There are few Australian Barberas available on the wine shelves as yet as the varietal is really only beginning to be produced in large enough quantities to be sold outside the cellar door circuit. Barbera is one of two Italian varietals that the Harvey family produce – the other being a silky supple and smooth Sangiovese. A little sung fact is that in recent years, the Chalk Hill Barberas have received gongs for being judged as one of the best in the world at the Monferrato Festival’s International Barbera Competition.
Chalk Hill Barbera has all the richness that you expect from the McLaren Vale region. According to winemaker Emmanuelle Requin-Bekkers, this Piedmonte native does well in the McLaren Vale because it has thick enough skin to withstand the heat of summer while retaining it’s high nervy acid. This acid and the tannins are smoothed out by spending around 14 to 16 months in well seasoned oak. This produces a densely concentrated wine with plenty of Italian backbone, the velvety soft sleekness of a well fitted suit with no cheeky slaps on the finish.
The earthy, spicy red fruit aromas are complemented with some attractive dried rose notes. Prominent blackberry fruit characters add their weight to the juicy mid palate that finishes long and finely tuned.
Try this with some delicate lamb with perfumed truffles as the Italians would or perhaps lamb shanks with some wasabi mash for an Australian take on an old favourite.
Distribution: Selected Fine Wine Stores, Cellar Door on some wine lists
Value: $30.00 (25c per bottle of all Chalk Hill Wines is donated to Greening Australia)
© Lisa Johnston July 2010
Wine Diva Wines of the Month, August 2010
Note: this review first appeared on www.winediva.com.au