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Pico Maccario Lavignone Barbera D'Asti 2011

Barbera from Asti, Piedmont, Italy
  • WS90
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Winemaker Notes

A true Barbera specialist, the family making this lush red wines prides themselves on their generations worth of experience cultivating their pristine vineyards in the heart of Piedmont in Northwestern Italy, in the shadow of Mont Blanc. With an intense purple hue, this wine bursts with a juicy, mouthwatering bouquet of plum and cherry with hints of baking spice. Silky on the palate, finishing in ripe, velvety, sweet fruits, this wine will pair perfectly with any meal, from antipasti, to pizza, to pasta, to grilled meats. A rich, satisfying glass sure to please any crowd, you'll be hard pressed to drink just one glass!

Critical Acclaim

WS 90
Wine Spectator

This shows fine depth and balance, revealing black cherry and blackberry notes on a supple texture. Hints of citrus and bitter almond appear on the lingering finish. Smart Buy.

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Pico Maccario

Pico Maccario

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Pico Maccario, , Italy
Pico Maccario
Pico Maccario, a dedicated Barbera specialist, is found on the hills of Mombaruzzo in the Asti DOCG at an average altitude of 180 meters. Comprising one single, contiguous parcel, their vineyard covers 70 hectares and is the largest solely-owned vineyard in Piedmont. Within the 70 hectares, there are some 315,000 vines capped at the end of each row by one of the approximately 4,500 red rose bushes on the property. It is no surprise that the rose is part of the winery's emblem. Out of the 70 hectares, 55 are planted to Barbera.

The estate boasts state-of-the-art equipment, including stainless-steel tanks that have computerized controls for monitoring temperature and all stages of fermentation. The soils of Mombaruzzo are primarily clay, which impart full body and a silky texture to the wines. Both wines are aged exclusively in stainless-steel tanks to preserve the freshest fruit flavors. The name of the entry-level Barbera, Berro, means "I will drink," and refers to the wine's easy-drinking, crowd-pleasing purity. Lavignone is named after one of the 18th-century farmhouses located on the property. Its velvety mouthfeel and bright cherry and blueberry flavors come at a remarkably advantageous price point, one rarely seen for Barbera of this quality in this day and age, offering great value.

A long and narrow valley producing flavorful red, white, and pink wines...

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A long and narrow valley producing flavorful red, white, and pink wines, the Rhône is bisected by the river of the same name and split into two distinct sub-regions—north and south. While a handful of grape varieties span the entire length of the valley, there are significant differences between the two zones in climate and geography as well as the style and quantity of wines produced. The Northern Rhône, with its continental climate and steep hillside vineyards, is responsible for a mere 5% or less of the greater region’s total output. The Southern Rhône has a much more Mediterranean climate, the aggressive, chilly Mistral wind, and plentiful fragrant wild herbs known collectively as ‘garrigue.’

In the Northern Rhône, the only permitted red variety is Syrah. In the appellations of St.-Joseph, Hermitage, Cornas, and Côte-Rôtie (where up to 20% Viognier may be co-fermented), it produces savory, peppery wines with telltale notes of olive, bacon fat, and smoke. Oily, perfumed whites are made from Viognier in Condrieu and Château-Grillet, while elsewhere only Marsanne and Roussanne are used, with the former providing body and texture and the latter lending nervy acidity. The wines of the Southern Rhône are typically blends, with the reds often based on Grenache and balanced by Syrah, Mourvèdre, and an assortment of other varieties. All three northern white varieties are used here, as well as Grenache Blanc, Clairette, Bourbelenc, and more. The best known sub-regions of the Southern Rhône are the reliable, wallet-friendly Côtes du Rhône and the esteemed Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Others include Gigondas, Vacqueyras, and rosé-only appellation Tavel.

Rhône Blends

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With bold fruit flavors and accents of spice...

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With bold fruit flavors and accents of spice, Rhône red blends originated in France’s Southern Rhône valley and have become popular in Priorat, Washington, South Australia, and California’s Central Coast. In the Rhône itself, 19 grape varieties are permitted for use, but many of these blends, are based on Grenache and supported by Syrah and Mourvèdre, earning the nickname “GSM blends.” Côtes du Rhône and Châteauneuf-du-Pape are perhaps the best-known outposts for these wines. Other varieties that may be found in Rhône blends include Carignan, Cinsault, and Counoise.

In the Glass

The taste profile of a Rhône blend will vary according to its individual components, as each variety brings something different to the glass. Grenache, which often forms the base of these blends, is the lightest in color but contributes plenty of ripe red fruit, a plush texture, and often high levels of alcohol. Syrah supplies darker fruit flavors, along with savory, spicy, and meaty notes. Mourvèdre is responsible for a floral perfume as well as body, tannin, and a healthy dose of color. New World examples will lie further along the fruit-forward end of the spectrum, while those from the Old World taste and smell much earthier, often with a “barnyard” character that is attractive to many fans of these wines.

Perfect Pairings

Rhône red blends typically make for very food-friendly wines. Depending on the weight and alcohol level, these can work with a wide variety of meat-based dishes—they play equally well with beef, pork, duck, lamb, or game. With their high acidity, these wines are best-matched with salty or fatty foods, and can handle the acidity of tomato sauce in pizza or pasta. Braised beef cheeks, grilled lamb sausages, or roasted squab are all fine pairings.

Sommelier Secret

Some regions like to put their own local spin on the Rhône red blend—for example, in Australia’s Barossa Valley, Shiraz is commonly blended with Cabernet Sauvignon to add structure, tannin, and a long finish. Grenache-based blends from Priorat often include Carignan (known locally as Cariñena) and Syrah, but also international varieties like Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. In California, anything goes, and it is not uncommon to see Petite Sirah, Zinfandel, or even Tempranillo make an appearance.

GECPICOBARB_2011 Item# 120327

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