2017 Prie Winery and Vineyards Barbera – Paired With a Scrumptious Lasagna from Verona18

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The Winery

Quaint, small, charming may be some of the words to describe the tasting room which holds about 4-6 people comfortably. That may be a “turn off” but the reality is that the two owners John and Lisa Gash have hearts and minds the size of Texas. Originally from Livermore and working at Lawrence Livermore Labs, they understood wine from being in the beautiful Livermore Valley. Their adventure into the wine business began with Lisa starting this as a hobby. Today John and Lisa, who are “self-taught” winemakers, credit their friends and community in helping them achieve all their accolades. The two make a great “Ying and Yang” team of winemaking prowess and creativity/artistic bent.

They started officially in 2010 in Livermore sourcing grapes from the iconic Soucie Vineyard in Lodi. In 2012 they purchased the Cliff Mettler house and vineyard in Lodi. They constructed the winery and in 2015 opened their boutique tasting room.

A road less travelled would be a great theme for the wine offerings. Their goal is to source from individual vineyards (including their own) to provide an expression of the terroir of Lodi AVA and surrounding areas.

Currently Prie offers a large selection of wines (different vintages). The red wines include Cabernet Franc, Syrah, Carignane, Alicante Bouschet, Dornfelder, Counoise, Prieto Picudo, Grenache, Mourvedre, Zinfandel, Nebbiolo, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. They also offer a couple of blends and a few white wines.

Background on Barbera

Barbera, the red-headed step child of Italian descent! Yes that is how many people view Barbera wine. Yet the pedigree goes back to the 7th century as compared to the relatively “new comer” Cabernet Sauvignon which dates only to the 17th century. The production of Barbera is primarily in Italy boasting about 83% of worldwide vines. The United States accounts for the second largest production of approximately 11% and is found primarily in the Sierra Foothills, Central Valley and Santa Barbera areas. The small balance can be found in Australia and Argentina. Barbera was at one time the third most planted grape in Italy behind Sangiovese and Montepulciano.

If the aristocratic Cabernet Sauvignon is the King of Varietals, then Barbera is “wine of the people”. In northern Italy, especially in Piedmont, it does not get the same respect as Nebbiolo with prime real estate. Barbera is grown in the low slopes and valleys. Often very good Barbera can be obtained for a fraction of the price of a vintage Nebbiolo. Thus the early years of Barbera was known as a “jug wine”. When immigrants coming to the United States desired an inexpensive wine, Barbera filled the demand. Barbera is meant to be enjoyed young with intense aromas of cherries and blackberries.

The Wine

This Barbera possess a typical profile. On the eye the color is a deep crimson and medium heavy body. On the nose and palate, dark cherry, blackberries and a hint of strawberry wafts into the olfactory receptors and then the mouth discerns spices of vanilla and mild black licorice. What makes Barbera unique are the low tannins but high acidity. This makes it easy to pair with just about any meat dish, pasta or herbaceous cheeses like blue cheese. The next release is this summer and will sell for $37/bottle and is described as having aromas and tastes of red currants and dark cherries tilted towards forest and cedar notes.

The Food and Wine Pairing

Last evening our Wine & Dine Group ate at Verona18 at the Copper Valley Golf Club. Selected a pasta dish to go with this Barbera wine. Started out with a Caesar salad, hearts of Romaine, Parmigiana-Reggiano, cheese and Caesar dressing (with a little extra on the side!).

Dinner was beautiful lasagna consisting of layers of flat pasta, Bolognese, mushrooms, seasoned with ricotta and mozzarella and fresh seasonal vegetables.

And of course a scoop of chocolate ice cream for dessert!

Overall a wonderful food and wine pairing with the Barbera wine and lasagna. Verona18 hit another home run this evening.






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