This month I’m leading the #ItalianFWT (Italian Food Wine & Travel) writers into the Piemonte region to explore Barbaresco.
We will be gathering on Saturday, November 6th on Twitter to discuss the region. You can join the conversation by using and following the hashtag #ItalianFWT. My colleagues have written on the subject and you will find their pieces at the bottom of this post!
As I explored potential pairings for my Barbaresco I found that some of my favorite fall flavors would be perfect with this wine, roast turkey, butternut squash, roasted garlic, onions, fennel, sage, tarragon…so I created a fall menu that might be perfect for your Thanksgiving table.
First, let’s talk about the region and the winery.
Barbaresco in the Piemonte
Barbaresco is a region in the Piemonte area of Italy. This is northwest Italy. Nebbiolo is grown in this region making the two famous wines Barolo and Barbaresco. Read more about the region in my piece Barbaresco Exploring this elegant and powerful wine with #ItalianFWT
The History of the Barbaresco Cooperative.
In 1894 Domizio Cavazza created the first cooperative in the region when he gathered 9 Barbaresco Vineyard owners to make wine together in the local castle he owned and called it the Cantine Social. Domizio was the headmaster of the Royal Enological School of Alba, so he knew a bit about wine and wanted to elevate Barbaresco. Sadly the Cantine Social was closed in the 1930s under the fascist rules of the time.
Then in 1958, the village priest gathered 19 small growers to found the Produttori del Barbaresco. The priest had seen the families struggling and realized that they could only succeed by working together. They made wine in the church basement for the first 3 years, then built the winery across the square from the church. The winery, while rebuilt, is still located there today.
Produttori del Barbaresco is a Cooperative of 54 families with 250 acres of vineyard in the heart of the Barbaresco DOCG appellation. The families have complete control of their land. They make up to 9 single-vineyard Barbarescos in a good year from Asili, Rabajà, Pora, Montestefano, Ovello, Pajè, Montefico, Muncagota, and Rio Sordo (geographical sites within Barbaresco).
They make 45,000 cases per year.
The story behind these wines are the small growers. The phrase “It takes a village” is true in the raising of wine here. Their site has a beautiful page with photos of each of the members. It is such a reminder of the people behind the wines.
Produttori del Barbaresco 2016 Barbaresco
They make 22,000 cases of this wine. It is their flagship. 100% Nebbiolo sourced from the 250 acres of vineyards owned by their members, this wine has a 30-year lifespan. So you can hold on to this bottle and pop it in 2046! We didn’t wait that long. LOL
The soils in the vineyards here are limestone and clay with sandy veins. It spends 30 days on the skins with pump-overs in Stainless Steel before spending 2 years in large oak casks.
The nose begins with anise and tar with red and black cherries surging in behind. There are subtle spice notes of nutmeg and cinnamon and stronger notes of smoke and charred wood. Finally, elegant notes of violet emerge.
The tannins softly envelop my mouth, powdery wrapping my palate bringing out the cranberry notes followed by tart cherry, white pepper, and anise.
22,000 cases produced $46.99 (Wine.com)
The wine is altogether satisfying and light enough in body to pair with lighter meats like turkey or, as we did, roasted chicken.
On another interesting note, the shoulder of the bottle was embossed with the word Albeisa. This was unfamiliar to me. Was this a region? So I went searching. I found a few articles to fill me in, included Albeisa – A Story in a bottle on Please the Palate (by Allison Levine) and Albeisa Bottle on The Wine Life Style. Check those articles out for details.
It turns out that Albeisa is a style of bottle, like the Bordeaux or Burgundy bottles we are all familiar with. This is the bottle style that comes from the Langhe region that was created in the early 1700s. The name means “of Alba”. This style of bottle was pushed out by the popular Bordeaux and Burgundy style and disappeared by the mid-1800s.
In 1973 a Consortium called “Union Produttori Vini Albesi” revived this bottle style. The bottles are brown and shaped similarly to a Burgundy bottle and it is embossed with the word “Albeisa” around the shoulder. The Association is member-based, with members vetted and they must have facilities in Langhe (which includes both Barolo and Barbaresco).
Thanksgiving flavors with Barbaresco
It has been rumored that it could be tough to find turkeys for Thanksgiving this year. I found there were not many at the store when I went in late October. So…I opted for a great solution for a smaller family, a whole chicken. For Michael and me, it is the perfect size and my friend Cam at Culinary Adventures with Camilla has a tried and true recipe she shared with me. You can find it on her website (along with tons of other great recipes!)
Of course, this wine will pair beautifully with turkey also, so you should consider Barbaresco for your Thanksgiving table! The roasted poultry brings out the fruit notes in the wine. Sage and Tarragon work beautifully with this wine and are definitely fall flavors.
