When we first launched our 2016 BESTER Family Wines Barbera, there was some confusion about the varietal. Quite a few people thought it was an interesting name we'd dreamed up and would ask which wines we used to make the blend. Which of course begs the two-part question - what on earth is a Barbera and why did we choose it as the first red to be bottled under the BESTER label?

First things first. As mentioned in our #BesterFamilyVideo, Barbera is an Italian varietal has now been planted in the Swartland region with great success. As for why we chose this as our inaugural red, the question should actually be, why not? South Africa has an abundance of interesting Shiraz, Merlot, Pinotage and Cabernet Sauvignon wines, and it was about time to shake things up a little.

Then Zakkie happened upon some rather exceptional Barbera grapes just outside of Piketberg and decided to craft a Swartland Barbera that would pay homage to the grape's Italian heritage, but imbue it with inimitable South African flair.

Keen on the technical stuff? Here's how we made the 2016 BESTER Family Wines Barbera:

The grapes were sourced from Mscisa Trust in the Swartland. The vineyards where planted in 2003 on south-facing slopes next to the Berg River. Sufficient water for thorough irrigation ensured a complete, stress-free ripening process, and the average yield was 12 tons per hectare. The 2016 season was very healthy and dry, and the Barbera grapes could be harvested at low sugar levels for optimal ripeness. The grapes were picked in February 2016 at an average of 23.5° Balling.

The grapes were destemmed, crushed into red wine fermentation tanks and left to cold soak on the skins for 48h. We did regular pump-overs of the juice before fermentation started. After 48h the grapes were inoculated with selected yeast cultures and left to ferment on the skin until dry. During the fermentation process we continued with daily pump-overs to capture the colour and flavour from the delicate skins. After completion of malolactic fermentation, the wine was racked from the lees and pumped into 300-litre 2nd and 3rd fill French oak barrels and matured for 10 months. We bottled it on 20 April 2017.

The result is an uncomplicated wine packed with upfront red berry fruit flavours and secret spice, supported by subtle wood nuances. These layers of flavours all follow through on the elegant palate, balanced by a crisp acidity to ensure a fruit-driven style of wine with maturation potential.

So there you have it - the story of how the 2016 BESTER Family Wines Barbera came to be. Order yours on the website today, or visit us in store at Enjoy Liquors in Riebeek Kasteel.

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