Thursday, May 31, 2012

Washington Barbera v. Piedmont

The Giro d'Italia finished up in Northern Italy last weekend passing through Piedmont or Piemonte, one of the most famous Italian wine regions.  The final three days of racing were extremely demanding with two huge mountain stages on Friday and Saturday followed by an Individual Time Trial on Sunday.  The General Classification was so close that the final result was in question until the completion of the Time Trial in Milan.

This Giro was a series of firsts including the first Grand Tour win by a Canadian - Ryder Hesjedal, first Grand Tour win for Garmin Baracuda and the first Giro d'Italia put on by new race director Michele Acquarone.

This week's Lucha Vino match features its own trifecta with an Old World Barbera grappling with two New World opponents.  One from Washington the other from Oregon.  Both featuring Washington grapes.

2008 IULI Rossore Barbera v. 2007 Hard Row to Hoe Shameless Hussy Barbera And 2009 Cana's Feast Barbera

Tale of the Tape

2008 IULI "Rossore" Barbera

100% Barbera del Monferrato Superiore

Aged for 16 months in second use Oak Barrels and an additional 6 months in bottle.

Provided as a sample by Vinum Importing.  Available at retail for $25.00

Cana's Feast 2009 Barbera 

100% Barbera from Coyote Canyon vineyard in the Horse Heaven Hills AVA

Aged for 6 months in once used and neutral French Oak Barrels.

Purchased from for$20.00

Hard Row to Hoe Shameless Hussy 2007 Barbera

 75% Barbera and 25% Merlot

Traded bottles with the wine maker Judy Phelps to receive this Barbera.  This vintage is no longer available.  You may still be able to  purchase the Hard Row to Hoe Barbera from the winery.

Round 1. First Opening

The Iuli from Piemonte is not wasting any time with facy poses or stare downs.  The nose is dark and peppery with currant, all spice and candle wax.  The palate is equally dark with currant, leather and earthy pepper with a peppery spice finish.

The Shameless Hussy tags in first, and oh is she shameless!  The nose is full of lively cherries, cloves and Asian cedar spices with hints of espresso bean and cocoa.  The palate is similar with Asian spices, coffee and dark cherry with a cedar spiced finish.

With two contrasting styles this round has to go to the judges.  The Iuli is scrapping trying everything conceivable to keep the Shameless Hussy close.  Meanwhile, the Shameless Hussy is bouncing back and forth off the ring ropes attempting to land vicious sneak attacks.

This round is a virtual stale mate.  Neither Luchador was able to do much damage as the result of their vastly different wrestling strategies.

Round 2. One Hour after Opening

The Iuli is adapting, getting lighter on its feet and developing some wicked kung fu moves.  The nose is showing cedar asian spices and cherries.  The palate is candle wax, roasted coffee and dark fruit with a spicy pepper dry cedar tinged finish.

Tagging in, Cana's Feast is ready to go to work.  In the first round this Oregon entry to the ring was idle while displaying a nose of sour peat bog, dark cherry and light pepper along with a palate of cherry, salt & pepper, soy and a peppery tart cherry bark finish.

When entering the ring for round two, the Cana's Feast is showing a nose of salt-n-pepper, dark fruit and savory soy.  The palate is dark cherry, cloves and spicy pepper that continues on to the finish that also features some sweet and tart cherry bark notes.

The Iuli is holding its own despite being challenged by a Pacific Northwest Barbera tag team duo.

The judges award round two to the Iuli for adapting its style and taking the fight to a fresher opponent.

Round 3. One Day after Opening

The Iuli is switching up again!  This time going back to a brutish style with a nose of soy, dark fruit, mineral and pepper.  The palate shows sweet dark, fruit, leather and candle wax with a  sweet peppery finish.

The Pacific North West team starts off the round with the Shameless Hussy back in the ring.  In round three this Luchador is showing stamina and has evolved to feature a nose of cherries, peat bog, forest floor, mushroom and all spice.  The palate is full of ripe cherry, clove and menthol with a sweet slightly tart Asian spiced finish.

These Luchadors are battling in the middle of the ring.  Neither one is gaining an upper hand.  What's this?!  I'm not sure this is fair (what do you expect in a wrestling match), the Cana's Feast has dropped into the ring and is working with the Shameless Hussy to subdue the more potent Italian Barbera from Peimonte.

The Cana's Feast is taking a different approach in round three evolving to show a nose of currant, loganberry, smoke and cedar.  The palate is full of cedar spices, dark fruit and spicy pepper with some cedar tartness on finish.

In the end the Shameless Hussy and Cana's Feast team up to subdue the Iuli, pinning the Italian challenger and winning the bout!

Two on one may not be fair, but whoever said Lucha Libre was fair?!

Wrap up and overall observations

This year's Giro d'Italia was much more entertaining than the 2011 edition.  Likewise, this round of the Lucha Vino challenge provided a twist with two Barberas from Washington and Oregon teaming up to tackle the grand champion from Piemonte.

In the end I would give all three of these wines a solid rating of 88.

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