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Barbera Fans Head for Amador

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Ladies get story of Story Winery's Barbera Ladies get story of Story Winery's Barbera

By Dan Clarke

It wasn’t Asti. It wasn’t Alba.

In fact, it wasn’t even Italy, but Amador County has a solid reputation for producing quality wines from the Barbera grape. On Saturday, hundreds of Barbera fans gathered at Montevina Winery on Shenandoah School Road, just east of the town of Plymouth. Montevina, a pioneer of the modern era of Sierra Foothill winemaking, now has a dual personality and produces wines under the Terra d’Oro label, as well as their original identity.

This venue was particularly appropriate as Montevina is not just an Amador wine pioneer, but has been turning out Barbera for nearly 50 years. More than 60 additional wineries poured Barbera on Saturday afternoon. Most hailed from Amador, but Sierra Foothill neighbors in El Dorado and Calaveras Counties were represented, as well as wineries from California’s Central Valley, Napa, Sonoma, Livermore and the Central Coast.

In a wine world too populated by jammy, high alcohol red wines, Barbera is likely a revelation for many California wine drinkers. With gentle tannins and good acidity it shows best with food and there were several vendors at Saturday’s tasting. In spite of the Italian heritage of this grape variety, there wasn’t a particular Italian feel to the day, though Teresa’s Place came from up from Jackson to offer plates of sliced Tuscan Pork Loin and Lasagna Bolognese.

Theme of the day was Barbera, as you’d expect, but there were a few other varieties poured to satisfy the adventurous. Among the vendors was even a place selling craft beer (Plymouth’s Amador Brewing Company). More information about the event can be had at