Thursday, 9 October 2014

Could They Have Survived? A Tale Of Two 1964 Barbera Bottles

You shouldn´t think so. The people's wine, as Barbera is called by Burton Anderson, was not meant to be kept for 50 years. Victor Hazan, in his book Italian Wine from 1982, states with reference to Barbera d'Alba - "It is the most long-lived of Barberas, in some cases capable of entering well into its second decade without signs of fatigue". Not 50 years. 
These were also produced 20 years before Braida presented Bricco dell'Uccellone, a Barbera from selected spots and use of new oak, which changed the perception of what Barbera could be.
The question lingers, could they have survived? Lets pull the corks and find out. Both popped and poured.

1964 Barbera Riserva, Cantina Vinicola Ariani
The first impression is a big, mature, funky nose wiith notes of overripe strawberries, meat stock, moist earth and some dog fur. Still clinging to life, but with air it becomes more unsound and funky. After three hours the smell of decay is strong.
The taste keeps better over time, and has a mature, dry taste with notes of lingonberries, dried raspberries, autumn leaves and canned mushrooms. Rather short. On a downward slope, but still breathing. Still drinkable after three hours if you don't smell it... The score reflects the first two hours.
Interesting enough, and something you don´t see everyday, the producer have both their adress and phone number on the label!
74p   (tasted 2014/10)

1964 Barbera Riserva Speciale, Luigi Bosca
This bottle has stood the test of time better than the previous one. The nose is big, mature and spicy with notes of lightly peppered raspberries, bonfire, orange peel and autumn leaves. This keeps well in the glass. Not deep and complex but soundly mature and good.
The taste is medium bodied, dry and mature with notes of dried raspberries, dusty earth, smoke and forest floor. Reminds me of a mature, simpler Burgundy. A high acidity in the medium long finish. This is actually drinking pretty well. Not a fine wine by any standards, but a sound, mature wine that went down well with a creamy chicken dish.
81p   (tasted 2014/10)


  1. OK....what quantity of those wines are you ready to drink...?
    Maybe half a glass each.....
    I actually like Barbera when it is 3-4 years old.....with good fruits, and acidity ....can push down my sausage dish....

    1. Gallons of course! :-) No, that´s just right, one or two glasses, than I open something else. But fun to taste all the same!

  2. Joakim! You have gone off the deep end with birth year vino! Kudos..... And while you're "inventing" friends for some 1964 St. Emilion, how about we arrange a cross ocean tasting one day. This is craziness! Salute!

    1. Thanks John! :-) You know, imaginary friends don´t drink as much, so I get more for myself....
      Would love to - any suggestion?

  3. Yes, if you come to New York or New Jersey, let me know and I will put something together. If I get to Scandanavia, we will chat. I was just in Copenhagen, so you never know.