On March 29, 2020, we posted our first article on this website, which was based on the cancellation of our March 28th wedding due to COVID-19. Like most sane people, we had no idea what to expect in the months to come. Personally, what would our risk tolerance be for dining out and traveling?

All these months later, we can confirm that our risk tolerance towards dining out and traveling has been nonexistent. Well, that is until we took the trip that forms the basis for this article.


We finally decided to rip off the Band-Aid and go on a road trip in search of cooler weather and the ability to dine outside comfortably. We booked a weeklong getaway in Ruidoso, New Mexico, where the average high in early September is 75°F and the average low is 54°F. That’s quite a change from DFW, which boasts an average high of 92°F and average low of 72°F in early September.

Before we left DFW, we set parameters for engaging with the outside world. We embraced outdoor dining; yet, we avoided dining indoors. We also avoided ridesharing. Those two rules resulted in an itinerary full of daytime adventures outside of the cabin and nighttime tomfoolery in the cabin. That's quite a change from how we would vacation in the past.


In the past, our vacations would be built around bars and restaurants. We’d map out destinations and hail a Lyft/Uber to shuttle around. Ah, simpler times. How I miss thee.

Don’t get me wrong, we had a blast on this trip. But we approached packing in a novel way due to the circumstances. With that in mind, below is Teakwood Tavern’s guide to packing for a road trip during COVID-19. If you prefer watching a video over reading, the following video summarizes most of what is below. But we recommend you continue reading if you want all of our tips and tricks.



Why go through this effort?

First, rental units rarely provide quality culinary and barware items. It’s not in the owner’s best interest to provide expensive items that may be broken, lost, or stolen, and thus require replacement. Honestly, that’s an understandable position. Yet, it’s not plausible to bring your entire kitchen and bar to make up for the rental’s inadequacies. Our packing tips focus on items that have one or more of the following attributes: enhance your experience (e.g., quality wine glasses), provide efficiency (e.g., knives), and minimize overall luggage without sacrificing luxuries (e.g., batch cocktails).

Second, COVID-19 has affected the hospitality industry and how we patron bars and restaurants. That begs the question: How do we adapt our travel habits during these crazy times?

One way to adapt is to plan on spending more time at your rental. Thus, pack with the intention of maximizing your vacation experience at your lodging. This guide does just that. The information is broken down to sections regarding bar supplies, batched cocktails, wine, kitchen supplies, food, and miscellaneous. Our hope is that you find few gems throughout this guide.

Kitchen Supplies

In our daily lives, we’re often exhausted after work and come up with excuses for not cooking. On vacation, cooking reinvigorates us because we have nothing but time. I’m not advocating for you bringing every pot and pan from your kitchen, but there are smallwares that travel well and help your efficiency in the kitchen.

Knives are the most important of all kitchenware when traveling. Even expensive rentals provide shitty, dull knives. Plus, dull knives are dangerous and inefficient. Who needs that on vacation? Not us. Since Shen and I cook as a pair, we bring two chef’s knives. A paring knife also comes in handy for certain tasks, as do kitchen shears, which are useful outside of the kitchen too.

To transport knives, we recommend purchasing a knife bag. Back in the day, we carried our knives in kitchen towels, but no more. These bags are relatively inexpensive and transport more than knives (as discussed below).



Resealable, zipper storage bags take up very little space and are clutch for leftovers. Bring multiple gallon size bags and pint size bags. Trust us, these always get used.

A sous vide might seem like an insane item to bring, but the Joule has earned its place in this travel guide. Toss a couple steaks in a Ziplock, plop the bag in the water, and get on with your vacation for a few hours without worrying about overcooking your steak. Also, it's quite small, and negates any poor performing appliances. That’s perfect vacation cooking.

If you plan on grilling or baking protein, we suggest bringing a meat thermometer. I don’t think we’ve ever come across one in all our stays.

