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1st April 2020

Time to drink the good stuff like there’s no tomorrow* #11

Bricco dell’Uccellone Barbera Braida 2006
Asti, Piemonte 14.5%

This was the original Barbera-with-bombast, created by Giacomo Bologna, in Rochetta Tanaro, in the heart of Asti. Long playing second fiddle to the Nebbiolo of nearby Barbaresco, Giacomo realised that in the right hands and with the right treatment, the Barbera grape was capable of greatness. He set out to prove himself right, and thus was the legend created. Giacomo died sadly young, but his children Raffaella and Giuseppe are running the company in a manner of which I am sure he would be very proud.

It’s rich and sweetly oaky when young - which probably accounts in part for its success - but at fourteen years old this has gained a different lacquer-like sweetness with bramble jelly, sour black cherry, woodsmoke, pipe tobacco and briar. There’s roasted coffee and dried spices too, and a sumptuous velvet texture. It’s very delicious and surprisingly youthful, and I’m looking forward to seeing how it evolves by tomorrow.

(The Uccellone of the name was beak-nosed bird-like old woman who wore black and fluttered around the hillside (bricco) vineyard. What’s in the bottle is what really matters, but how much of the success of the wine is down to her nickname, or the beautiful typography of the label, we’ll never know. But I suspect at least some.)

*There might be no tomorrow.


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