2012 Borra Vineyards Old Vine Barbera: remembering their beginning

Borra Vineyards does not bottle Barbera as a varietal wine every year, but clearly the variety is special to Steve Borra. It was the first wine Borra bottled when he established his winery in 1975. Back then Borra was the first boutique winery established in Lodi.

The Home Ranch Carrú Vineyard is now over forty years old and surrounds Borra’s Lodi tasting room. Winemaker Markus Niggli uses only free-run juice in the production of this 100% Barbera and fermentation takes place using native yeast. The wine spent 22 months in the cellar and was bottled in August 2014. We were fortunate to receive a bottle as a tasting sample.

2012 Borra Vineyards Old Vine Barbera2012 Borra Vineyards Old Vine Barbera translucent ruby in the glass with hints of black pepper and vanilla aromas. The flavors are a bit salty with cherry and  bright red fruit, black pepper and a hint of smoke. The combination of tongue-tingling acidity, silky tannins and juicy fruit flavors produces a light to medium bodied red wine that is long on flavor. ABV 14.4%. $25. Only 285 cases produced.

The translucent ruby color of this wine might lead you to expect a wine with subtle flavors. We did not find that to be the case. This wine has depth of flavor and a lighter body to boot. The flavors in this Barbera make you want to smack you lips. It’s impossible to drink this wine quietly, it’s so juicy and delicious.

The combination of lighter body, great acidity and bright fruit flavors make it easy to sip on its own, but we found it also makes a great companion to a meal.

2012 Borra Vineyards Old Vine Barbera with dinnerUnseasonably warm weather coupled with the opportunity to taste this Barbera inspired us to fire up the grill for the first time this year. We thought grilled steaks might be too heavy a choice for this pairing, so we opted for grilling pork chops. I lightly seasoned the pork chops with salt, pepper and marjoram, then Pete grilled them to perfection.

Along with grilled chops we enjoyed a potato-fennel gratin and green beans with butter and slivered almonds. Delicious.

The bright fruit flavors and brilliant acidity of the Borra Vineyards Old Vine Barbera complimented the smoky, rich, fatty goodness of the grilled meat and the potato gratin perfectly. Everyone played well together and we thoroughly enjoyed the pairing.

This taut Barbera is yet another example of the well-made wines being crafted by Markus Niggli at Borra Vineyards. Expect the unexpected in Markus’s wines. Producing a Barbera from free-run juice using native yeast fermentation is just one example of his measured winemaking approach.

He also uses varieties like Kerner, Gewürztraminer, Rieslaner, and Riesling. Under his label Markus Wine Co. you will find Nimmo — a Kerner, Gewürztraminer, Riesling, Bacchus blend that is aged in oak. It will challenge your taste buds with unfamiliar and delicious flavors.

Thanks to Borra Vineyards for the opportunity to taste this juicy, delicious Barbera. It reminded me of why I love the variety so much.


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