Food

After a long drive, the last thing we want to do is fight a crowded restaurant for dinner. Still, there’s no need to pack an entire week’s worth of food. Other than the first night’s meal and a few small items, you should purchase the vast majority of your groceries at your final destination.

For the first evening's dinner, we prefer a low maintenance meal that still packs flavor bombs. A cheese and charcuterie board is a good case in point. Head to your best cheese monger and grab a few of your favorite cheeses. We recommend bringing a variety such as a goat, aged, blue, and hard. Toss in a few meats and perhaps some påté to round out the two stars of the show. A small, unopened jar of mustard doesn’t require cooling during the ride, which is a plus. When it comes to crackers, we consider the packaging because broken crackers will break your heart once it’s time to sit down and make a plate. Buy crackers that can withstand traveling. To transport the cold items, which is only the cheese and meats, a small, well-insulated cooler does the trick.



The only other mandatory food staples we bring are pepper and quality salt. Often, the rental has neither one. Or they have giant cheap containers of iodized salt, which results in me buying another unnecessary carton of decent salt. Now, I fill a small kitchen container with salt. A small, inexpensive disposable black pepper grinder is also a highly appreciated addition.

While not quite making the mandatory list, we often bring a small (e.g., 5 ounce) bottle of olive oil. It no longer shocks me that a renovated kitchen with beautiful fixtures is not stocked for actual cooking.

If you bring a sous vide, consider bringing vacuumed sealed proteins. We buy steaks the day before departure, seal them, and freeze them for the journey. Then you let them thaw in the fridge overnight, and bam, gourmet dinner on night #2.

Bar Supplies

Before we discuss wine and cocktails, let’s talk supplies: everything from glassware to vacuum pumps for open bottles of wine!

We love glassware, whether it be for wine or cocktails, because glassware enhances our enjoyment. Glassware improves the taste of wine, and we appreciate how amazing cocktails look in a coupe or Nick & Nora glass. Shen and I usually bring four wine glasses and two cocktail glasses. For wine, this allows us to enjoy two wines at once (e.g., a red and white with dinner). For cocktails, we don’t double fist often enough to necessitate a second set of cocktail glasses. Or, at least I'm not going to admit it publicly.



To transport glassware, we recommend two options. First, if you’ve retained the original box that encased the glassware when you bought it, then you can use that to transport the glasses. If you’re a normal person (i.e., not like us), then you likely don’t store original boxes. What to do then, huh? Well, that's when you buy a glassware travel bag, like this one from Riedel. Beyond vacations, we use our Riedel travel bag for dinners at local BYOB restaurants. Maybe not so much recently, but it will be there when we need it again. Hopefully, sooner than later.

Other wine tools that we pack include a waiter’s corkscrew and a vacuum pump with bottle stoppers. Nothing is more frustrating than bringing a kick-ass bottle of juice with you on vacation and then finding yourself holding a wine opener that is a relic from the 1930s. I’m all for vintage, but not at the expense of pulverizing a cork into a million pieces and watching those pieces float in the wine. Plus, a waiter’s corkscrew takes up very little space. But what happens when you don’t finish that bottle of wine? That’s where the vacuum pump and stoppers come into play. As we discuss below, we firmly believe that you should bring exciting wines on vacation. So don’t let those opened wines oxidize. Pump the wine and have the confidence to open it later on the trip knowing that it is still in good shape.


For making cocktails, we bring a stainless-steel shaker, strainer, and jigger. While a shaker is generally used for, wait for it, shaking drinks with ice, it can also tackle stirred drinks. For the latter, we use the large tin in lieu of a mixing glass. The strainer is useful for both shaken and stirred drinks so that you can separate the cocktail from the ice. Lastly, a jigger is essential for measuring your cocktail ingredients properly.

If you plan on using citrus in your cocktails, then a citrus press is a fantastic tool to bring. Remember, juice is best fresh! Plus, you can maximize juice extraction with a citrus press.

Other miscellaneous items that you could bring, but aren’t as important as those stated above, are a bar spoon (that cabin must at least have a spoon, right?), a channel knife, and vegetable peeler.

