Wine Review: 2013 La Stupenda, Barbera by Peterson

Tonight’s occasion: 2013 La Stupenda, Barbera by Peterson, Mendocino, California. Courtesy of Casemates who invited me to review tonight’s offering. I am writing this as I begin my review. My initial impressions right out of the bottle are very dark and inky for a Barbera. Barbera typically run on the lighter, ruby side of the spectrum like a classic Sangiovese or Pinot Noir. The twist-off held a very tight seal all these years and despite its journey. Making the first pour I got hit with big spice and a hint of raisin. I typically don’t care for raisin in my wines however I am pleased to confirm this rapidly dissipated. This tells me the wine is very much alive.

I was met with a medium-to-big nose, full of subtle oak, hint of berry and at least another floral note I cannot pinpoint (lavender comes to mind, not sure why), perhaps you can help me here. A hint of minerality come through after a few hours. The attack is fairly fruit forward but restrained. Up front, as with most Barbera, the body comes with noticeable spice and acidity which easily gives way once your palate adjusts after a few sips.

After about 15 minutes the body quickly becomes buttery smooth, adding the faintest hint of caramel into the mix. The finish, without doubt is a big one, starting out hot and spicy and as it opens, develops more tannic grip albeit restrained. This is by any account a big Barbera especially at 13.9% ABV. For a single VARIETAL Barbera, it is surprisingly layered, complex and balanced. A testament to the winemaker’s craft. I can appreciate its richer tone as I feel in this case it balances out the acidity typical of the varietal. Once opened up the acidity is quickly tempered by a creamy buttery expression.

This wine shows great maturity. This Barbera is well built. It commands your attention. It is aging much more gracefully than a typical Barbera. I feel like it’s time is now. It’s a somewhat different take on Barbera from a region off the beaten path that has had time and patience to fully develop. I think it presents a tremendous value. Please visit Casemates to take advantage of this deal before it’s gone. Fred and Jamie Peterson, after twirling it for a couple hours now, I like it! Estupenda!!!

How to stock your Wine Cellar – Casemates

Ladies and Gentlemen. Today I’d like to present to you, Casemates.com. I often get comments about how my wine enthusiasm must be expensive to maintain. Well the truth is, it really isn’t that expensive. One of the main reasons for starting this blog is to show you and any aspiring winesnob that your love for wine does not necessarily have to be an expensive one. You do not have to spend a lot of money to enjoy good, great and sometimes exceptional wines.

Enter Casemates. They play no small part in my overall cellar strategy. This group dates back to mid 2000s. I discovered them when they ran Wine Woot and very quickly came to rely on them for great wines at great prices and sometimes ridiculous bargains. They now play a key role in stocking my cellar with great EDC (Every Day Consuption) wines. While the wine deals they feature are often inexpensive, this is no indication of their quality. It is not uncommon to find deals ranging between $80-$180 per case. Some of these wines have stood shoulder-to-shoulder with wines in my reserve that are 3-5 times the price. There are few things sweeter to a winesnob than opening a bottle with friends and watch their surprise when hear how little it cost. We are truly living at a great time when great wines are well within reach and Casemates is playing a key role in that respect.

Moving forward I will try to highlight deals on wines I am familiar with. If you have any questions or would like my feedback on any of their offerings, please feel free to reach out to me on Instagram (@winesnob.blog). You can also follow Casemates on Instagram (@casemateswine).

This post is not sponsored in any way by Casemates. As with all my content, it is a pure reflection of my personal experience, opinion and my desire to support those who’s work I appreciate.

EDC: 2014 Pinot Noir by Apriori Cellars

Tonight’s occasion: 2014 Pinot Noir by Apriori Cellars, Sonoma Coast. Oh this wine! Where do I start? It is a highly understated and I would dare say underrated Pinot. In contrast to most of the Pinot I review which are big bold Pinot that need to take long naps to arrive at their fullest expression, this one is made in the more traditional Burgundian style. It’s refreshing to see a delicate, light easy Pinot.

