The drive down HWY 49 to Plymouth was a scenic journey. The road lead into cozy valleys with puma colored dry grass, then curved and ribboned along steep ravines with vistas of oaks and granite.
In a field adjacent to rows of plump purple grapes, hawks soared over the vineyards, and dragon flies danced around the grounds. Here is where the Barbera Festival was hosted, at Terra d'Oro Winery.
This was my first time attending the festival, and I soon discovered there is an art to attending the event. Wines are poured under the tents, and hay bales are scattered around for guests to have a seat and take a break. But returning guests brought fold up chairs, picnic blankets, hats, and carry bags for their purchases. Near the tents they staked out shady spots under the oaks. This way, they could taste, take a break, taste, purchase food and eat, dance to the live band, shop a little, then repeat.
With over 60 vintners pouring Barbera wines as well as other varietals, it was difficult to choose who to visit! Barbera was originally from Italy, and according to the local vintners, the first Barberas were fairly acidic. Now, Barbera's acidity is dialed down a bit. California Barbera is typically soft, smooth, light to medium body, and is not heavily tannic.
The acidic personality of Barbera make it a food-friendly wine. Enjoy it with paella, grilled chicken or meats, roasted veggies, pasta with fresh tomato sauce, minestrone soup, or a spinach salad with bacon.
In the vineyard, I had a chance to taste Barbera grapes that were growing on the vine. What a treat! They were slightly sweet, juicy and tart, but the seeds and skins were not very tannic in the mouth. I could imagine these grapes being harvested soon and then the wine making journey would begin.
For a Bay Area Barbera, check out Wargin Wines: wargin-wines-soquel-watsonville-fruit-forward-bite-and-personality.html.
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