprise that...
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