Vietti Barbera d'Asti Tre Vigne 2017
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Despite the deep concentration and richness of the 2017 Barbera d'Asti Tre Vigne, the freshness is still there. The three vineyard parcels Vietti farms in Asti go into this wine of impressive depth. Yes, this was one of the hottest vintages in a decade for Barbera d'Asti, but it still shows more acidity than the estate’s Barbera d'Alba. This wine is rustic and raw with plenty of structure. Originally planted in 1932 and 1935, they bought these vineyards in 1995 and replanted many in 1996, with fruit from the old vines going into their special La Crena selection. Some 35,000 bottles were made.
The history of the Vietti winery traces its roots back to the 19th Century. Only at the beginning of the 20th century, however, did the Vietti name become a winery offering its own wines in bottle. Patriarch Mario Vietti, starting from 1919 made the first Vietti wines, selling most of the production in Italy. His most significant achievement was to transform the family farm, engaged in many fields, into a grape-growing and wine-producing business.
Then, in 1952, Alfredo Currado (Luciana Vietti’s husband) continued to produce high quality wines from their own vineyards and purchased grapes. The Vietti winery grew to one of the top-level producers in Piemonte and was one of the first wineries to export its products to the USA market.
Alfredo was one of the first to select and vinify grapes from single vineyards (such as Brunate, Rocche and Villero). This was a radical concept at the time, but today virtually every vintner making Barolo and Barbaresco wines offers "single vineyard" or "cru-designated" wines.
Alfredo is also called the "father of Arneis" as in 1967 he invested a lot of time to rediscover and understand this nearly-lost variety. Today Arneis is the most famous white wine from Roero area, north of Barolo. Setting such a fine example with Arneis, even fellow vintners as far away those on the west coast of the United States now are cultivating and producing Arneis!
With 35 hectares of vineyards, Vietti expects to not only increase production, but having greater control over the vineyards, looks to continually improve from a qualitative perspective. It is poised to excel well into the 21st Century.
Recognized as the source of the best Barbera in all of Italy, Asti is a province (as well as major city) in Piedmont, consisting of a gentle, rolling landscape with vineyards, farmland and forests alternating throughout.
Barbera d’Asti can be made in an array of styles from relatively straightforward, fruity and ready for consumption early, to the more concentrated, oak aged version with an ability to cellar impressively for 10-15 years and beyond. Some of the very best sites for Barbera in Asti are concentrated in the subzone of Nizza Monferrato. Other red varieties grown here include Freisa, Grignolino and Dolcetto, which can be bottled varietally or blended into Barbera.
Historically consumers commonly associated the Asti region with Asti Spumante and Moscato d’Asti, both playful, aromatic, sparkling wines made from the Muscat grape. Asti Spumante is less sweet, fully fizzy and more alcoholic (yet still clocking in at only around 9% alcohol) while Moscato d’Asti is sweeter, gently sparkling (“frizzante”) and closer to 5 or 6% alcohol. Each is produced in stainless steel tanks to preserve the fresh and fruity flavors of the grape, often including peach, apricot, lychee and rose petal. Asti is also the spot for the pink-hued Brachetto d'Acqui, a slightly sparkling wine ready to charm with its raspberry and rose flavors and aromas.
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.