Saturday, October 17, 2020

Mario Pelassa Piedmont Oltre, 2014

Oltre is the Italian word for "more than" or "ultra," and this wine is made to be more than Barbera by the addition of 10% Nebbiolo. The result is more than enjoyable.

The color is a beautiful ruby, much darker than Nebbiolo. The rest of the wine has more Nebbiolo traits than you might expect from a 10% blend. I don't find the beautiful aromas of Nebbiolo but the dark cherry fruit is upfront and strong along with dark spicy scents and a hint of almonds. The fruit is crunchy and attractive--dark berries as well as cherries. Both Nebbiolo and Barbera are high in acidity but Nebbiolo typically has more tannin, and Oltre has good tannic grip. Some makers boost the tannic content of Barbera with new oak; the addition of Nebbiolo might be a better option. Right now this wine is drinking beautifully.

Imported by Peloton, Pelassa Oltre offers good value (about $15 a bottle) but is somewhat difficult to find.

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