2015 was warmer than normal for Washington State, with January through August ranking as the warmest on record. Although harvest started early with some Chardonnays getting picked late August, Sagemoor Vineyard was not overly impacted by the early-season heat. The vineyard is located close to the Columbia River and greatly benefits from the cooling effect of the river, which allows for full flavors at reasonable brix. We started making Barbera from Sagemoor vineyard in 2006 and used to harvest mid-October but now that the vines are established we find that we pick a bit earlier. In 2015, we harvested our Barbera on September 25, and it was flavorful and vibrant!
Barbera is extremely difficult to grow, it is a high producer that needs space, a little like a boy getting tall and not knowing what to do with his big body. It takes the correct site and a dedicated vineyard manager to allow Barbera to express its full potential. Kent Waliser, Lacey Lybeck, and the crew at Sagemoor vineyard are the perfect match for the varietal. They use a one cluster per shoot rule to make sure not to over crop and stress the plant needlessly, as the clusters are already big. Furthermore, the soils are very sandy at Sagemoor which allow the plants to struggle a bit, controlling the vigor and intensifying flavors.
We started making Barbera in 2006 out of curiosity, and really loved the varietal. It has become a staple of our club and it's been exciting to see how the wine has grown over the years as the vines age. Little intervention is needed for Barbera, it ferments easily and we bottle early to keep all the fresh berry flavors and the vibrancy, the key is to get the grapes ripe but not overripe. We used predominately neutral oak to preserve the aromas and flavors of the grape and allow the characteristics of the variety to shine.
Vibrant, fresh and uplifting, bursting with berries.
NOSE: clove, nutmeg, white pepper, blueberry
MOUTH: tart blackberry pie, bing cherries and cranberry
PAIRING: pork loin, dark meaty mushroom, eggplant parmesan