Recently, I have been frequently asked by people passionate about Barbera d’Alba Zio Nando why there is such a big difference between the 2010 and the 2009 and between the 2010 and the 2011. We are not talking about a difference in quality, since you are well aware of the attention we pay to our wines, but the character bestowed upon the wine by the year is of real importance.
The 2010 is reminiscent of Nebbiolo in certain ways; it having been a cool year helps the perception of the elegance and refinement of the wine, penalising its fruit and potency in the short term, becoming more appreciable after a few years. We are of course not used to drinking classic vintages, especially in the Barberas from recent years: 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2011 are broad, round and very fruity, and the heat and early maturation of those years are very clear.
If we were to compare two glasses of different vintages in a photo, you would see that they are completely different, almost like two wines from regions in different latitudes. This is what wine is about, however; it is closely tied to nature and weather conditions. Standardisation is no business of ours, since to comprehend our wonderful world one needs to know that for us, nothing is maths.