The first time we purchased grapes from Al Tollini was 1999; we were delighted with his Zinfandel grapes that were grown on vines planted in the 1930s. Over the years our relationship developed and we've made wine from Al's oldest vineyards, planted by his Italian-American forefathers: Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, Carignane and Grenache. In 2013, we decided to try making Barbera, but rather than purchasing the grapes from other growers with heritage vines, we decided that given our golden track record with Al's grapes, we would purchase fruit from his modern 14-year-old vineyard. The Barbera vineyard is adjacent to Al's grandfather's Grenache on red volcanic soil; Al had planted top-quality clones on good rootstock and these were good reasons, in addition to Al's Italian heritage, to expect that the grapes would produce quality wine. Barbera can be acidic and low in tannins, especially if crop levels are high, so Al has the good sense to keep his crop level modest. This is Navarro's fourth Barbera from Al Tollini's vineyard; all four vintages, including this 2016, have been rated as Gold Medal winners and Best of Class.
Al Tollini on his tractor plowing with Nomor guiding the way. Notice the girth of the trunks on these vines; from the healthy canopy, the vines are enjoying where they are sited.