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Jan Advocate 2017

66 V O L . 7 5 P A R T 1 J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 7 THE ADVOCATE outside of the designated zones for Barolo and Barbaresco), Arneis, Cortese and the famous Moscato d’Asti used in the production of the ubiquitous Asti Spumante. Barbera is grown in great quantity throughout Piemonte and particularly in the areas surrounding the towns of Alba and Asti and in the hills of Monforte d’Alba. It had a reputation in the past as being a light and unexpressive quaffing wine meant for immediate consumption. However, many producers have begun to realize the greater potential in the Barbera grape by limiting its yield through judicious pruning and using small French oak barrels in its production. The reward has been Barbera wines of deeper colour and intensity of flavour. It is said that the pioneer of this development was the late Giacomo Bologna of the Braida estate, just outside Asti, who in the late 1970s decided to bring out the best in his Barbera by employing the techniques described above and picking the fruit later in order to maximize flavour and lower acidity. His Barbera, named “Bricco dell’Uccellone”, was introduced in the 1982 vintage and quickly became an international success. It sells locally at Marquis Wine Cellars for a cool $100. Yes, Barbera has come a long way from the mid-week “plonk” the Piemontese would quaff to wash down their polenta. However, in the $15 to $25 range, there are many good Barberas to be found that will make an excellent accompaniment to tomato-based pasta dishes or mushroom risotto. They can be found in local wine stores under the names of Paolo Conterno, Vajra, Batasiolo and Pio Cesare. Dolcetto, which means “sweet little one”, is not sweet at all but rather a dry red wine that is deep in colour. Compared to Nebbiolo and Barbera, it is less acidic and more fruit-forward and expressive. Perhaps this is the reason it was given its name. Dolcetto is not known for its aging qualities and is meant for consumption within the first few years of its release. Due to its relatively low acidity, it makes for very easy and pleasurable consumption at a price tag that remains reasonable. Unfortunately, there is currently a limited supply of Dolcetto in government stores, but there is a much greater variety available in the many private wine shops in the Lower Mainland. Look for Dolcetto d’Alba produced by such names as Azelia or Massolino. Although Piemonte is known internationally for its red wines, it is home to a variety of local white varietals including Arneis, Cortese (used in a wine known as “Gavi”) and Moscato. Another white varietal known as Favorita, while well known locally, is not available in British Columbia. Not unlike their red wines, the Piemontese white wines are meant to be consumed with food. Their flavour profiles are subtle but refreshing and rewarding. The Arneis, in particular, is slightly perfumed and often evokes flavours of


Jan Advocate 2017
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