Sunday, October 26, 2008

1998 Cascina Chicco Barbera d'Alba Bric Loira

Italy, Piedmont, Alba, Barbera d'Alba
14% Alc
$26.93 in Indianapolis (Cellar Tracker community avg- $36.97)

Night One

The moment I opened the bottle, pulling the unusually long cork, the room was filled with bright fruit smells, like walking through the berry aisle of a big fruit market.

The color is very deep red/black, with the edges just starting to turn brick red.

Surprisingly, twenty minutes after opening the fruit is not overpowering, even though it seemed to explode out of the bottle behind the cork. There is fruit, yes, but well-balanced, not overpowering. The initial scent is roasted chestnuts spread with unsweetened strawberry and blueberry jam. There is also a lot of toast and toasted wood.

The palate has loads of bright red fruit, tart cherries and a mix of sweet and sour strawberries. There are also notes of toast and nuts. Acids remain bright, even after ten years. Tannins are soft but noticeable. This wine is clearly ten years young, with years of cellar life remaining.

Night Two

The nose is fascinating, strawberries and sage, black cherries and a touch of vanilla. On the palate, though, is where the big changes from Night One are evident. It is dry, sweet, and tart, barely fresh cherries and strawberries covered with very dark, like 90% cocoa, chocolate. Tannins are a bit dusty, a little drying, counter-balanced by bright acids.

This was a good bottle of wine, one that improved significantly from Night One to Night Two, making me think a year or two in the cellar, perhaps more, will add balance and integration as well as additional depth.

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