If you were buying Barolo back in the 80’s, 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 travel to Berlin’s Cave du Connaisseur to get it).
It was one of the largest wineries in the Piedmont, with over 500 acres of vines. They were producing some great bottles. Sadly, the Bersano family sold the winery in the late 80’s, and quality levels plummetted. By the 1990’s the winery all but disappeared from wine racks across the US. In the late 90’s 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, which was picked up by a much smaller company based in California, 8Vini, in 2015.
Here’s why this matters to you: there has been a slow trickle of Bersano wine into the PLCB Chairman Selection program. The new importer is liquidating old vintages from their California warehouse, and the wines are ending up in PA at deep discounts. There have been at least 6 of their wines that have shown up in our stores, including their excellent 2010 Barolo I reviewed a few months ago.
The Generala is Bersano’s luxury-level Barbera, sourced from the Generala vineyard in Nizza, which was 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.