Barbera is one of the most widely planted red grapes in Italy. It comes in several varieties, and to be frank Barbera del Monferrato is not at the top of this list. Nuova Cappelletta is dedicated to organic food and wine production. They are located in Vignale Monferrato of the Piedmont region of northern Italy, where they breed cattle and grow cereal on hundreds of acres of which some 74 acres are vineyards. I can only imagine how their wine pairs with their beef. Let me quote the company website concerning their commitment to organic production: “The entire estate is a certified for organic farming since 1986 and all its produce meets the Demeter standards for biodynamic agriculture. According to these principles, the farm is managed for sustainability, and all activities are interconnected. As an example, culture rotation and cattle manure together with the diversified cultivations are fundamental to maintain a well balanced and sustainable land fertility.”
OUR WINE REVIEW POLICY All wines that we taste and review are purchased at the full retail price.
Nuova Cappelletta Barbera del Monferrato 2007 13.0% alcohol about $15
Let’s start by quoting the marketing materials. Description: Winner of a Gold Medal at the Concorso Internazionale del Vino Biologico del BioFach 2009. The fruit for this wine is certified organic and biodynamically grown. A easy-drinking wine with lots of cherry, cranberry, tobacco and underbrush aromas. This well-balanced, ripely fruity Barbera is a good choice for beef or lamb stews, or mushroom risotto. Our Quality Assurance Laboratory has determined that this wine contains 35 mg/L of free sulphur. And now for my review.
Before pairing it with any food the wine tasted of dark chocolate. It was chewy and showed great balance between its acidity and tannins. The initial pairing involved home made chicken “nuggets” with Mediterranean spices enhanced by an orange slightly sweet, slightly spicy Thai dipping sauce. The wine’s acidity stepped up a bit. This Barbera was long with dark cherries and a touch of tobacco. The wine really knew how to deal with the accompanying potatoes roasted in chicken fat. The acidity washed the grease away and the tobacco taste intensified. There was also an overly spicy salsa with tomatoes, onions, green peppers, and cilantro that did not mute the wine.
The next meal was a boxed eggplant parmigiana that I half drowned in grated Parmesan cheese. The wine exhibited some chocolate; it was long with a good balance between the acidity and the tannins. I enjoyed the wine but had the feeling that it was wasted on this meal.
My final meal centered on barbecued beef ribs in a sweet ketchup-based sauce. The wine was mouth filling with the usual black cherry and tobacco but there was more. It was hearty. The side dishes were the same as in the initial pairing and the results were basically the same except that the salsa was able to cut the wine a bit.
I finished this the bottle with two local cheeses. When paired with a brick cheese that was almost tasteless, the wine was mouth filling and had nice length and good fruit. This was a good combo. In the light of a more flavorful Swiss cheese, the Barbera became somewhat sweet. It was long and fruity, tasting of cherries.
Final verdict. I liked this wine and I liked this price. I would buy it again but instead I’m going to look for a “better” Barbera.