Why Be Curious? The top Barbera from the leading producer in the Colli Tortonesi (southeast Piemonte), and one of a handful of truly age-worthy Barberas. This wine, along with Sentieri and Fuso, demonstrates that Walter Massa is an able and versatile “Barberista”, in addition to having the magic touch with Timorasso.
Produttore / Producer: Walter Massa is the real deal: a contadino (farmer) with deep family roots in his native Colli Tortonesi who’s usually plowing his vineyards or buzzing around his cellar when someone arrives for a visit. He’ll then stop to spend hours showing around, pouring wines for, and talking with the continual waves of journalists, sommeliers, importers, buyers, and just plain fans who make their way to his village of Monleale in the southeast corner of Piemonte. Massa is universally known as the Maestro of Timorasso — he rescued it from obscurity and near-extinction and now leads a mini-renaissance of the variety in the Colli Tortonesi. But he also produces amazing and distinctive reds from the local varieties Barbera, Croatina, Freisa, and Nebbiolo. Besides being one of Italy’s truly great producers, he’s a stellar example of what the Italians call a personaggio — a real personality. We are lucky to have him and his wines.
Vigna / Vineyard: From several old-vine Barbera plots around the village of Monleale. Calcerous and clay soils.
Cantina / Cellar: Native yeasts. Aging in used barriques for about two years and at least an additional year in bottle. No filtration.
Il Vino / The Wine: All the classic Barbera cherry and raspberry fruit, with the grape’s high acidity honed into a tightly-knit complexity. One of the few Barbaras that age and become more complex.
A Tavola… / At the Table… This is an “important” Barbera with the structure and complexity to accompany stronger dishes, including stews and game. It’s also a perfect vino da meditazione — i.e., a wine to open at the end of a meal and drink slowly with a good cheese, good friends, and good conversation.
Vigneti Massa Barbera ‘Monleale’
Vigna / Vineyard
Nome / Name: Three plots around Monleale (Colli Tortonesi DOC):
Bigolla: 1.25 hectares, planted 1965 and ’68, calcareous soils, eastern exposure.
Campolungo: 1.4 hectares, planted 2002, clayey soils, northern exposure.
Fontana: 1.28 hectares, planted 1978 and ’84.
Quota / Altitude: 250-280 m / 920 ft.
Suoli / Type of soils: Calcerous and clay soils.
Esposizione / Exposure: Mostly eastern and northern exposures.
Vitigni / Varieties: 100% Barbera.
Età delle viti / Vine age: 12-50 years old.
Allevamento / Trellis system: Guyot.
Metodo di vendemmia / Harvest technique: Hand harvested.
Metodo agricolo / Agricultural technique: Lotta integrata (sustainable).
Cantina / Cellar
Lieviti / Yeasts: Native.
Élevage: In used 228-liter barriques for about 22 months, then in bottle for at least a year and often more (depending on the vintage).
Chiarificazione, filtrazione / Clarification, filtratration: None.
Zolfo / Sulphur: 20 mg/L added at bottling.
Altri prodotti aggiunti? / Other products added?: None.
Tappo e bottiglia / Closure and bottle: Natural cork, 750 ml Burgundy bottle.