Thursday, February 11, 2010

Famiglia Marrone Barbera 2008


 I was feeling lucky with Trader Joes after the pretty good 15$ Fronsac...so I picked up the 03 Montagne-Saint Emilion (we'll drink that tonight...stay tuned if you're really that interested) as well as this wine, which was 8$. Interestingly, this isn't from Alba, and is  labeled in a pretty generic fashion. I've got to assume that this is a mish-mash wine from all over, and probably doesn't really have "the best" of what Barbera has to offer. Initially on the nose, it's really woody (Ron Jeremy proportions, I think). Eventually, it opens up to reveal a lot of toast, some earth, and some of the typical bright cherry that I have come to expect from Barbera based wines. Not particularly rustic, but also not too polished. In other words, this is in a no man's land as far as Barbera is concerned. It doesn't have all the bite that goes so fantastically with big, rustic, tomatoey dishes, but it's also missing the polish, structure, and cherry laden luster of a more modern barrique-aged wine. It's boring. It goes ok with  food (chicken parmigiano, if you must ask), but it's nothing to write home about. Sarah likes it more than me. Just looking back on some of the more satisfying Barbera's I've had recently; the Valpane imported by Kermit Lynch comes to mind. The Valpane was one dollar more than this, but kicked its' ass. This wine is a D+/C- for the price. 

5 comments:

CabFrancoPhile said...

I had this one last weekend at a wine tasting (well, more of a wine drinking). I felt exactly the same way: OK, not flawed, but nothing special. I was pleasantly surprised that it was easy to drink given it's a TJ's wine and has a generic Piedmont appellation.

Jeff said...

Thanks for letting me know. I thought this was a confused wine. What I really don't get is why would TJ's have this wine on the shelf for Barbera? I've had a lot of Barbera that's under 10$ that delivers a whole lot more. Plus, for any neo-phyte wine drinkers out there, if they get this bottle, they're not really going to get what's cool about Barbera, and they're probably not going to be returning to it. Even if they have an "American" palate, they're going to be turned off by this wine. Like I said, stylistic no-man's land.

Josh said...

I randomly purchased a bottle of this wine last year from TJ's, went home, opened it, drank it, and immediately (well not immediately as I am not promoting drinking and driving) went back to TJ's and purchased a case. I think this is a great wine. I've had quite a few people taste it and it's always a hit. Now, I'm no wine expert, especially of the Barbera variety, but I drink my fair share of wine, and I think this is pretty good. If you didn't know this was a Barbera (and weren't comparing it to other Barberas), would you change your mind about its like-ability?

Jeff said...

Interesting to get another point of view...Greg and I felt pretty similar about this wine. TJ's is (in)famous for being inconsistent. Maybe I got a bad bottle or something? There's a good chance of that, I think.

Anyways, part of the way that I look at things is value, and there are a lot of better Barbera's for 10$ out there, IMHO. Looking at all wine, I don't think that I would pick this one out either with stuff like the Chariot for 5$, or the Perrin Cotes du Rhone for 7$, or the 7$ Valdepenas I had recently. That's just my opinion though, and it is by no means infallible. I drink what I like...you obviously do too. And like I said, I don't think this wine is BAD per se, it's just boring and trying too hard to be all things to all people.

Jeff said...

Oh shit--two more things: I forgot about the Big House Red for 3.25 a bottle in the Octavin...and then just an observation. Isn't it funny that anytime someone writes "IMHO" they aren't actually being humble? They're really being a pompous ass. It's sort of like a terrible ironic joke...