2000 Montevina Barbera
I found this hiding in the cellar, and tbh didn’t have very high hopes. Montevina is an historic (albeit a checkered history) winery in the Sierra Foothills, and was the first post-prohibition Amador County producer of note. Montevina, perhaps more than anyone, is responsible for the Zinfandel and Barbera preponderance in the region. Early Montevina wines were exceptionally good, then there was a Sutter Home ownership period during which quality waned. They are now part of the Terra d’Oro family and quality is back on the uptick, especially since 2017 and the arrival of winemaker Emily Haines. So, I didn’t have very high expectations for this 2000 Barbera that I picked up for a couple of bits at auction.
Surprise! Stunningly good! A beautiful nose of cinnamon, peppermint, and cherries (not dried ones), and a palate full of structure with the expected acidity and an unexpected tannin presence (both resolved and still resolving). While I was expecting an experience of one of searching hard for remaining life in a dying bottle, I got a peak experience of an exceptional wine. The most wonderful thing about drinking old wine is you just never know!