Lastly, we transport all of these bar tools in the same knife bag that we discussed above.

Batch Cocktails



Batch cocktails are a genius way to enjoy quality cocktails without lugging your entire home bar. The picture above reflects the three batch cocktails we brought (minus a few consumed drinks). Compare those three bottles to the nine (seven bottles of liquor and two bottles of bitters) that it would have taken if we made those cocktails on site. Talk about saving space without neglecting your cocktail game!


Batching cocktails is not inherently complicated, but there are a few components you must master to pull this trick off. Lucky for you, we wrote an entirely separate post all about batched cocktails here.


Wine

While variety is paramount when packing wine for a trip, there are a few considerations to make when selecting wines. Considerations like alcohol by volume (ABV) and specialty bottles will guide you to a memorable wine vacation.

ABV is our biggest concern. And not because we are scared of getting drunk. Rather, we prefer lower alcohol wines earlier in the day or without food and higher alcohol wines with food. Thus, we bulk up on medium alcohol (i.e., between 11% and 13.9% ABV) wines. Still, there is always room for a few high alcohol (i.e., 14% ABV and above) wines.


Vacation is a perfect time to pop that bottle(s) you’ve been saving for a special occasion. Trust us, it will taste that much better when it’s enjoyed in a state of leisurely bliss. This doesn’t mean that you have to break the bank. If you're normal, everyday wines are in the $15-$25 range, then splurge on a few $25-$35 bottles.

Miscellaneous

The following items might take a backseat to those stated above, but they are worth bringing. Hydration packs help you recover faster after a solid day of drinking. Skip the emergency room, and a case of E. coli or salmonella, by bringing a clean sponge. I don’t know what the last person was using that sponge for, and I don’t want to find out. A digital media player (e.g., Amazon Fire TV) allows you to easily steam your favorite TV shows on the road (without the worry of forgetting to log out). Games, like cards, hardly take up any room and bring hours of fun. A small, portable speaker provides ambiance.

Final thoughts

Do I expect that everyone will follow these steps verbatim? Hell no. Only a crazy person would pack like this. Well, a crazy person and his equally crazy wife.

Still, my hope is that every reader departs this page with one new tip that will enhance his/her next vacation. If you are an oenophile, maybe traveling with glassware resonates with you. If you love to cook, a knife bag might be in your future.


Regardless of what tip makes the most sense to you, I wish you safe and incredible travels. But seriously, if nothing else, bring hydration packs.


Sending crazy, but hydrated, love from the road,


John

  • The Reynas


We are passionate about entertaining guests. Whether it be an intimate dinner party or a college football watch party, sharing our hospitality with friends and family is our love language. And while we strive to provide amazing cocktails to our guests, we don’t want to do it at the expense of spending time with them. Therein lies the host’s conundrum.

But fear not, Teakwood Tavern reader! You can flaunt your cocktail game without playing bartender all night. Just follow these tips.

Multiplying Recipes

At their core, batch cocktails are scaled up versions of single-serving cocktails. Basically, take the single serving recipe and multiply it by the number of servings you want to batch. I realize that doesn’t sound daunting nor worthy of an entire article; however, to batch properly, there are essential techniques to comprehend.

Glass Bottles

Batch cocktails do not require fancy bottles. Mason jars are fine. An empty liquor bottle that has a screwcap lid works too. If it's glass and you can seal it, you can put a batch cocktail inside.

Other than sealing, the other bottle consideration is size. Try to limit the remaining air space after filling the bottle because certain ingredients, like aromatized wines and citrus, oxidize.

Measurement

Here’s the most important batch cocktail rule: measure your ingredients carefully. Following recipes precisely results in perfect batch cocktails. Adding too much or too little of certain ingredients can drastically alter a batch cocktail recipe. Take your time, it will be worth it.


The Wedding Bouquet cocktail, a Teakwood Tavern original.

