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2021 Elvio Cogno Barbera d'Alba Pre-Phylloxera

2021 Elvio Cogno Barbera d'Alba Pre-Phylloxera

96 JD


From the critics:

95 KO

94 DEC

Critic Reviews

A rich purple in color, the 2021 Barbera D’Alba Pre-Phylloxera comes from 130-year-old vines from a single cask. It is expansive aromatically, with a perfume that offers more spice in its notes of black pepper, blackcurrant liqueur, and lavender, giving it an almost Syrah-like character. A very special wine, it fills the palate with plummy fruit and cleans up with dark minerals. Full-bodied without being weighted, this is a wine with more aging potential, although it is outstanding now. Drink 2023-2040.

Jeb Dunnuck | 96 JD
From one of the oldest vineyards in Italy, and one of the very few in all of Europe that survived Phylloxera, the remarkable Cogno 2021 Barbera d’Alba Pre-Phylloxera offers a rare glimpse of what wines made on their original rootstock can offer. Hailing from a small plot of vines well over one hundred years old, it has balsamic aromas of camphor and new leather that mingle with ripe dark-skinned fruit, violet and tobacco. Full-bodied and boasting a weightless concentration, the savory palate delivers ripe black cherry, blood orange, white pepper and licorice alongside enveloping, refined tannins. Thanks to vines planted 520m above sea level, it also boasts vibrant acidity and energy. What a fantastic wine. Drink or hold through 2031. Abv: 14.5%

Kerin O’Keefe | 95 KO
Elvio Cogno produce just 1,800 bottles annually of this Barbera d’Alba, made from 0.25ha of 140-year-old vines in Berri near La Morra, on chalky, sandy soils. Like the ‘standard’ Barbera d’Alba, it’s vinified in stainless steel and aged in Slavonian oak casks for 12 months, yet here the result is more complex and more concentrated: pure hedgerow berry and violet scents adorn a palate full of sweet, ripe black cherry, with notes of cream, coffee and tar in the background. The finish is long and freshly balsamic, carrying more of that gorgeous violet-infused fruit.

Decanter | 94 DEC

Wine Details for 2021 Elvio Cogno Barbera d'Alba Pre-Phylloxera

Type of Wine Italy Red
Varietal Barbera : The country of Italy is a viticultural paradise, teeming with some of the world’s most popular grape varietals. Among this plethora of quality grapes is Barbera; once regarded as rather ordinary partly because it was so widely planted. In fact it was one of the most common Piemontese grapes and used as the everyday drinking wine on Italian dinner tables. However, “No grape has known such a dramatic upgrade in its fortunes and image in the last 20 years than Barbera in Piemonte, north-west Italy,” states the great Jancis Robinson.

Barbera vines have grown in the Piedmont region of Monferrato for centuries, where it is thought to have originated. It was traditionally used to make inexpensive, easy drinking everyday wines and grown and sold in bulk for blending. At the beginning of the twentieth century, it was the third most planted red grape in Italy with 20, 524 hectares covering the hills of Italy. The total amount of hectares grown in Italy is diminishing; however, where the quantity of vines is lessening, the quality of wine is on the rise. Barbera is encountered in both blended wines and varietals and the latter are becoming increasingly common as Italy continues its move towards varietal labeling.

The vigorous, adaptable vines of Barbera can grow in a myriad of soils from calcareous clay to limestone to sand and can withstand hot climates. Although the majority of Barbera is planted in Piedmont, it can be found in numerous appellations of Italy, including Emilia-Romagna, Puglia, Campania, Sicily and Sardinia. Because of its heat tolerance, it has also traveled beyond its native homeland, landing in South Africa, Australia, Argentina and California and is responsible for high quality wines in each of these countries. The thick-skinned, dark purple berries of Barbera grow on rootstocks that have no known incompatibilities making this feat even more possible.

Barbera d’Asti and Barbera d’Alba remain the quintessential wines of Italy, hailing from the towns of Asti and Alba. These locations have placed Barbera on the map of varietal driven markets around the world, influencing their “New World” counterparts. The wines made from Barbera are juicy, relatively light bodied despite its deep, bold purple color and is extremely drinkable due to its refreshingly high acidity, low tannins and moderate alcohol. This once common table wines has been elevated to a new standard and is being recognized as one of the great varietals of Italy, alongside the esteemed Sangiovese and Nebbiolo.

Country Italy : Italy is renowned as one of the world’s greatest gastronomic havens; from certified Prosciutto di Parma to the sea-side seafood eateries on the island of Sicily. However, this epicurean experience could not possibly be as hedonistic without the ethereal combination of the country’s plethora of fine wines. It seems unfair that a nation should be able to boast, both, some of the world’s greatest cuisine as well as its greatest wines. Italian wine is one of the most sought after in the world, and has become the second most produced in the world, behind only France.

Stretching an impressive 736 miles from northern Italy to the peninsula’s southern tip, the country’s geography generates an enormous array of topography, climate and soil structure. This is an extremely important quality of its winegrowing and making industry which lays claim to nearly 550 different grape varietals, which all desire their own necessities, in terms of terroir and climate.

The still red wines of Italy truly characterize the nation’s vast and expansive terroir; Nebbiolo dominates Piedmont, where Barolo and Barbaresco reign king and queen of the region’s production. Hailing from Brunello di Montalcino in Tuscany, the rockstar Sangiovese grape has become synonymous with greatness. Vin Santo sweet wines have taken on a mighty feat of competing with the glorious wines of Sauternes, and of course, Prosecco. Prosecco, located in Trieste (northeast Italy) and its creation of luxuriously effervescent styles of wine has become Italy’s answer to Champagne. The Glera grape variety, which has become synonymous with the name Prosecco, is the main ingredient and is beloved in the appellation where the village of Prosecco’s name has become world renowned.

The blurred boundary between Italy and the countries of Slovenia and Austria, where German influence still resonates through Friuli wines. The prevalence of Riesling and other such grape varietals is high in this region and have become extremely popular on today’s market.

With nearly 702,000 hectares of grapevines covering the massive and diverse landscape, Italy’s annual average of 48.3 million hectoliters of wine production is second only to France in terms of volume and Spain in terms of hectares of vines. The country is vast and overwhelming when it comes to the culinary arts, but perhaps even this is overshadowed by its production of some of the world’s most sought after wines, whether the omnipresent Chianti to the highly collectible and sought after Amarone della Valpolicalla.

Region Piedmont : Italian culture values the unbreakable bond we share with family and very few things showcase that connection quite like a shared meal. Therefore, it's only natural that wine would also take its place as an important cultural aspect. Fine Italian produce always goes well with a variety of dishes, and that makes these wines an incredibly popular choice among wine enthusiasts who appreciate a good get-together. The foothills of the Alps help define this region's significantly colder, continental winter climate, but during the summer, the conditions are similar to the region of Burgundy.

Flavor-wise, this region has a mind-boggling variety to offer. Not only is there a healthy selection of approved grapes to work with, but the soil often varies from estate to estate, letting every wine stand out. Expect to encounter powerful notes of rose petal flavor, spices, cherries, dried herbs, anise, and many more. Every bottle has a story to tell. Those of you with a tendency to hoard and collect fine wines will be especially intrigued, as Piedmont wines tend to mature extremely well, developing nuance and becoming more and more delicious as time goes on.

Subregion Barbera d'Alba


Producer Elvio Cogno

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