Aldo Conterno Conca Tre Pile Barbera d'Alba 1998
Aldo Conterno's family has been producing and ageing the great Piedmontese wines for more than five generations. Today the winery, which is situated in Località Bussia Soprana at Monforte d'Alba, still vinifies grapes that come exclusively from its own vineyards in the hills around Alba, in the heart of the Barolo production zone. Our vineyards have a southerly/ south-westerly exposure for the 80%, whereas their altitude is approximatively 480 metres above sea-level. The soil is formed by some strata of more or less compact grey-brown sand, alternated with white and bluish calcareous marls. Rational cultivation techniques, controlled must fermentation, and traditional system of vinification and ageing combine to produce great wines of fine quality.
In a sense, “Alba” is a catch-all phrase, and includes the declassified Nebbiolo wines made in Barolo and Barbaresco, as well as the Nebbiolo grown just outside of these regions’ borders. In fact, Nebbiolo d’Alba is a softer, less tannic and more fruit-forward wine ready to drink within just a couple years of bottling. It is a great place to start if you want to begin to understand the grape. Likewise, the even broader category of Langhe Nebbiolo offers approachable and value-driven options as well.
Barbera, planted alongside Nebbiolo in the surrounding hills, and referred to as Barbera d’Alba, takes on a more powerful and concentrated personality compared to its counterparts in Asti.
Dolcetto is ubiquitous here and, known as Dolcetto d'Alba, can be found casually served alongside antipasti on the tables of Alba’s cafes and wine bars.
Not surprisingly, given its location, Alba is recognized as one of Italy’s premiere culinary destinations and is the home of the fall truffle fair, which attracts visitors from worldwide every year.
Friendly, approachable and full of juicy red fruit, Barbera produces wines in a wide range of styles, from youthful, fresh and fruity to serious, structured and age-worthy. Piedmont is the most famous source of Barbera, but it is also planted in a few nearby Italian provinces and remains one of the most widely planted varieties in the country. Barbera actually can adapt to many climates and enjoys success in California—particularly in the Sierra Foothills—and some southern hemisphere wine regions.
Tasting Notes for Barbera
Barbera is a dry, red wine typically marked by flavors of red cherry, raspberry or blackberry. Warmer sites produce Barberas with intensely ripe fruit and complex notes of cocoa, savory spice, anise and nutmeg. Cooler sites will produce a lighter Barbera with more finesse and intriguing notes of cranberry, graphite, smoke, lavender and violet.
Perfect Food Pairings for Barbera
Barbera’s prominent acidity makes it a natural match with tomato-based dishes, making it an easy pairing with a wide array of Italian cuisine. It works just as well with lighter red meat dishes, hamburgers or barbecue.
Sommelier Secrets for Barbera
In the past it wasn’t common or even accepted to age Barbera in oak but today both styles—oaked and unoaked—abound, at least in Piedmont. In fact, many Piemontese producers today still make a deliciously pure, fruity and unoaked version, intended for earlier consumption. The wine world didn't realize Barbera's potential until Giacomo Bologna's debut of the barrique-aged Barbera called Bricco dell’Uccellone in Asti in the 1960s. Many of the better bottlings of Piemontese Barbera can age gracefully for 10-15 years or more.