Wine Buzz: Barbera throwdown in Placer

Published: Wednesday, May. 30, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 3D
Last Modified: Wednesday, May. 30, 2012 - 10:19 am

The event's billed as something of a barbera boxing match. In one corner, there's Popie Wines; in the other, Ciotti Cellars. The third member of this throwdown is Cristaldi Vineyards. And all are bringing their best barbera.

All are Placer County wineries and partners in a downtown Loomis tasting room called 3 Vigne (3750 Taylor Road, Loomis). On June 16 they'll go mano a mano in a bout of friendly competition during "Barbera Throwdown."

Part of 3 Vigne's tasting room will be set up like a boxing ring, with Mark S. Allen of "Good Day Sacramento" playing host and certain to exclaim, "Let's get ready to ruuuuuuuumble!" A panel of critics, including California State Commercial Wine competition head judge G.M. "Pooch" Pucilowski, will help determine a winner.

The general public will also get to vote, determining which winery scored a knockout or split decision.

"We're trying to play it up in a tongue-in-cheek kind of way," said Lisa Duarte, who runs Popie Wines with her husband, Michael. "They're all putting their egos on the line, but it will be fun."

All of the wines' barbera grapes come from vineyards farmed by the Duartes. They also were harvested on the same day from that Loomis vineyard. The interesting part: how each winemaker treated the grapes and expressed them as barbera wine, which can range from medium-bodied and acidic wines to more fruit-driven versions with pronounced oakiness.

"This is a unique opportunity for someone to taste the same grapes made in three different styles side by side," said Duarte.

The event, which includes food and music, runs from 7 to 10 p.m. Tickets must be purchased in advance and cost $40 per person or $95 for the tasting and each of the competing barbera wines in a wooden box.

Information: (916) 538-9150 or

Brunch and jazz

Enotria, the wine bar and restaurant on Del Paso Boulevard near Arden Way, recently added Sunday brunch service. Bottomless mimosas and bloody Marys and a dog-friendly patio are featured from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Sundays also will feature some easy-grooving smooth jazz groups during dinner. Dinner and music packages cost $60, or you can just soak in the music for $25. Information: (916) 922-6792 or

Editor's note: This story was changed May 30 to correct the date of the "Barbera Throwdown" event.

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