Wine Review: 2011 Ettore Germano – Vigna della Madre – Barbera d’Alba Superiore

As some of you have probably noticed, I took a creative break. I needed some time to think about Vino in Love, blogging and what I want to do. Even though I took a few smaller breaks since I launched Vino in Love in May of 2012, I had felt the need to take a longer time out. I started the blog to keep track of my tasting notes. This is why I want to make wine reviews the main focus of Vino in Love again. It’s also what I enjoy writing the most.

It will probably take me a little to get a regular blogging routine again but I plan to blog at least once per week (with no foreseeable breaks in the near future). I also updated the theme to WordPress’s Twenty Fifteen theme, which seems to emphasize the content of the blog more than the old theme did but I haven’t really decided yet if I will keep this one or not.

Let us now change the subject and let’s talk about wine. After all this is a wine blog, in case you forgot in my absence. Today’s wine comes from Alba, Piedmont.

Alba is a town in northwestern Piedmont, a region which is better known as Langhe. The hilly Langhe cover a territory that also includes Barolo and Roero.  If white truffles are your first association with Alba then I can’t blame you. They are delicious in many ways with pretty much everything. However, Alba is also known for red wine. For Barbera in particular but also for Dolcetto. Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to taste over 70 highly rated  Italian wines at a Munich trade fair and one of the wines that stood out was the 2011 Ettore Germano Vigna della Madre Barbera d’Alba Superiore. I bought two bottles and had to uncork one the following evening. The other one I opened last night. They didn’t last for a very long time in my cellar.

Ettore Germano is a small producer located in Serralunga d’Alba. I recently fell in love with many of their wines including a Riesling, which I plan to blog about in a future post. Riesling from Piedmont you say? You’ll be surprised how good it can be! Anyways, Germano was founded in 1856 with a vineyard area of just 4 hectares. Over the decades the size slightly increased and in present day Germano grows grapes on about 20 hectares.

Serralunga d'Alba

Vineyards near Serralunga d’Alba. Photo credits: Lenz Moser. License: CC-BY-ND.2.0

Vigna della Madre is produced with 100% Barbera from a single vineyard (1 hectare) with the same name. The vines were planted in 1978 and only 9.000 bottles are produced every year. The grapes are harvested in early October and after the alcoholic fermentation the wine ages for about twelve months in oak casks. Vigna della Madre is classified as Barbera d’Alba Superiore DOC.

The wine was opened roughly 45 minutes prior to drinking it.

2011 Ettore Germano Vigna della Madre

2011 Ettore Germano Vigna della Madre

In the glass, the wine had a ruby red color with garnet hues. The label listed alcohol by volume was 14.5%. Beautiful nose which opened with blueberries, blackberries and red cherries, followed by some vanilla, pepper and other spices.  On the palate, Vigna della Madre was dry, very harmonious and elegant. Fresh with  light acidity. Great balance. Silky tannins with notes of forest fruit and a little bit of dark chocolate. Lingering aftertaste.

4 / 5 stars      

To be honest, I have many times been disappointed by Barbera. Often the acidity is too dominating but that was before I tried Ettore Germano Vigna della Madre. This is an excellent Barbera d’Alba that paired well with a classic walnut risotto followed by a selection of medium-aged cheese.

Vigna della Madre retails in Munich for €21. Find it on Wine Searcher. Availability of this wine is limited but if go to Verona in March then you will be able to try Ettore Germano’s selection at VinItaly, including Vigna della Madre. I personally am friend of small wineries like Germano because they  often represent their territory best and tend to stick to the local traditions and customs.

Have you tried Vigna Madre and what’s your opinion on Barbera d’Alba? Let me know in the comment section at the end of this post.

The tasting which I had attended in early February also included some of Germano’s other wines but unfortunately many of them were simply too young – especially all the Baroli. They desperately begged for more time.

February and March is traditionally the time of wine fairs and I’m especially looking forward to ProWein. Usually I attend VinItaly but this year I decided to go to ProWein instead. These two major trade shows are always just a few weeks apart, which makes it difficult for many to attend them both. VinItaly is amazing but I have skipped ProWein too many times in order to go Verona. At ProWein I’m actually representing a winery from Veneto (Villa Merighi) so my trip will also be work but nevertheless it will definitely be fun! Looking forward to try a lot of new wines from around the globe.

That’s all for today. Cheers!

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9 comments on “Wine Review: 2011 Ettore Germano – Vigna della Madre – Barbera d’Alba Superiore”

  1. talkavino Reply

    Good to have you back, Julian. The new format looks clean, but I’m honestly not sure if it is my favorite. And it would be also so nice to get the “like” button back… I personally would think about going back to the WordPress.com, unless you know that it worth trouble to use .Org

    I have a difficult relationship with Barbera – a lot more often then not, it is not my favorite wine, due to the overwhelming acidity – I’m glad you found a good one.

    • Julian Rossello Reply

      Thanks for the feedback, Anatoli. I will experiment with the design over the week. I’m not sure yet if I’ll keep it or not. I have to think about going back to wordpress.com. Many things have to be considered for that..

      Back to the wine, my relationship with Barbera is also not the best. Most Barbera are not for me but Vigna della Madre tastes different than most Barbera that I have previously tried. Maybe you would enjoy this one, too 🙂

      Cheers!

  2. Kevin Day Reply

    I agree in part with with you and talkavino about Barbera. It can be off some nights, but when it is good, it is divine. It ages surprisingly well, too. Pio Cesare, Silvio Grasso and Oddero are particularly good from Alba, and the Bruno Rocca Barbera d’Asti is nice as well, from my experience.

    • Julian Rossello Reply

      Kevin,
      Thanks for stopping by! Barbera is an interesting grape which I learned to appreciate more and more. Outside of Alba and Asti it grows also well in the Colli Tortonesi in north-western Piedmont.
      Cheers!

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