StoneTree Vineyard. Bounded by the Columbia River and the
is the highest elevation vineyard, with the most elevation change
over distance in the Wahluke Slope AVA. The vineyard slopes from 950
feet up to over 1200 feet above sea level and Block 22B is a 4.36
acre block of Barbera planted in 2002, at an elevation of 960 feet
above sea level, with Rows 96-101 home to Eccolo Cellars. Vineyard
management is under the careful eye of Tedd Wildman.
Barbera is a red Italian wine grape variety that is known for deep color, low tannins and high levels of acid. When young, the wines offer a very intense aroma of fresh red and blackberries. In the lightest versions, notes of cherries, raspberries and blueberries whereas notes of blackberry and black cherries are present in wines made of more ripe grapes. Many producers employ the use of toasted oak barrels, which provides for increased complexity, aging potential, and hints of vanilla notes. The lightest versions are generally made in stainless steel tanks, being known for flavors and aromas of fresh fruit and dried fruits, and are recommended for immediate enjoyment. Wines with better balance between acid and fruit, often with the addition of oak and having a high alcohol content are more capable of cellaring; these wines are often a result of reduced yield viticultural practices. The use of oak for maturation can have a pronounced influence on the flavor and profile of Barbera. Barrel influenced Barbera tend to be rounder, richer with more plum, spice, and mocha notes. Wines made with older or more neutral oak tend to have more vibrant aromas, with notes of cherry and red fruits. Viticultural producers and enologists will often delay harvest in order to increase sugar levels as a balance to Barbera's acidity.
Barbera is believed to have originated in the hills of Monferrato in central Piemonte, Italy where it has been known from the thirteenth century. Documents from the cathedral of Casale Monferrato between 1246-1277 detail leasing agreements of vineyard lands planted with "de bonis vitibus barbexinis" or Barbera, as it was known then. In Washington State, producers have been experimenting with plantings of Barbera in the Red Mountain, Walla Walla, and Columbia Valley and Yakima Valley AVAs. Presently there are less than twelve vineyards planted with Barbera and even fewer wineries making a single vineyard Barbera.