We batched this for our wedding.


Dilution

Water is a key ingredient in almost all cocktails. Usually, a bartender adds water through his/her shaking or stirring the drink with ice. Not only does this process chill the beverage, but the water dilutes the drink. Sure, there are cocktails, like Bobby Heugel’s The Brave, that don’t require dilution. But that’s not the norm. Dilution is also important for decreasing a drink’s proof and softening any citrus or sweetener.

If you plan to stir/shake each drink with ice to order, then skip to the next section. You will add dilution to the batch cocktail through the shaking or stirring. On vacation when it’s only Shen and me, we prefer this batch method. But when we’re entertaining a large crowd, we switch to the dilution method (i.e., adding water to the batch).

The dilution method is preferred for entertaining because your guests can pour directly from the batch container to their glasses. Stated alternatively, by adding dilution to the batch, your guests skip the stirring/shaking exercise.

We recommend using filtered water; however, if your local water is delicious, then use that.

There are two processes used to determine how much water to add, giving each drink the proper amount of dilution. The best part of experimenting with both processes is taste testing the cocktails. That’s my kind of test taking!

Delta process


Make a single serving cocktail and compare the beginning volume of the pre-chilled, pre-diluted ingredients to the ending volume of the chilled, diluted cocktail. For example, if you make our house Martini, then you would combine 2 ounces of gin, once ounce of dry vermouth, and a dash of orange bitters to a mixing glass, stir with ice for 20 seconds, and strain into a measuring cup. What began as 3 ounces of ingredients (a dash of bitters won't register in volume for the purpose of taste testing a single drink) is now, after chilling and diluting, a more voluminous cocktail. That additional volume is your model volume of dilution per cocktail serving.


To test, prepare a single sample with the water you calculated in a small sealable bottle (e.g., mason jar), and chill it in your freezer for 2 hours. Then serve up and taste. Does it need more or less water? If more, then add in small increments until your reach the desired consistency. If you think it needs less water, well, you get to try this experiment again.

Percentage process

In Maggie Hoffman's book, Batch Cocktails: Make-Ahead Pitcher Drinks for Every Occasion, she outlines the percentage process. Beyond this process, it’s a wonderful book that confirmed a lot of the previous batch cocktail experiments we undertook for parties. I highly recommend it if you want some tried and tested batch cocktail recipes.

According to Maggie, drinks that are served up, without ice, in a coupe or Nick & Nora glass, require the addition of water between 17 and 25% of the drink’s total volume before dilution. Going back to our 3-ounce Martini recipe, the amount of water for proper dilution would be between one-half to three-quarters of an ounce. To test, make a single sample cocktail with the 17% of water added, in a small sealable bottle (e.g., mason jar), and chill it in your freezer for 2 hours. Then serve up and taste. If it needs more water, then add in small increments until your reach the desired consistency.


Maggie also determined that drinks served on the rocks require less dilution added to the batch because the ice in the glass will melt. She recommends between 10 and 15% of the drink’s total volume before dilution for built drinks. When you taste test batches that are served over ice, remember that your first sip will be different than your last sip because the ice in the glass continues to melt. This is contrary to drinks served up, which receive no additional dilution from ice in the glass. For this reason, drinks served up require an exact measure of dilution added so they taste perfect from start to empty glass. For drinks served over ice, the goal is for the first sip to be slightly too-boozy and the last sip not be too watered down.

Once you’ve determined the proper dilution for one drink (and considered the other topics below), you’re ready to multiply the single-serving recipe, including the dilution, by the number of servings you want.

Citrus juice

Only use fresh citrus juice. That goes for all cocktails, not just batch cocktails. Also, as a general rule, use fresh juice within 8 hours of squeezing. Fresh juice oxidizes quickly, and the taste will continue to change as it oxidizes.

Therefore, we recommend adding citrus juice right before your guests arrive. Batch all of the cocktail ingredients, except the citrus, ahead of time so that the only thing left to do is squeeze the citrus and add it to the batch.

