Alana scored this wine: 90/100
From the Southern Piedmont region (between Langhe and Monferrato) Cascina Galarin grows wine from typical Piedmontese varietals such as Barbera, Moscato, Nebbiolo and Freisa, and although they are recently (2016) certified organic, their winemaking history dates back to the 1700’s (1781 to be precise).
The deep roots from these old (over 50 years) vines for Tinella Barbera d’Asti offer increased uptake of minerals from the soil, their age naturally producing low yields which are further reduced by rigorous grape selection. The winery chooses to let nature to reign and does not normally practice ‘green harvesting’ (and follows an age-old tradition of bottling only during the days that the moon is waning!).
And the story behind the winery name and label? The wineries cellar, which is still used today, was handmade by the winemakers’ ancestors in 1781 and bears a carving of a rooster on its solid wood front door. ‘Galarin’, meaning ‘rooster’ in Piedmontese dialect, become the name and logo of the winery, as well as the family nickname. The winery has been a family tradition for over 200 years, and today sons Marco and Giovanni work alongside their father, oenologist Giuseppe Carosso in winemaking that aims to bring the terroir to the glass by practicing all organic methods, focusing on nature and the environment, maintaining their vineyards without the use of any herbicides or pesticides and encouraging the development of different types of grasses and plants among the vineyard rows and hazelnut groves.
Here the Cascina Galarin Tinella Barbera d’Asti DOCG Superiore 2018 is a beautiful, complex, and powerful expression of Barbera. Made with 95% Barbera and 5% Freisa, the grapes are lightly destemmed, 15 days of fermentation in steel vats with frequent pumping over followed by a further 15 days with the skins before being transferred into barrels for its malolactic fermentation and aged 2 years in small oak barrels before being bottled unfiltered (during the waning moon).
Dark ruby red in colour, its aromas are fruit forward when first poured (a bit too cool from the cellar) with raspberry, blackberry and dark cherry but then evolves to leather, gingerbread and earth as it warms. With a full-bodied palate of fruit, pepper, spice, and dark chocolate; it has crisp, present acidity, rich, firm but balanced tannins (more than you would expect for Barbera) and a long finish. It’s smooth, balanced, and complex. It’s the reason Barbera d’Asti is gaining both in reputation and price and no longer considered a second fiddle to Barbera d’Alba. It has the structure to age, but it’s beautiful now.
Lamb, grilled meats, duck confit and game would all pear beautifully with this stunning example of Barbera.
David’s first product line was theirs, chosen for the unwavering focus on quality, winemaking approach, and consistent delivery of premium wines. Through his agency, David Francis Wine, David carries a small, but beautifully curated and original selection of wines from Italy, Spain, Moldova and Quebec. He’s chosen each one for a reason and is more than happy to share the stories behind each as well as why they made it into his offering! I was lucky enough to meet him recently and to taste through a selection of wines that reflect what he does with his young (2 years) agency: have a limited, different, high quality selection of wines at price points ranging from $15 - $45.