This is Rombauer’s first Barbera from our Sierra Foothills Estate Vineyard. We’re excited to add this Italian varietal to our portfolio, as Amador County is known to have an excellent climate for Barbera, a naturally acidic grape that requires plenty of sun and warmth to fully ripen.
Our Sierra Foothills Estate vineyard comprises 20 acres, just 2.2 of which are planted to Barbera. These small blocks sit atop a south-facing slope on well-drained soils. The warm climate in this region brings the Barbera grapes to full ripeness, giving the wine a rich mid-palate that acts as a counterpoint to its fresh, vibrant and bracing acidity.
A wet winter with moderate rainfall, a mild spring and a warm summer created the ideal growing season. Very warm weather at the beginning of harvest accelerated the need to pick early on in the season. The fruit was hand-picked at dawn and sorted in the vineyard.
We use gentle, straightforward winemaking techniques to make our Barbera, a strategy that allows the beautiful fresh fruit to really shine. After destemming the grapes were tank-fermented to dryness and placed in 790-gallon French oak casks where the wine aged for 16 months. These large casks are traditional in Italy, the Old World home the Barbera grape. With less wine surface-to-barrel exposure, the casks allow the wine to develop fresh, bright fruit flavors along with the soft, roundness that come with aging in wood.
Our Barbera is ruby, with a bright crimson hue. On the nose, concentrated aromas of strawberry and raspberry meld with violet and baking spices. Bright flavors of cherry, plums and vanilla flood the palate, followed by touches of minerality in the background. Soft tannins and a rich mid-palate make for a bright, fresh and vibrant finish.