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Elvio Cogno Bricco dei Merli Barbera 2012

Barbera from Alba, Piedmont, Italy
  • WS90
  • JS90
14% ABV
  • JS92
  • JS91
  • WE90
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14% ABV

Winemaker Notes

Bright ruby red in color with clear crimson highlights. Deep, full perfumes, elegant, well-balanced and enduring, reminiscent of rose, undergrowth and oriental spices. Very powerful bouquet, sweetened by overall softness. Fine structure accompanied by lively acidic freshness. Flavors conjure up Morello cherry and plum jam with a long finish of withered grape.

Critical Acclaim

All Vintages
WS 90
Wine Spectator
Plum, almond and chocolate flavors permeate this concentrated, powerful red. On the chunky side, with a firm structure. Ideal for dishes like bagna càuda, agnolotti or salumi.
JS 90
James Suckling
Tangy and fruity with dark-chocolate and plum character. Full body, fresh acidity and a clean finish.
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Elvio Cogno

Elvio Cogno

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Elvio Cogno, Alba, Piedmont, Italy
Image of winery
The Elvio Cogno winery sits on the top of Bricco Ravera, a hill near Novello in the Langhe area of Piedmont, one of the eleven communes in which Barolo is produced. The cellar is housed in an 18th-century manor farm surrounded by 11 hectares of land, all occupied by vineyards.

After a long and fruitful partnership with Marcarini at La Morra, in 1990 Cogno bought a splendid historical farm in the family village and restored it to its former glory. Today the winery nestles in a breathtaking landscape between the hills and the sky. At sunset on clear days, a wonderful turquoise horizon frames the farm like a painting. Hence the name of this exceptional wine land: 'Petorchino', or blue feet.

The Cogno family has been making wine in the Langhe area for four generations: the values of history and tradition handed down by father Elvio are enhanced by the freshness and innovation introduced by his daughter Nadia and her husband Valter Fissore.

An historic village situated right in between the famous regions of Barolo and Barbaresco, Alba is also the name for the larger wine region surrounding the village.

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.

In the Glass

Barbera is typically marked by flavors of red cherry, raspberry or blackberry and backed by a signature zingy acidity. 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 Pairings

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 Secret

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 the work of Giacomo Bologna in Asti in the 1960s. His debut of the barrique-aged Barbera called Bricco dell’Uccellone revealed this grape's true potential. Many of the better bottlings of Piemontese Barbera can age gracefully for 10-15 years or more.

WID10000240152612WC_2012 Item# 139667