Before the festival officially begins, there are a couple dozen of us doing an immersive trip through Monferrato, the region commonly thought to be the birthplace of the Barbera grape variety.
This morning, our first stop was at Pico Maccario, and my first sip of the day was a fresh experience: my first-ever Barbera rosé from the region.
Pico Maccario 2016 Lavignone Rosato has fairly sweet aromatics; I'm talking things like cotton candy, bubble gum and candied watermelon notes. On the palate, the wine had more viscosity than I'd expected, an oily character dominates. Those aromatic notes stay consistent through the first few sips, with a touch of salinity and maybe a little fresh-squeezed blood orange providing a little lift to an otherwise weighty wine.
There's a spot of residual sugar on the finish, which doesn't necessarily make it sweet, but definitely enough to ensure it'll handle any dishes which may carry a bit of spice or heat.
While I'm mentioning heat, I thought I detected a hint of alocholic heat on the finish, and a few colleagues tasting next to me agreed with my take. Oddly enough, the wine's only 12.5%; I wouldn't have thought that level would have significantly affected the profile, but the note was there with each taste.
It was an interesting wine, and I was on the fence as to how much I enjoyed the style; I usually like pink wines which carry a little more freshness. It was a good one to ponder though, and it has piqued my interest in tracking down others in the category.