Guess which wine was being produced in the northwest corner of Italy 400 years before the first Cabernet...go ahead, guess.
The grape, from which this wine is produced, is more widely planted in the old country than Sangiovese. It also makes up about 12% of the red wine produced in California. Know what it is yet?
When grown right, allowed to hang long enough to take the edge off its considerable acidity, it produces a wine with the wonderful aromatic mix of ripe plum, dark cherry, leather, and brown spice.
In the mouth, rich fruit abounds, and its silky mid-palate is framed by both balancing acid and fine-grained tannin.
Planted originally in the San Joaquin Valley, the grape's abundant acid was only employed to add a little bit of zing to otherwise flabby, overheated red wine. It is in the Livermore Valley on Block 3 of the Home Ranch Vineyard, though, that this often over-looked, under-appreciated variety shows true delicious character, presence of mind viz. a whole variety of foods, and courage in the face of mid-term aging.
One more clue...it also makes up 100% of Liquid Amber, the first release of 2009 for the Collector's Circle wine program. You got it now? Huh, do ya?
Oh, wait. This is embarassing. You see, I was giving all these clues: mostly a blending grape, high acid, not many 100% versions of the wine made, etc. etc. And it was right there in the title of this post all along...wow...really embarassing.
Anyway, the 2006 Barbera, one of the Collector's Circle's favorite wines, will be released at the Winery on January 10th. Only 192 cases were produced exclusively for members of the program. There are a few cases extra and a few spots left if you want to get this wonderful wine.