La Miraja Le Masche Barbera d'Asti 2017
Blend: 100% Barbera
From: Barbera d’Asti, Piemonte, Italy
The singular wines of La Miraja have heretofore been impossible to find in the United States. The estate is nestled within the original castle of Castagnole Monferrato, constructed in the 11th century and retrofitted to serve as a cellar in the 1400s. In this armory-turned-cellar, Eugenio Gatti turns out Barbera d’Asti, Grignolino, and his fabled Ruché. A seventh-generation viticulturist, Eugenio personally tends to the oldest vineyard of Ruché in Castagnole Monferrato, the original birthplace of Ruché. It is here that Eugenio Gatti devotes his life’s work to producing 840 cases of wine each year.
Barbera ranks among Piedmont’s most prolific and lovable grape varieties. La Miraja’s bottling is a textbook example of Barbera from Asti, where the grape often produces its most complex expressions. Its fantasy name, “Le Masche,” recalls local spirits believed to be protectors of the vineyard. Their origins can be found in the Celtic and Lombard civilizations who once occupied the region now known as Piedmont. The “masche” were benevolent witches known for their herbal remedies and healing powers, though the term was also extended to describe the mischievous spirits and supernatural entities who lurked in the villages and the taverns of the area.
Estate fruit from the Majole vineyard situated at 250 meters above sea level. Majole is a legendary, high-density vineyard planted in Barbera in 1972. Southwest exposure. Calcareous-red clay soils. 5,000 vines per hectare trained in the guyot style. Only 70 quintals per hectare harvested. The hand-harvested fruit is destemmed and then crushed by basket press into stainless-steel tanks, where it remains in contact with the skins for 10 days while native fermentation occurs. Following spontaneous malolactic fermentation, the wine ages for a minimum of 12 months in neutral oak prior to bottling and release.
Taste: Intense and fragrant. Dominated by red cherry, black plum, and blackberry against a backdrop of licorice and mature rose with a delicate balsamic undertone. This medium-bodied wine marries freshness and elegance, resulting in an uncommonly complex Barbera bottling with a gentle finish.
Pairing: Barbera ranks among the very most versatile Italian red grape varieties. Lush fruit, bright acidity, and low tannin make for an easy pairing with a wide variety of dishes and cuisine. This bottling complements everything from pizza and pasta to roast chicken and Korean barbeque
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