Owned by the Brezza family since 1920, the Tenuta Migliavacca has been working biodynamically since 1964 (making it the first in Italy, if we are to believe this claim.)
Situated further north than “traditional” Piedmont, they have turned their nose up at Barolos or Barbarescos, preferring to focus on secondary grape varieties such as Barbera, Grignolino and Freisa. There are seven hectares of Barbera planted to make this wine, giving a total annual production of 9000 bottles. Average vine age is 35 years. Between 12 and 15 days is the length of time for the maceration, followed by an ageing for 6-12 months in oak.
The Barbera 2012 is a full and powerful wine. The robe is dark pink, opaque. It smells crude and rustic, but in the positive sense of the words. A wee bit reductive at first, it benefited from a moment in the carafe to reveal its true character.
At first, there’s so much fruit. Strawberries, plums, blackcurrants, redcurrants, raspberries, blackberries, cherry stones and rhubarb stems. There’s a little vanilla, but mainly, it’s all about the ripe, fermenting fruit. It reminded me strongly of visiting the Piedmont area last month. With the harvest just coming to an end, the air was heavy with the smell of fermenting grapes.
As time went on, it became more meaty, more animal. One of my tasting buddies was just on the point of going out to buy some roast beef from the local deli to pair with it. A high level of acidity keeps it from going stale. It’s a very drinkable wine and at 15 euros, the price is right.
My favourite pairing was with Parra’s Boudin Noir.