Elio Altare has often been heralded as the father of modern Barolo, and rightfully so. His singular commitment to quality brought a grape that was considered somewhat lowly in the 1980’s to the iconic and age-worthy wine of kings it is known as today. That legacy continues with his daughter Silvia running the estate, continuing to produce world class wines vintage after vintage. Yet, Barolo is not the focus today, but rather the new releases of Altare’s 2018 Barbera and Dolcetto.
There is an inherent freshness, elegance, and beguiling fragrance to these wines that one will be hard pressed to find in its peers. The 2018 Barbera is a full bodied, structured offering with flavors of blackberries, toasted oak, perfumed violets, and spice. The tannins and fruit here are long and lasting with a warming quality on the palate. A natural pairing for robust dishes, stews, and aged cheeses. Plenty of power here.
Conversely, the Dolcetto is a brighter, more lifted wine that is remarkably versatile and can even do well with a light chill on it as we will Spring into being. I find the fruit profile to be red and black cherries with a definite floral component adding interest. The bright fruit is outlined by a fine splash of tannins on the finish. A gorgeous daily drinker that I think will make an excellent pairing for Chicken Marsala.
Truth be told, these world class wines have traditionally been wines I always like to keep on the shelf as every day offerings. However, availability has become limited of late and the wines have thus become allocated, with my allocation arriving this week. Elio Altare’s 2018 Barbera d’Alba retails for $21.99 a bottle and the 2018 Dolcetto d’Alba retails for $19.99 a bottle. They will come and they will go rather quickly. Let me know.