Why Be Curious? A pretty rather than burly Barbera from the leading producer in the Colli Tortonesi (southeast Piemonte). This wine, along with Monleale 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: Various plots around Walter Massa’s village of Monleale. Calcerous and clay soils; 30-60 year-old vines with mostly east and north exposures.
Cantina / Cellar: Native yeasts, fermentation and aging in stainless steel, no filtration.
Il Vino / The Wine: Swirls of Barbera fruit (raspberry, cherry – more red than black fruits). Briefer maceration makes this wine higher-toned and less burly than most of Walter’s Barberas. Cranberry acidity gives a delicious and tight-knit texture.
A Tavola… / At the Table… As versatile as Barbera gets: antipasti, pizza, most pasta dishes, anything with tomatoes. The Piemontesi even drink Barbera with anchovy dishes (e.g., acciughe al verde). Yes it works. And for those who insist on drinking red wine as an aperitivo, this might just be the one.
Vigneti Massa Barbera ‘Sentieri’
Vigna / Vineyard
Nome / Name: Various plots around the village of Monleale (Collo Tortonesi DOC).
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: 30-60 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 stainless steel tanks.
Chiarificazione, filtrazione / Clarification, filtratration: None.
Zolfo / Sulphur: 20 mg/L added at bottling.
Altri prodotti aggiunti? / Other products added?: None.
Gradazione alcolica / Alcoholic %: 14%.
Tappo e bottiglia / Closure and bottle: Screwcap, 750 ml Burgundy bottle.