A couple months ago I was fortunate to receive an invitation to attend a virtual tasting event from the Vite Colte winery in Piedmont. The Piedmont wine region in northwestern Italy produces some of my favorite Italian wines and the fact that they were all based on the Nebbiolo and Barbera grapes were just icing on the cake.
The Winery ~ Vite Colte
The winery I’m highlighting today, Terre da Vino, was a first for myself to experience. Terre da Vino plays a large role in the wine industry in Piedmont. A coop of their size working with over 2,500 members with over 12,360 acres (5,000 ha), I'm surprised I haven’t experienced them sooner. There is always so much to learn and try when it comes to Italian wine it’s a non-stop learning curve.
Terre da Vino started a project back in 2010 under the subsidiary, Vite Colte, that takes their wine production to another level focusing on selecting the best vineyards and growers to produce top quality wines from about 780 acres. The project consists of about 194 growers that have been selected that each dedicate a portion of their grapes to Vite Colte. The winery is located within Barolo and as they state on their website Vite Colte is like a “winery in a winery”.
How does Vite Colte select their growers? They have strict protocols and selection criteria based on a multitude of factors including soil, altitude of the vineyards, vine density, low yields and the grapes grown. The vineyards must be over 15 years of age. The growers must prune based on the number of buds. Close attention must be paid to the plant’s nutrition with manual vegetation management. All grapes must be harvested by hand with a production of 4.4 pounds per vine and the harvest date has to be closely monitored. So as you can see the growers work closely with the agronomist, Daniele Eberle and Winemaker, Bruno Cordero, on making sure all of this is achieved to attain the highest quality that Vite Colte is looking to attain.
At another point I’ll share the Barolo and Barbaresco wines that I sampled from this virtual tasting, but today I’m focused on Vite Vole’ts Barbera d’Asti wines that are the flagship wines of Vite Colte. Their first vintage working with Barbera was in 1988. Per Vite Colte’s website they have the largest amount of acres dedicated to the Barbera grape at about 222 acres. They produce about 450,000 bottles of Barbera d’Asti. The grapes under the La Luna e I Falo label come from 44 growers over 148 acres. They are all located within the Asti province including the areas of Ronchetta Tanaro, Nizza, Monferrato, Monbaruzzo, Calamandrana and Agliano Terme.
2012 Vite Colte La Luna e I Falo Barbera d’Asti Superiore DOCG
Deep ruby in color. Medium-bodied with some spice on the nose. This wine leaned more toward dark red fruits, mostly cherries and raspberries. Lively acidity, smooth and well-balanced and elegant with vanilla notes. SRP $20-25 ABV 14%
2018 Vite Colte La Luna e I Falo Barbera d’Asti Superiore DOCG
I found this more recent vintage to lean more towards rich dark fruits, blackberries and black currants, with some herbal undertones. Great acidity and silky tannins towards the finish. Richer Barberas than most, but also still a young wine with time age. SRP $20-25 ABV 14.5%
Pairing with Barbera d'Asti: After the tasting I resampled these wines with an orecchiette dish I prepared in a marinara sauce with sliced Italian sweet sausages topped with 24 month aged parmigiano reggiano. The one great thing about Barbera is that due to it's high acidity it pairs well with many dishes, including this one. Plus, since this Barbera was rich in style with depth it stood up well to this marinara sauce and sausage that had a little spice.
*These wines were provided as samples, but opinions are always my own.