Barbera, 1980. Montevina Amador County. Special Selection | Vintage Wine History and Information

by Paul Kalemkiarian Sr | February 1983

It has been 10 years since “Montevina Wines” was established. Walter Field, a retired banker from San Francisco should be very proud of the reputation his winery has gained. They have made news with their Zinfandels, Cabernets, Sauvignon Blancs, Montenero (a blend of Zinfandel and Barbera), and now their Barbera.

The vineyards and winery are located in the Shenandoah Valley, at the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. The elevation is 1700 feet, well above the smog, near the town of Plymouth, in Amador County. Tom Dillian is vineyard manager of the 165 acres of vines, which is part of the 450 acre estate. Wine making duties are shared by Cary Gott, (son-in-law of Walter Field), Jeff Runquist, and Jeff Meyers. All have a University of California at Davis background.

Almost all of Montevina wines are Estate Bottled. (Grapes grown, wine produced and bottled, on the premises).

The Barbera grape is an Italian grape, primari­ly grown in the Piemonte region. It has not been a grape that has attracted a lot of attention, both in Italy and here in California. At best it has been described as producing “honest” wine, with good color, plenty of bouquet, and flavor. Most of the Italian Barbera wines I have had were light and not much of a wine. The few Barbera wines that are made in California have been better. But… this Montevina Barbera is something else! It is in a class by itself. It is a great example of what the winemaker can do. Credit must also be given to the soil and growing conditions. One week after bottling, this wine won a Gold Medal at the Amador County Fair and “Best of Show” among 95 wines .

The wine is purple red in color, and practical­ly opaque. It has a very fragrant, fruity aroma of the variety. There is a penetrating berry character to the bouquet. The taste is big, with complete extractive flavor of the grape. It is full bodied and chewy. Still young, with a very dominant long finish. It is dry and well balanced for acid. Serve at room temperature (65*F) with ah!…Lasagna al Forno, or a beef casserole of your choice.

Cellaring Notes: Has ageing potential for 5 to 8 years. Will soften and mellow.

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