Other great pairings can run from ribeye to duck or pork (it pairs well with a range of proteins). It’s also light enough to work with a bechamel sauce or fatty soft cheeses. For spices think warm fall spices, clove, anise, cinnamon. You can also go the vegetarian route with this wine, think roasted garlic, shallot, leeks and fennel. It’s great with mushrooms also.
Roast Chicken, Butternut squash, sage, tarragon, and hazelnuts, Grilled endive with Roasted garlic and wild rice.
I’ll admit it. I have never roasted a chicken myself. It always seemed to be quite a bit of work, for something I could pick up pre-cooked at the grocery store for an incredibly reasonable price. But I decided to try Cam’s recipe and it was delicious. The chicken is stuffed with onion, garlic, and lemons, placed on a “raft” of carrots and celery, and slathered in butter. It does take about 1.5 hours in the oven, but it’s very little work and it’s delicious.
I did do the semi-homemade thing with the butternut squash. I have a fear of cutting butternut squash, they are so hard. Michael usually does that, and he was not home, so I picked up two packages of frozen cubed butternut squash. I tossed the frozen squash cubes with olive oil, salt, pepper, sage, and tarragon, and some lightly chopped (ie chunky) hazelnuts and roasted this in the oven at 450 for about 18 minutes. The hazelnuts were aromatic and delicious with this!
I also wanted to add another note so I looked for raddichio to grill. No luck, but I found endive, so…I split the Belgian endive down the center, tossed with olive oil, salt, and peppe,r and grilled it on my grill pan on the stove. This added just the right savory bitter note to the meal.
We finished this off with wild rice cooked with herbs and chicken stock.
Support your local wine shops!
I found this wine at my favorite local wine shop Garagiste LV. Here’s the thing with local wine shops…you get to know and trust the people and the wines they are bringing in. In all likelihood, you will find a much more interesting selection of wines than you would at a big national store. You will also be supporting your community and making friends with fellow wine lovers.
I want to do a little shout-out to Garagiste here. They are a wine bar, but they also sell by the bottle for takeaway. If you find yourself in Vegas, get off the strip for a bit and head downtown. No not Freemont Street. Go beyond that. Downtown especially around Main Street is thriving, with great restaurants, small theatres, coffee shops, art galleries, local breweries…and my favorite Garagiste.
Do join us on Twitter on Saturday, November 6th at 11 am Eastern Time (US) to discuss this beautiful region and its wines. Just use and follow #ItalianFWT to join the conversation.
Below you will find the articles, wines, and pairings by my Colleagues, that are guaranteed to make your mouth water.
- Wendy with A Day in the Life on the Farm shares Pure Comfort~~Roast Chicken, Wild Rice Pilaf, and a Glass of Barbaresco Wine
- Camilla of Culinary Adventures with Camilla shares Risotto ai Tre Funghi, Rosticciana al Forno, + Fontanafredda Silver Label Barbaresco 2015
- Lynn of Savor the Harvest is Reaching for Barbaresco Basarin with Marco and Vittorio Adriano
- Susannah of Avvinare is Exploring The Beauty of Barbaresco
- Marcia of Joy of Wine is pairing Hearty Beef Stew and Barbaresco
- Martin of Enofylz Wine Blog has a 2017 Riva Leone Barbaresco Paired With Italian Fare and Friends
- Gwendolyn Alley of Wine Predator shares Affordable Riva Leone Barbaresco Meets Bolognese
- Nicole of Somm’s Table will share An Anniversary Celebration with La Spinetta Vursu Gallina Barbaresco and Braised Spatchcocked Duck
- Jennifer of Vino Travels shares The Beauty of Barbaresco with Vite Colte
More on Italian Wines from Crushed Grape Chronicles!
- Le Marche Italy – Verdicchio and beyond
- Pecorino d’Abruzzo – complexity and variety with one grape
- Banish me to Mantua, with a glass of Lambrusco Mantovano
- Lazio – Exploring low intervention wines inspired by tradition and nature
- Bacon and Butternut Pasta with a Langhe DOC Nebbiolo
- Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore and Venetian Inspired Pairings
- Terre di Bacco Prosecco – Day 1 of the 12 Days of Wine 2020
- Prosecco – joyful bubbles to “wring” out 2020
- Delle Venezi DOC – Italian Pinot Grigio raising the bar
- Pallotte Cac e Ove & Orecchiette with 2 Brilliant Cherry Red Rosatos from Southeast Italy #ItalianFWT
Robin Renken is a wine writer and Certified Specialist of Wine. She and her husband Michael travel to wine regions interviewing vineyard owners and winemakers and learning the stories behind the glass.
When not traveling they indulge in cooking and pairing wines with food at home in Las Vegas.