Bitters

If a recipe includes bitters, then you’ll likely be standing over your measuring cup counting out a dash at a time. Unfortunately, dashes of bitters are inconsistent. Bartenders have gone to great lengths to determine a standard, but there are too many variables, including the capacity and fullness of the bitters' bottle, the size of the opening on the bitters' bottle, and the angle and speed of delivery. That’s often why you see bars transfer bitters to a specific set of bottles with precise dasher tops, which allow for more consistent dashes.

Because of this inconsistency, we recommend taste testing the batch cocktail with only 2/3 of the total dashes. If the batch requires more bitters, then add more. Remember, you can always add more bitters, but you can’t take any away.

Syrups

Simple syrups and honey syrups have a shelf life of two weeks. Technically, they may keep longer, but you’re rolling the dice after two weeks. It’s not worth it in my mind so we date our syrups and toss after two weeks.

If a batch recipe requires syrup, then add the syrup when you add the booze, water, and bitters. Place the batch in the refrigerator and make sure it is well-sealed.

Aromatized wine

We recommend adding aromatized wine (e.g., vermouth) to the batch as one of your final steps before your guests arrive because aromatized wine is prone to oxidation and spoilage. Still, aromatized wine isn’t as volatile as citrus so you can add it in advance (hours or even days). Since aromatized wine is best when fresh, we recommend always opening a new bottle.



Putting it all together

Not every batch cocktail will utilize all of the tips above. But each tip should be considered before you start mixing ingredients. Start by thinking about the base cocktail recipe and how you plan on serving the drink. The following is our thought process for batching our house Martini.

Step 1: What is the base recipe?

For our house Martini, we use 2 ounces of gin, 1 ounce of dry vermouth, and 1 dash of orange bitters.

Step 2: How do we plan on serving it?

We want our guests to pour the Martini directly into their glasses. No other work required.

Step 3: Consider dilution

Since the guests will pour directly from the batch-bottle into their glasses, we need to account for dilution. We’ve found that our house Martini, when properly stirred and diluted, increases in volume by ¾ ounce. So we need to add ¾ ounce of water to the single serving recipe that we stated in Step 1. Now, in total, a single-serving of the batch recipe includes 2 ounces of gin, 1 ounce of dry vermouth, 1 dash of orange bitters, and 3/4 ounce of water.

For clarity, if the answer to Step 2 had been, “stir the drinks with ice to order,” then we would have skipped Step 3 because dilution would occur during stirring. Thus, the batch cocktail would only include the ingredients in Step 1.

Step 4: Consider citrus

Not applicable for this drink.

Step 5: Consider other volatiles (e.g., aromatized wines and syrups)

This recipe has vermouth, which is volatile. The vermouth should be added as late as possible and care should be taken to minimize the oxygen in the final container.


Step 6: Build the batch


Now that we have our single serving batch cocktail recipe, multiply that recipe by the amount of servings we desire and pour into a bottle.

Final thoughts

Entertaining is much more enjoyable when you actually have the ability to spend time with your guests. Batch cocktails permit you to step away from the bar and into the life of the party. So make a batch and become a host with the most.


Sending love,


John

P.S. I realize the irony of writing about batch cocktails for parties when most of the country is not allowed to gather socially in groups due to COVID-19. I am not condoning parties at this time. This post was initially part of another post about traveling. However, due to the length of this post, we felt it better to separate the two.

  • The Reynas


Barbera can make light and easy porch pounders as well as age worthy wines. Historically, the Italians have kept it for themselves and made rustic, mass produced wines that are consumed throughout Italy. Barbera is known as “the wine of the people” thanks to its affordability and long history in Piedmont.


If you would like to sit back and watch a video to learn about barbera, I present to you, the Teakwood Tavern Youtube channel:



Barbera 101


The Italian varietal barbera is known for its deep color, juicy acid and relatively low tannins. This makes it wonderful with food, or great by itself. With food, enjoy barbera with high acid tomato sauces to match the acid in food and wine, or, dare we say, pair it with seafood. WHAT?!!! The low tannins and high acid won't overpower heartier pieces of fish (e.g., tuna, salmon, etc.).


