2016 Michele Chiarlo Barbera d’Asti Le Orme

Seems odd that a bit of Italy that produces grapes with tannins to make stewed English tea look wimpy can also value a variety with virtually none. Sweet blackberries, toffee and an earthy stone flavour. Blood orange both in flavour and acidity. Synesthesia suggests purple and blue. It’s a strange perception but there it is. After a lot of stern tannin recently, it’s a surprisingly pleasant change for simple fresh ripe acidity to sweep clean. Roll on summer and a bowl of fresh, sun warmed tomato pasta.

13.50% alcohol. Screwcap, bravo. $20, Murphy’s direct imports gets it right now and again.

91 points.

2018 Trediberri Barbera d’Alba

Beautifully labelled with art by a local Langhe artist, one of whose prints brightens the living room wall. Couldn’t resist the photo. The wine itself opens nice and clean with very ripe blackberry, plums and burnt toffee. With a bit of air, there’s a touch of Piemontese soil and a bit more freshness. Thankfully the richness is buffed into shape by that mouthwatering Barbera acidity which is somehow folded into the finish and hides the warmth of alcohol. The lack of tannin helps keep the focus on the bright fruit and acid. Not sure you’d notice the 15% if the label were not so honest. Bit of a big fellow en ballet pointe.

15% alcohol, careful sips. Screwcap, yes! $24 from the importer’s own invitational website shop. Bargain.

91 points.

2017 Piero Benevelli Langhe Rosso numero 3

If memory serves, tenuous but just possible, then this is the twins from Mondo Imports own dalliance with blending? 70% Barbera and 30% Nebbiolo combine seamlessly to make an extraordinarily delicious mouthful. Exquisitely balanced poise of floral perfume, brightest red fruit and cool Langhe mineral. Maybe the warmer year has pushed the Neb to be more friendly to the Barbera? Absolutely spotless and impossible to avoid another sip. Some wine demands unraveling and thought, some just need joyful drinking. This surely is the latter but as it’s Piemonte just a bit of the former? Bravissimo, D’Anna ragazzi, best one yet.

14% alcohol. Cork. $35 and a bargain.

93 points but plus for sheer lip smacking glee.

2016 Bruno Rocca Barbera d’Alba

Modernist, sweetly fruited and with a bit of lift to tickle the fancy. Very ripe, clean and crunchy cherries and plums but with just enough Langhe earthy stones and rocks to cut across. Slick and svelte but its roots still firmly in the Piemontese soil. Perhaps a bit more savouriness and austerity would be good. Nonetheless delicioso. The Bordeaux shaped bottle indicates the move away from rustic traditions perhaps? Bowl of tomato sauced pasta? Essential.

14.50% alcohol. Cork. $42.

91 points.

2016 Vietti Barbera d’Asti Tre Vigne

The name Vietti and Barbera are a delicious combination. The usual impeccable cleanliness and depth here. Bright and dark, tangy and just sweetly ripe berries with that Piemontese graphite rocky cut. A mouthwatering tug of fine acidity and enough rasp of tannin make another mouthful as important as simultaneous food in the belly. Oddly a relatively straightforward wine but compelling too. Armani suit for a Uniqlo dressed drinker.

14% alcohol. Diam, good. $48.

92 points.

2016 G D Vajra Langhe Rosso

Really fresh, pure and crunchy red fruits with the flowers and bass of Nebbiolo stretching the spectrum of flavour. A blend it seems of Nebbiolo, Barbera, Dolcetto with tiny bits of Freisa, Albarossa and surprise, Pinot Noir. First day of cracking the screwcap and the Nebb shows most, bit of a dull red colour and rusty flavour. Three days later, no hint of oxygen causing any damage. The colour actually deepened to bright red and the other components filled out the middle with beautifully poised, clean, red fruits like cherry, strawberry and raspberry. Some almond, spice and tar too. Mouthwatering acidity and a drag of Nebb tannin. Blimey, the Vajras are making such succinctly delicious stuff now. 2016 a star of a year.

13.50% alcohol. Screwcap, yes! $30 bargain!

94 points.

2016 Vietti Barbera d’Alba Tre Vigne

Impeccable Vietti again. Sweetly ripe enough for immediate appeal but still plenty of  geological Piemontese..er…rocks, minerals. Poised acidity and a perfect tweak of very tasteful oak flavour and tannin. Fruit flavours are dark cherry and sort of red plum. Really would normally go for Dolcetto but Vietti put such care into Barbera it’s hard to say no when a Conad supermercato has just one bottle left.

14.00% alcohol. Diam! 12.50 euros believe it or not.

92 points.