We decided to extend the range of First Drop wines as they never disappoint and we are adding this Barbera/ Nebbiolo blend. Growing Italian varietals is all the rage in Australia and the First Drop guys are the experts - see also their Vivo Arneis and Minchia Montepulciano.
Despite Jancis Robinson's rave review below I was expecting this to be quite big and brash for an Australian Barbera/ Nebbiolo blend but this wine surprised me with its elegance when I first tasted it in 2016 and in 2017 it is even smoother, having developed further in bottle.
The wine may need a swirl, especially if served cool, in order to release the lovely aromas - sweet cherries and spices with a hint of strawberries. It is medium-bodied with cherry & berry fruits, spice and a touch of dark chocolate with some savoury notes that linger on in the long finish. Acidity is relatively high balancing nicely with the fruit and the tannins which give a bit of backbone but do not intrude. I cannot disagree - it IS deliciously drinkable. Elegance personified!
Recommended to drink with game, goose, steak, braised beef, delicately flavoured offal, mushrooms and milder cheeses including goats' and sheeps' cheese. The producers suggest specifically porcini mushroom risotto, smoked tea duck and cured pork sausage.
"Fruit laden and structured - fun, yet serious. This wine demonstrates the perfect marriage of these two Piedmontese varieties - the fruit and acidity of Barbera melds perfectly with the savoury character and structure of Nebbiolo. Although it's an approachable style from a single vineyard near Kersbrook in the northern Adelaide Hills (340m above sea level on complex sandy clay loams over shale), it's also serious kit!
Colour: Medium brick red. Bouquet: A pungent, intricate nose of nutmeg and cloves, layered with cherry fruit and hints of cordite and cola. Palate: A beautifully balanced palate. The cherry spice and dark chocolate of the Barbera melds perfectly with the elegant leathery structure of the Nebbiolo."
16.5 points Jancis Robinson Aug 2016
"They describe this as their ‘Nebbiolo on trainer wheels’. Aged in older French hogsheads. Subtle aroma with hints of red fruit and a very slight perfume. And a touch of leather and spice. On the palate, this is absolutely delicious – the alcohol is well in balance, there’s vibrant freshness and a restrained but definite structure – the tannins are there but the bones are not protruding beyond the fruit. As it opens in the glass, it becomes more aromatic but not different from those initial impressions. Finishes both fruity and savoury – mostly savoury. Deliciously drinkable, and persistent."