Wine of the Week: Barbera D’Asti “Le Nicchie” from La Gironda

This week’s pick is a Barbera d’Asti Superiore Nizza called “Le Nicchie” from La Gironda, a winery in Piedmont. I am not sure how I got this bottle or who gave it to me.

What I do know is it is the perfect complement to my tired body after a day of dance and sailing. I opened this wine thinking I might have just a sip or two, instead a few glasses have been happily consumed.

The wine is full and rich on both the nose and palate with hints of dark red/black fruits, earth, vanilla and tobacco.

I am enthralled with this wine. It has enveloped my palate and I truly am surprised at the depth of flavor that it is showing.

Barbera Superiore Nizza comes from a very specific terroir around Nizza Monferrato. The producers who make these wines are located in 18 communities around Nizza Monferrato and have very strict bylaws for maintaining the quality of their wines. Their association called Associazione Produttori del Nizza has put Nizza on the map.

Oddly enough, many years ago, I proposed my Pr firm services to an important member of this group. Sadly, the export manager told me that I couldn’t understand Italian wine because I was a foreigner despite the fact that I was a member of the Italian Sommelier Association.

Actually it was during the early days of the war in Iraq and he called me a warmonger or “guerrafondaio” because I am an American. The experience left me with a terrible taste in my mouth for years about these wines.

Happily numerous other Italians have felt that I was precisely the person to represent their wines so the sting of that comment has faded but he was quite shortsighted and I think Nizza hasn’t done the job it could have to promote its wines in the United States. \

Needless to say, I’m thrilled that I came upon this great bottle in my home, opened it and am enjoying it’s vast array of flavors.


  1. Nice description of your experience with the wine. And a great personal story as well.

    It is perhaps inevitable that we would have personal associations with different wines. But it seems this gentleman did you a great disservice. Still success is the best revenge. And happily it seems you have purged yourself of the negativity from that one bad experience.

    I am a big fan of Barbera and feel that it is often overshadowed by that other grape from the region. The Nizza wines are special and deserve to be discovered. Even by those of us with preconceived prejudices.

    As you have discovered, there is no need to close your own mind when you come across someone whose mind has shut down.

    Bring on more NIzza! Inspired, may open one tonight!

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