The Ezio T. estate is a Barbera specialist located in the Asti hills in the hamlet of Vianoce. The winery is based in the early nineteenth century complex of Agliano Terme, which has been in the family since the 1920s. The brothers, Secondo and Serafino began the winery at this time, and have passed on the reigns to their sons, Renato and Ezio Trinchero. The estate now makes one of the longest-lived and most profound examples of Barbera to be found in all of Italy. The family believes that the underrated Barbera grape is a variety capable of producing wines of profound complexity and serious longevity, if cultivated from old vines in top sites and vinified to allow graceful evolution in bottle. With this in mind, the family farms all of their vines organically and are extremely meticulous with their viticulture. Ezio Trinchero is a close friend of Giampiero Bea of Paolo Bea in Montefalco, and the wines of both estates share a similar style and rustic soulfulness.
The flagship wine is their Barbera d’Asti “Vigna del Noce”, which was planted in the hills of Asti in 1929. The old vines, coupled with short pruning produce only thirty-five hectoliters per hectare in the vineyard, and the resulting wine is as fine and example of Barbera as one will find. The wine is treated like a top Barolo, as it is given a forty-five day maceration during the fermentation, and then aged at least two and a half years in large, old oak botti prior to bottling. Ezio holds the wine back in bottle at least another six months prior to its release, and it is capable of aging very well for twenty to twenty-five years after its release. A recently tasted bottle of the 1982 Vigna del Noce clearly demonstrated just how long-lived this wine can be, as it was fresh, young and succulent, with impressive complexity and the depth and palate presence more typical of a Barbera from a vintage in the late 1990s. It is clearly amongst the finest examples of Barbera made in Italy today.
In addition to the Barbera “Vigna del Noce” cuvée, Renato and Ezio Trinchero also make a straight and crunchy Barbera d’Asti Superiore bottling that hails from twenty year-old vines and is made to be drunk on the young side. It is handled quite differently in the cellar, as it is fermented in cement tanks, aged for only twelve months in old oak botti and then bottled. It is always complex and well-balanced and offers up immediate accessibility and appeal. Occasionally there is also a small bit of the traditional varietal of Grignolino which undergoes as delicate a fermentation as possible to keep the notoriously chewy tannins of Grignolino reigned in. Typically this wine will need a year or two of bottle age to round into form, and then makes a lovely accompaniment to dishes that demand a lighter styled, but complex and tangy red wine. The wines of Renato and Ezio Trinchero are beautifully-crafted, artisanal wines of great distinction and complexity that deserve a place in any well-stocked Italian wine cellar or a place on a similarly thoughtful wine list.