God, I love Barbera. Such a great, underestimated–often somewhat rare–variety. And the Sierra Foothills do it SO well. Beautiful clear ruby with definite purple headed into the wide, clear rim. Earthy, peppery, and decadently herbaceous in the nose, all along steely mineralific hubris, none of the heat or jammy extraction which can often be its nemesis in warmer climes. This is not to say it is lean, as thick, plump berry, chocolate, vanilla and licorice climb out of it in calculated doses.

In the mouth, near perfection. A stunningly well-made wine, clairvoyant in concentration without clogging pores with muddy thick sweetness or grainy extraction. Green herbs and quiet fruit maintain a juicy feel, keeping the acid at bay in a delicate stand-off at the Balance OK Corral. The tinges of smokiness in the nose feel right at home in the middle, warming and toasting the rich cherry without raising *barrel programme* eyebrows. Bitter as a blue-jay’s screech in the finish, methodically raspy but truly a happy song. More pepper and thinning of fruit in the finish, all par for the course with thinking-men’s versions of Barbera.

I wouldn’t change A THING about this wine. Light on its feet, packing a wallop, exquisite balance, EVERYTHING you want from an all-year drinker.

2018 LAVA CAP Barbera El Dorado Co Sierra Foothills California 14.5

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