2019 WHITE LABEL CERES HILL BARBERA
Margan Barbera was the variety that established us as ‘pioneers of alternative varieties’. Andrew is a big fan of Italian varieties and we researched this grape to see if it would work here in the Hunter. Back in the late 1990’s the region mainly had the standard line up of iconic Hunters – Semillon, Shiraz and also Chardonnay- and we wanted to see what else would work. Barbera originates from the North West of Italy and we were the first to plant this red grape here in 1998. It’s a long story but the clone we have planted is an Italian original and produces wines of true varietal definition and Italian personality.
Small bunches and intensely flavoured fruit with bright aromatics were a characteristic of the 2019 vintage, resulting in beautifully ripe and healthy fruit that we handpicked early February. Fruit quality was exceptionally high.
Our Barbera vineyard was planted In 1998 with cuttings from an original Italian clone on our Ceres Hill vineyard, just behind the winery on a streak of red volcanic soil. The great thing about Barbera is that it holds its acidity while achieving full flavour (phenological) ripeness making It very suitable to growing In the changing climate.
We hand pick the grapes at optimal ripeness and ferment under cool conditions using cultured, aromatic yeast. The wine was placed in a mixture of small and large older French oak barriques (225 litres) and puncheons (500 litres) where it matured for 12 months prior to bottling.
The wine is vivid purple in its youth with lifted aromas of red fruits- strawberry, raspberry, cherry and red current. The palate reflects the nose but also has savoury bramble berry and fresh mulberry notes. Touches of spicy star anise add extra interest and the tannins are soft and silky. The bright acidity gives a long, refreshing finish.
Titratable Acidity 7.0g/L
Residual Sugar <1g/L
It is a great food wine as the acid cuts through richer red meats like lamb. It matches well with hard cheese and is lighter in body and alcohol than many red wines.