If you were purchasing Barolo in the ’80s, Bersano was a brand you’d seek out. Located in Nizza, the winery offered up classic Piedmontese wines. Their 1982 Barolo Riserva was sublime (and you can still buy a bottle for $80, but you’ll have to travel to Berlin’s Cave du Connaisseur to get it).
Bersano was one of the largest wineries in Piedmont, with over 500 acres of vines. They were producing some great bottles. Sadly, the Bersano family sold the winery in the late ’80s, and quality levels plummetted. By the 1990s, the winery all but disappeared from wine racks across the US. In the late ’90s, another Italian winemaking family (the Massimellis) purchased Bersano and started rebuilding its tarnished reputation.
Only very recently (in 2012) did their wines finally return to American shores. That was thanks to Vin Divino, a Chicago-based wine importer. Then the importer was purchased by the Spanish company González Byass in 2013. The new Spanish-led company dropped Bersano from its portfolio, picked up by a much smaller company based in California, 8Vini, in 2015.
How Great Wines Get Discounted
Here’s why this matters to you: there has been a slow trickle of Bersano wine into American wine shops. The new importer is liquidating old vintages from their California warehouse, and the wines were being sold off at deep discounts. This is a process that happens across the wine trade.
The Generala is Bersano’s luxury-level Barbera, sourced from the Generala vineyard in Nizza, originally planted in the 1950s. This is an atypical Barbera, with dense aromas of persimmon and fenugreek, followed by a full-bodied expression of toasted oak, mocha, and smoked vanilla. The finish opens into wildflowers and blackberry.