The grapes for Crocera Barbera d'Asti Superiore are hand-harvested at full ripeness, then crushed and fermented. After 10-12 days of maceration and naturally-occurring malolactic fermentation, the wine is racked twice before going into oak.
Maturation is for 12 months in French oak barriques (10-15% new) with a portion in tini (traditional large vertical barrels).
The estate - Tenuta Il Cascinone
The Barbera grapes are sourced from a single vineyard, 5 hectare plot, on the Tenuta Il Cascinone estate in Piemonte - directly in front of the winery. The soil is shallow on this steep slope, so the vines strive to obtain nutrients and water. As a result they produce berries with concentrated flavours.
This 102 hectare estate sits amongst the Monferrato hills. It was purchased by Araldica in 1999, and underwent major restoration. The steep vineyards are up to 450m altitude, and include old vines planted in prime sites. The terrain means that hand-harvesting is essential here. Now approximately 70ha of vines are fully in production.
A variety of vines are grown at the estate, including international varieties Riesling and Merlot and local varieties Brachetto and Moscato. However the warmer southwest-facing slopes are planted with Barbera - giving perfect ripening conditions for the grape.
The Barbera grape is a versatile one. It is capable of large yields, and has a deeper colour than the other red grapes in the region.
"Sooty black bullets"
It has relatively high acidity and low tannins, so can produce bright and juicy unoaked styles with a distinctive vivid purple hue. Alternatively it responds well to oak and can produce more rich and complex reds - such as the Crocera Barbera d'Asti Superiore.
Over the last couple of decades forward-thinking winemakers have focused on producing the finest 100% Barbera wines, with grapes sourced from the best sites.
Carlo Manera - winemaker
3rd generation winemaker, Carlo Manera, is one of these winemakers - his family have been strong advocates of Barbera in the region, and have over 60 years experience working with the grape.
He studied at the School of Oenology in Alba (as did his parents before him) graduating in 2011. He makes all of the wines as Il Cascinone. His parents Claudio Manera and Lella Burdese, and grandfather Livio, are all winemakers.