Barbera is fairly easy to grow and known for producing high yields. Most bottles you'll find are likely under $30, which is a win for the quality you are getting.


It is the 3rd most planted grape in Italy, after sangiovese and montepuliciano, respectively. However, it is not really grown in Europe outside of Italy. South America, South Africa, and the US have have had success growing barbera, thriving in the Central Coast of California.


History


Some historians estimate barbera was cultivated for wine production as early as the 800s. Wine produced from barbera has been confirmed as far back as the 13th century in today’s Piedmont region. However, the grape was produced in large clusters that lacked any depth. It was often blended with other grapes that had more tannin, leaving the personality of the grape unknown.


In the 1980s, production of barbera began evolving to increase quality. Wine-makers began experimenting with new French oak. In the 1990s, the grapes were grown in smaller clusters by pruning during the winter to further concentrate the flavors. Grape growers also experimented with harvesting later, which increases sugar and fruit flavors. By the 2000s, malolactic fermentation had become a mainstream technique to soften the acidity.


The scandal


As barbera was beginning to get the recognition it deserved in the 1980s, disaster struck. In 1985, one producer contaminated their wine with methyl alcohol (methanol). The legal amount in wine is 0.3%, as it naturally occurs in fruit juice and wine production. However, Odore’s barbera clocked in at 5.7% and killed over 30 people while hospitalizing many more around the world. This is the same substance that makes up anti-freeze, which can make poorly made moonshine poisonous and cause blindness.


The bad publicity caused a rapid decline in sales of barbera in the late 1980s. It dropped from the #2 most planted varietal in Italy to #3, eclipsed by montepulciano. However, this has help keep prices down to this day, at no fault of barbera.


Piedmont

© Logan Wine Blog


Barbera is from the Piedmont region, or Piemonte, as the Italians call it. Piedmont is home to another popular grape, nebbiolo (Barolo DOCG and Barbaresco DOCG), but is much more affordable.


Piedmont is nestled in northwest Italy between the Alps and the Mediterranean. This results in a cool but temperate climate with a morning fog that is perfect for grape growing.


Northwest Italy contains two major cities, Turin, in the heart of Piedmont, and Milan, just over the border from Piedmonte in Lombardy. Meaning there are two major airport nearby! And no shortage of restaurants since this area makes up 1/3 of the country’s population. Though Tuscany gets more love (and tourists), Piedmont has my vote for our next trip to Italy!


Barbera is the most planted varietal in Piedmont. Most winemakers have returned focus to the terrior to showcase the fresh acidity and fruity flavors. There are two regions within Piedmont where you are most likely to find quality barberas—Barbera d'Asti and Barbera d'Alba.


© Italy Logue


Barbera d’Asti DOCG


Covering the provinces of Asti and Alessandria, Barbera d’Asti happily takes credit for starting the barbera revolution—emphasizing quality over quantity. Surprisingly, it was Giacomo Bologna's trip to California wine country in 1978 that inspired the revolution.


When Italian immigrants came to the States, they brought barbera with them. But unlike the immigrants' kinfolk back in Italy, they focused on quality production techniques such as lowering yields, finding the right time to harvest, and aging in oak barrels. Bologna took these techniques back to Italy with him, as no way Americans should be producing higher quality barbera wines than the home of barbera.


Bologna’s release of his 1982 Bricco dell’Uccellone shocked the wine industry. He produced a barbera that was both rich and structured, while maintaining its signature acidity. Soon, other winemakers followed his lead. For his efforts, Bologna is considered the father of barbera's emergence as a quality wine.