There are no overpowering notes anywhere in this wine. At 12.5% ABV it is extremely approachable. You can enjoy this wine all day and not experience any palate fatigue. You can pair it with a delicious steak or enjoy it straight. The nose is very subtle with a hint of oak, rose and berry. Of course it has that unmistakable Sonoma earth. The body is buttery and smooth with a feathery finish that almost vanishes instantly. Thank you Casemates Wine for bringing us another winner! I’m perplexed as to why I have not yet visited this winemaker in person. 🤔 I surely need to fix that soon! Great job guys!

Reserve: 2008 Bien Nacido Pinot Noir by Hitching Post

Tonight’s occasion: 2008 Hitching Post, Bien Nacido, Pinot Noir. Yes folks. I had to stop by the Hitching Post while exploring Santa Barbara wine country last year. Unfortunately I did not get a chance to really sit down and do this place justice. I ended up literally rushing through on my way out at the end of my visit. If you’ve never been to the Hitching Post, they have a mouth-watering assortment of Pinot Noir. Staggering. You would need an all-day visit to do it justice.

The Bien Nacido came highly recommended. This 2008 does not disappoint. Great earthy nose, smooth, buttery, well balanced body (especially for a Pinot of 14.5% ABV), a testament to the winemakers skill. It’s obvious this wine started off big and bold for a Pinot but has had time to balance out. It’s deep dark blood red color is the first indicator. I think a lot of folks such as myself take this place for granted until you open up your first bottle. This is my second and it is simply exquisite. Great job guys!

Reserve: 2015 Resolute by Iron Hub

Tonight’s occasion: 2015 Resolute by Iron Hub, Amador County, California. This wine inched ever so slightly ahead of their Esola Zinfandel. Both capping a respectable lineup of well built wines. It has a restrained nose with a suggestion of oak. If you don’t like big earthy noses, but like a big wine, you will like this one. It is somewhat fruit forward but not as much as one might expect from the region.

The body has a really good balance of acid, spice and fruit, quite impressive when you consider it has a 14.7% ABV. A testament to the winemaker’s craft. The finish is smooth with a healthy amount of tannic grip. It’s a great sipper, a high quality conversation wine. Several days ago I explored the obscure Italian varietal Aglianico. Little did I know I would encounter it this weekend. This is a refreshing, surprisingly approachable take on that grape. Well done guys!

Reserve: 1999 Syrah by Terre Rouge

Tonight’s occasion: 1999 Syrah by Terre Rouge of Shenandoah Valley, California. It has an elusive nose with a hint of oaky chocolate, maybe a little plum.

Once opened it almost vanishes. Body has a mature late stage balance with a hint of acidity that gently and patiently segues into the finish which is introduced by a very brief bite of spice before riding into the sunset with a final gentle wave of mild tannic grip. This wine is ripe and has been ripe for a while.

After 20 years of patiently waiting, it came right out of the bottle ready with the posture of an old sage. It needs no decanting. It is absolutely beautiful. I cannot say enough about a winemaker whose craft shows so well after so long. A bottle like this is a distinct honor, privilege and true occasion. Where were you in 1999? Now imagine where this winemaker was at the same time.

Reserve: 2012 Aglianico del Vulture by Tenuta Del Portale

Tonight’s occasion: 2012 Aglianico del Vulture by Tenuta Del Portale. Prior to just a few days ago I had no idea this varietal existed. This came as a suggestion from my newest winesnob som friend Nikki. According to Wikipedia, Aglianico is a black grape grown in the southern regions of Italy, mostly Basilicata and Campania. The vine originated in Greece and was brought to the south of Italy by Greek settlers. The name may be a corruption of vitis hellenica, Latin for “Greek vine”.

This one comes with a rich nose full of terrior minerality, leather, dirt and tobacco. It may be a bit much for some but once it opens up (for about an hour) it becomes a good conversation piece with a hint of fruit, balanced body and long lasting finish. I like wines that draw my palate off the beaten

path and prompt me to rethink my perception of what an honest wine truly is. This experience comes as no surprise from an Italian wine. Salute!