Braida, Giacomo Bologna - Ai Suma Barbera d’Asti - 2016
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‘Ai Suma’ is a Piedmontese dialectal expression and means ‘Here we are’. An exclamation that Giacomo made whenever he drank a great bottle of wine or the production of a wine succeeded especially. This name has been given to the top wine of the Braida line-up by the children of Giacomo in memory to their father. The ‘Ai Suma ‘ is only produced in the best vintages as it is made of very late-harvested grapes that need good weather conditions to mature on the vines.
In 1989, Giacomo Bologna travelled to Georgia together with the wine writer and friend Luigi Veronelli to research on the origin of the vine. The quality of the wines offered was mostly disappointing but Giacomo made great friendships, to the point that he decided to invite the Georgian delegation to Italy during the harvest to exchange their knowledge. Hitting upon problems during their travel to Italy, his guests delayed for 2 weeks. Giacomo who decided already in advance to vinify one particular vineyard separately, decided to wait for the arrival of his Georgian friends to show them how the harvest was organized. Supported by good weather conditions in 1989 the vintage was extraordinary and his late-harvested grapes dried. The resulting wine was fruit-forward, rich and concentrated. A new wine was born.
This exclusive wine is produced in very small quantities and in the cool vintage 2008 grapes needed to be selected very carefully. Only 4500 bottles have been produced. Since the first vintage 1989, not all vintages brought along the right conditions to bestow us on dried but healthy grapes: 1989,1990,1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2012, 2015.
Ai Sumais of an opaque purple colour with black hints. The nose is pronounced and expresses primary and secondary flavours of dried fruits, prunes, forest fruit jam and sweet oak. Sweet spices complete roasted flavours and dark chocolate. The initial sensation of an off-dryness on the palate is swept away by the crisp acidity which form a perfect balance. The palate is of a significant weight, warm and beguiling. Bramble and sour cherry jam are accentuated by mocha, liquorice and tar. The tannins are perceived on the back of the palate and are ripe and well integrated. The freshness lingers!
“Here we are. It’s the right level”; this is the meaning of the dialect term “Ai Suma”. This wine is only produced in particular favourable years which represents the “zenith” of the company.