Cossetti Amartè Albarossa 2016
Clementina Cossetti is the fourth-generation winemaker at the 30-hectare San Colombano estate in the heart of Asti, where her family has been farming for well over a century. It was in 1891 that Giovanni Cossetti first built a winery, and his son Clemente began achieving wider renown for their wines in the early years of the twentieth century. Within the current vineyards, where vines are on average 30-years-old, the yields are kept low and historically Barbera has performed exceptionally.
Albarossa is a real curiosity. It was created in the Veneto in the 1930s by crossing Barbera with what was thought to be Nebbiolo, but was in fact a very obscure Ardèche variety called Chatus! Despite this error, the grape does possess similarities to Nebbiolo, including strong tannins and a deep 'tar and roses' flavour profile in the best examples. However it is rarely grown nowadays so to find one is a bit of a treat.
Cossetti's Albarossa is the business. The variety thrives on hillside sites with good sunlight and ventilation. The grapes were hand-picked, pressed and macerated for up to 20 days. Aged in cement vats for a year before bottling then further ageing in bottle prior to release.
The wine is an intense ruby-red colour with purple hints. The bouquet is clean and expressive with lightly-spiced red fruits and some distinctive floral notes. It is full-bodied, fleshy with good structure and yet a soft, nicely warming finish.