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2007 Trader Joe's Reserve Barbera**
TJSbarbera.jpg Region Price Purchased Drank
Mendocino, CA $10 Trader Joe's 12/18/09
This is one of those wines I just couldn't resist buying. Domestic Barbera's are few and far between and I have been impressed with the wines released under TJs Reserve label, for the price anyway. Made from vines almost 60 years old, according to the bottle. Popped and poured, this medium, ruby-colored wine had a bright nose of ripe cherry and red berries with hints of smoke and vanilla. The palate was round with good acidity to counter the ripe fruit flavors (same as nose) along with some sweet spice and herbs on the moderate finish. Not a very complex wine and one that didn't really showcase the varietal, but was good on its own and with our red sauce pasta dinner. Well-crafted for the money, hiding its 15% abv quite well. Wish I had a few more bottles for pizza night.

2006 Imagery Winery Dry Creek Valley Barbera***
06ImageryBarbera.jpg Region Price Purchased Drank
Sonoma, CA $35 @ the winery 12/9/10
A deep, ruby-colored wine with a bright nose of red berries, plum, earth, sweet spice and hints of smoke and liquorice. The palate is full-bodied, ripe and round with well-balanced acidity and chalky fine tannins. The flavors mirror the nose with cherry liquor, plum and earth notes taking centerstage. The lengthy finish was filled with notes of smoke, cedar and vanilla. Though drinkable immediately due to the ripe fruit flavors this wine took awhile to come together and show its' full complexity and depth. Would give it another 6mos to a year in the bottle. Much more full-bodied and intense than any Italian version I've ever had. Perhaps why I liked it better. All the flavor without the varietals usual tartness and high acid. Good with and without food. Have to admit we initially bought this wine because of the sock monkey on the label. Just could not resist. Turns out the wine inside the bottle stands on its own. Not exactly the best QPR, but a well-crafted, interesting take on an Old World variety. (14.5% abv)

2006 Shenandoah Vineyards Reserve Barbera**
06shenBarbera.jpg Region Price Purchased Drank
Amador County, CA $24 @ the Winery 7/21/09
A medium-ruby colored wine with a bright nose of ripe red fruit and black cherry along with notes of sweet spice and cedar. The palate is medium-bodied with well-balanced acidity and flavors of plum, cherry, mocha and notes of caramel on the medium finish. While not overly complex, this was a good expression of this varietal. Though riper than any true Italian version, it still had the proper amount of acidity to keep up with our tomato-based meal. Using all estate grapes that are organically grown, this wine has splashes of Syrah and Sangiovese and comes in at a moderate (for CA) 14.4% ABV. I remember visiting this winery in the late 90s and loving this wine. Glad to see not much has changed. A bit more structure and complexity would have garnered another star. As is, it's a well-crafted wine, I think most people will enjoy. (595 cases)

2006 Vietti Barbera d'Asti "Tre Vigne"**
viettibarbera.jpg Region Price Purchased Drank
Piedmonte, Italy $18 K&L Wines 10/15/10
Medium bodied, ruby-colored wine with a moderate nose of ripe cherry, earth, herbs and a hint of vanilla. The palate is medium-bodied with high acidity and moderate tannins with flavors that reflect the nose along with additional notes of coffee and pepper on the fairly short, dusty finish. Aerated to open up the wine, but it still may be too tart for some. Riper on the nose than on the palate this wine actually showed much better with food (as expected), complementing our meal quite well. Without was just too acidic to be really enjoyable. It's a well-crafted wine year in and year out that seems to be gaining depth with vine age (now 10+ years) and showcases what Barbera is all about. Whether you like what it delivers is a different story. I did, husband didn't. (14% abv)

2005 Cascina Val del Prete Barbera d'Alba Serra de Gatti*
cascina.jpg Region Price Purchased Drank
Piedmonte, Italy $15 Woodland Hills Wines 11/20/08
Medium bodied, ruby/garnet colored wine with bright cherry, raspberry and earth aromas with a hint of oak on the nose. The palate is a bit bitter and acidic at first with red fruit, earth and leather flavors and moderate tannins. It was fruitier with food, but the finish was too short to give the wine much power or interest. A solid effort, but it's just not complex enough to be more than ordinary. Though well-crafted, I was hoping for more depth of flavor in this price range.

2005 Josetta Saffirio Barbera d'Alba**
josettaBarbera.jpg Region Price Purchased Drank
Piedmonte, Italy $25 Red Carpet Wine 1/28/09
Medium bodied, ruby-colored wine with red cherry, blackberry, leafy aromas and hints of oak and vanilla. The palate is bright with acidity and moderate tannins with red and black fruit, notes of smoke, oak and vanilla on the moderate finish. Well-crafted with more ripeness than most versions and a nice balance between the spice and fruit. Wished it had a bit more complexity and depth of flavor at this price point, but still a very elegant and distinct wine. I just couldn't resist the gnome on the label.

2005 Podere Ruggeri Corsini Barbera d'Alba**
poderebarbera05.jpg Region Price Purchased Drank
Piedmonte, Italy $15 K&L Wines 5/22/09
A medium-deep, ruby-colored wine with a nose of ripe red fruit, smoke and sweet spice with hints of violets. The palate was medium-bodied and not as ripe as the aromas suggest though pleasing with soft, integrated tannins and flavors of raspberry, cherry and plum with notes of earth and smoke on the dusty, lingering finish. Not a complex wine, but a well-crafted one that unites the fruit and earth flavors in a subtle and delicious way. We didn't even have to aerate this wine – just popped and poured – which was a surprise for an Italian bottle. If you want to try a good barbera without breaking the bank seek this one out.

2005 Scott Harvey Barbera**
scottharvey.jpg Region Price Purchased Drank
Amador County, CA $20 Gift 2/16/08
Subtle aromas of dark berries and violets. Ruby colored and medium bodied with bright flavors of cherries and plums, ripe tannins, crisp acidity and hints of smoke and vanilla on the finish. I expected more oomph from this wine since it's from CA. Quite elegant and well-structered. Drank better with dinner, which helped bring out the fruit.

2005 Vietti Barbera d'Asti "Tre Vigne"**
viettibarbera.jpg Region Price Purchased Drank
Piedmonte, Italy $18 K&L Wines 2/14/08
Medium bodied, red-tinged purple in color with ripe, red cherry aromas with hints of mineral and vanilla. Tight at first with bright acidity that mellowed as the night went on. The palate was filled with dusty tannins and red fruits with a touch of smoke. A nice wine for the price, but I wasn't blown away. Might have been better if we decanted it for about an hour.

2003 Fantino Barbera d'Alba Vigna dei Dardi*
fantinobarbera.jpg Region Price Purchased Drank
Piedmonte, Italy $20 Woodland Hills Wine Co. 9/3/08
A pale, garnet-colored wine with subtle aromas of earth, red fruit and herbs. The mouthfeel is light-medium bodied with moderate tannins and bright acidity along with flavors of bitter cherry, sweet spice and cedar with a dusty finish. There was just not enough fruit to counter the acidity, making this wine hard to enjoy. I enjoyed the rustic, earthiness of it, I just wish it had softened out a bit more.

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**** Outstanding | *** Delicious | ** Enjoyable | * Drinkable
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