The 2019 Barbera d'Alba Vigna Francia marries elegance, power and energy. Inky blue/purplish fruit, menthol, liquorice and sage are some of the nuances that build as this creamy, textured Barbera slowly opens in the glass. The Francia is wonderfully somber and mysterious, with striking shades of dimension that reveal themselves over time. The 2019 was just bottled, but its pedigree is evident.
Drink 2024 - 2034
Antonio Galloni, Vinous.com (September 2021)
The 2019 Barbera d'Alba Vigna Francia is all about precision, power and a meticulous, orderly approach that brings new intervals of increased aromatic intensity with each sip and swirl of the glass. The wine can be characterised as exceptionally direct and frank, and these qualities are especially well executed in this classic vintage.
Barbera is cultivated at the top, and the lower parts of the Francia vineyard, and this wine carries slightly more fruit weight and structure than the Cerretta. Francia also ends with distinctly mineral or graphite-like notes with iron or rust.
Drink 2024 - 2039
Monica Larner, Wine Advocate (November 2021)
About this WINE
Roberto Conterno took full control over the running of this famous estate just outside Monforte d'Alba, Piedmont, in 2003, when his father Giovanni Conterno passed away. Giovanni was the oldest son of the winery founder, Giacomo Conterno, and initially worked alongside his brother, Aldo Conterno. In 1969 the two sibling winemakers parted ways to create their own styles of Barolo.
Roberto continues to practice the traditional winemaking techniques of the area, producing long-lived, earthy wines. The focus has been strictly on nebbiolo and barbera since their freisa and dolcetto vines were grubbed up. Roberto also stresses the importance of organic viticulture especially in the early years of the vines' growth. The estate is most renowned for its great Barolos, Cascina Francia and Monfortino Riserva. The latter is produced only in the very best of vintages and aged at least 7 years in large oak 'botti'. This is regarded as one of the finest Barolos produced today and by many as the finest wine made from Nebbiolo in the world.
Roberto has recently introduced some small wooden 'fermentini' to further improve quality.
Barbera d’Alba is a red wine made from the Barbera grape variety in the Alba region of Piedmont, Italy. It is one of the most well-known and widely produced Barbera wines in the Piedmont region and holds the prestigious Denominazione di Origine Controllata (DOC) designation.
The grape is a high-yielding variety known for its rich colour, high acidity, and low tannins. These characteristics make Barbera wines generally approachable and food-friendly, often described as lively, vibrant, and easy to drink.
The wines typically showcase red and black fruit flavours, such as cherry, raspberry, and blackberry, with some expressions exhibiting notes of plum and blueberry. The wines often have a pleasing acidity that gives them a refreshing and tangy quality. In some cases, subtle hints of spice, earthiness, and floral aromas may add to the wine’s complexity.
The oak ageing process is typical for many Barbera d’Alba wines, which can impart additional layers of flavour and texture, complementing the grape’s natural characteristics. However, some producers opt for stainless steel or neutral oak ageing to preserve the wine’s primary fruit flavours and freshness.
Barbera d’Alba is versatile when it comes to food pairings. Its bright acidity and medium body make it a fantastic match for various dishes. It pairs excellently with Italian cuisine, such as pasta dishes, risotto, pizza, and roasted meats. The wine’s acidity also allows it to pair well with more decadent and fatty foods, making it an excellent choice for savoury dishes.
While Barbera d’Alba is often overshadowed by the more renowned Barolo and Barbaresco wines of the Piedmont region, it remains a beloved and cherished wine among locals and enthusiasts. Its combination of approachability, versatility, and excellent value makes it an appealing choice for everyday enjoyment and a delightful introduction to the wines of Piedmont.
Barbera is planted extensively in Piedmont and south-west Lombardy and accounts for over 50% of the wine produced in the region. The majority is sold simply as Barbera del Piemonte, but the best wines are the DOCs, Barbera d'Alba and Barbera d'Asti. It ripens late (after Dolcetto but before Nebbiolo).
The wines are usually ruby red in colour with notably low levels of tannins. They have a pronounced acidity that can be accentuated by overproduction. Barbera wines range from light, tart mouthwashers through to powerful, intensely flavoured wines that require extended cellaring.