Today you will find two styles from this region. Barbera D’Asti is fermented in steel tanks and produced for immediate consumption. Babera d’Asti Superiore is aged at least 14 months before release with 6 months being spent in oak. Both styles must be made from at least 90% barbera. Both styles boast barbera’s signature deep color and fresh fruits: cherry, raspberry, blackberry, and plum. You will also find spicy notes of white pepper and licorice.


Asti has sandy soil, which helps keeps the yields lowers, allowing for more concentrated grapes. It is is relatively warm compared to other Piedmont regions, keeping the acidity in check.


In many Piedmont regions, barbera competes for the best hillsides against nebbiolo, which usually brings a higher price tag. But not in Asti. The Superiore gets planted on the prime south facing hills.


Asti is also famous for a sparkling wine. You may have heard of Asti's off-dry to sweet Asti Spumante made from moscato. I certainly enjoyed some in my younger drinking years.


Barbera d’Alba DOC


The town of Alba has always focused on nebbiolo. It’s tucked between Barolo and Barbaresco, both famous regions for their nebbiolo production. Therefore, nebbiolo often gets the best vineyard locations. Nebbiolo is particular on where it likes to be grown. Many producers grow barbera right along with it to fill their vineyards.


After taking notice of Asti’s success, wine makers in Alba began producing the same mix of light, easy drinkers and more-structured Superiores. The Superiores must be aged for a year, 4 months of which must be in wood.


Alba's soil has more clay than Asti's. Clay soil is full of nutrients and therefore, grows happy grapes. Producers in Alba must work to prune the vines properly to prohibit the yields from getting out of control. High yields diminish the quality of the juice coming from each grape and add to the already high acidity of the grape.


It’s a few degrees cooler here, allowing barbera to be planted on the lower parts of the slopes. The slightly warmer weather because of the lower elevation, which Nebbiolo does not like, helps keep the acidity from overwhelming the wine.


Some barbera d'Alba vines get into “old vine” territory, being 70+ years old, giving both depth and concentration to the wines produced. Barbera d’Alba is known for being more full-bodied than Barbera d'Asti, and showcases flavors of black cherry, raspberry, blackberry, and freshly ground pepper.


Let's taste some wines!



Vietti Barbera d’Asti 2017, 100% Barbera. $19


The nose is full of fresh raspberry and violet. The fruity palate brings black plum, red cherry, blackberry, blueberry, and strawberry. We got herbaceous flavors of licorice and eucalyptus. The wine making process left flavors of cedar and toast. This wine had high acid and medium tannins. The high 14.5% ABV gave the wine a medium body feel. There was a medium finish coming in at 22 seconds.



G.D. Vajra Barbera D’Alba 2017, 100% Barbera, $27


On the nose we got fennel and ripe strawberry. The palate exploded with all types of cherry. We were also hit with red plum, blackberry, and cranberry. The wine continued to grow in complexity with licorice, black pepper, wet stones, and mint. This wine came in at an impressively hot for a barbera of 15.5% ABV. There was medium high acid with medium smokey tannins, resulting in a medium plus body. There was an enjoyable 30 second medium plus finish.



Carlo Revello & Figli Barbera D’Alba Superiore 2017, 100% Barbera, $20


On the nose, we smelled delicious blackberry, lavender, and anise. On the palate, there were fruity flavors of red plum, black cherry, and fig. Beyond that, we tasted butter, violet, and eucalyptus. This wine was fairly hot at 15% ABV. It boasted medium plus acidity, medium spicy tannin and a medium body. There was a 22 second medium peppery finish.


Final Thoughts


I will note, these wines were more tannic and full-bodied than your typical barbera. All 3 are from the 2017 vintage, which had a very dry and hot summer. That vintage produced highly concentrated and tannic grapes that resulted in high ABV wines with full bodies. If this is more your style, all the more reason to get out there and stock up on the 2017s while you can.


Cheers!


Sending love,

Shen


#redwine

#Italianwine

#barbera

#barberadalba

#barberadasti

#superiore

#asti

#alba

#piedmont

#piemonte

#vietti

#gdvajra

#CarloRevelloandFigli