Thursday, May 8, 2014

WA Barbera v. Lombardia

The Giro d'Italia kicks off on May 9th in Belfast.  Wait. What?!  Belfast?  You might be saying "I don't remember an Italian town named Belfast!"  You would be correct.  This year's race starts off with three stages in Ireland before the racers transfer to Southern Italy.

Like many of the pros, I was hanging out last week putting the finishing touches on my form for the big race.  I chose to hang out in Northern Italy.  In Lombardia to be exact, a wine region just across the border from the Tour du Romandie, a major Tour de France tune up race held in Switzerland.  Did you know that Switzerland only exports 2% of their wines?  Its true.  One more reason I was hanging out in Lombardia...

This week's challenge features a Barbera from the Oltrepo Pavese DOC taking on a Washington State Barbera from the Yakima Valley.

2011 Cantina di Casteggio Bronis Barbera v. 2008 Cavatappi Barbera

Tale of the Tape

2008 Cavatappi Barbera

100% Boushey Vineyard Barbera from the Yakima AVA

Purchased for $18 from Full Pull Wines

2011 Bronis Barbera

100% Barbera from the Oltrepo Pavese DOC in Lombardia

Purchased for $10 from Full Pull Wines

Round 1.  First opening

Cavatappi steps into the ring and immediately takes the fight directly to the Lombardia challenger!  The Washington Barbera is showing a nose of dark currants, smoky sandalwood and dry cedar herbs.  The palate is dark and robust with notes of dark cherries, currants, clove spices some hints of tobacco leaf followed by a sweet finish that repeats some tobacco leaf character.

The Bronis Barbera is on the move, bobbing and weaving, launching a variety of counter attacks.  The nose is light and bright with notes of bing cherry and some pine needles.  The palate also features cherries, light smoke and some white pepper with a robust dry finish.

Cavatappi overpowers the Bronis challenger from Lombardia to take round 1.

Round 2.  One hour after opening

The Cavatappi champion is building strength and showing some stamina in round 2.  The nose is dark and rich with black cherry and funky, chalky powdery spices.  The palate is slightly dry with black cherry, clove spices and some peppery dry tannins on the finish.

Bronis is altering tactics and looking for an opening to attack.  The nose is showing cherries, hazelnut and sweet anise spices.  The palate repeats the bing cherry character along with tobacco leaf and tart subtle spices on the finish.

Bronis put up a good fight, but Cavatappi takes the second round for a commanding 2-0 lead.

Round 3.  One day after opening

This is it.  Last chance for Lombardia to mount a comeback and win this bout.  It is going to take a knock out to claim the victory.  What does the Italian challenger have in store for the Cavatappi champion from Washington State?!

The Bronis Barbera is continuing to evolve showing dusty menthol spices and dried cherries on the nose.  The palate forms a one-two punch by featuring dried cherries and menthol spices with some dry cocoa powder and dry tart cherry bark mingling together on a slightly savory finish.

Cavatappi side steps the sophisticated Bronis onslaught and launches a bruising attack off the top turnbuckle that features a nose of dark funky cherries and some subtle herbal mint and earthy spices.  The palate is dark and complex with black cherries, earthy cedar and menthol spices that lead to a dry tannin fueled spicy finish that wraps up with light cocoa powder notes.

 Wrap up and overall observations

The Cavatappi Barbera was another great Italian inspired gem from this winery.  The Italian grapes from Boushey vineyards are showing some excellent varietal character too.  Seek these wines out.  If you can find them, buy them!

The Bronis Barbera was a stellar wine for the $10 price.  Thanks to Paul at Full Pull for finding us these great wines at great prices.

I would recommend both of these Luchadors and look forward to featuring them in future matches!

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