Marchesi di Barolo, Barbera d’Asti (Piedmont, Italy) “Peiragal” 2018

($27, Frederick Wildman and Sons Ltd.):  In 1980, Ernesto, the patriarch of the family, either foolishly or prophetically planted Barbera in the Paiagallo vineyard, one of Barolo’s top vineyards for Nebbiolo.  Valentina, his daughter, recounted that her father replaced the more valuable Nebbiolo vines with Barbera, even though he realized it was not in his economic interest.  Ernesto wanted to return to the Piedmont tradition of having even “humble” varieties planted in the best terroir, according to her.  She explained that her father felt that Barbera could shine, displaying the elegance and power of a great terroir and, simultaneously, be more accessible at a young age.  This 2018 certainly shines.  Plush and succulent, it displays a suave texture that makes it a delight to drink now.  Barbera’s naturally high acidity is less obvious, but nonetheless provides good counterweight to the wine’s fruitiness.  Rich, not jammy or heavy, it would be a good match for a hearty pasta dish or a warming beef stew.
91 Michael Apstein Mar 15, 2022