Wine Review: Coppo, Monferrato “Alterego” 2007 DOC

Disclaimer: this review is of a sample that I received from the producer’s US importer. My review has been conducted in compliance with my Samples Policy and the ISA wine tasting protocol and the opinions I am going to share on the wine are my own.

Our overview of the wines in the Coppo range that are imported into the US continues on with the review of a wine that “on paper” had piqued my interest because of its unusual blend: enter the Alterego, a 60/40 Cabernet Sauvignon/Barbera blend.

The Bottom Line

Overall, Coppo, Monferrato “Alterego” 2007 DOC ($35) was a good, pleasant to drink wine, a good match to red meat, game or meat-based pasta. Ideally, I wish its bouquet were a little more intense on the nose, but the aromas (if a little muted) are certainly pleasant. Also, it is a nicely balanced wine, where its ABV, acidity and tamed tannins exhibit an enjoyable equilibrium.

Rating: Good and Recommended Good – $$

(Explanation of our Rating and Pricing Systems)

About the Grapes and the Appellation

1. Barbera: You may find all relevat information regarding Barbera as a grape variety on the “Barbera” entry of our Grape Variety Archive.

2. Cabernet Sauvignon: Regarding worldwide famous Cabernet Sauvignon, this is a black-berried variety that originates from the Gironde region in south-west France. The oldest documented reference to it (under the name “Petit Cabernet”) dates back to the second half of the XVIII century.

DNA profiling showed that Cabernet Sauvignon originated as a (probably spontaneous) cross between Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc. In the XX century, there happened two genetic mutations of Cabernet Sauvignon in Australia that produced in one case pinky bronzed berries (now known as Malian) and in the other case white berries (now known as Shalistin).

Cabernet Sauvignon grapes make deep colored, concentrated and tannic wines, apt for long-term aging. Beside its native Bordeaux region, where Cabernet Sauvignon plays a key role in Bordeaux blends, it is a variety that has been planted extensively around the world and that (along with Merlot and Chardonnay) has become the epitome of the international varieties.

(Information on the grape varieties taken from Wine Grapes, by Robinson-Harding-Vouillamoz, Allen Lane 2012 – for more information about grape varieties, check out our Grape Variety Archive)

3. Monferrato DOC: Finally, the appellation Monferrato DOC was created in 1994 and it stretches across a fairly large territory near the towns of Alessandria and Asti, in Italy’s Piemonte region. Monferrato DOC is a loosely regulated appellation as regards grape varieties, in that the wines may be made out of any of the grape varieties that applicable regulations permit to grow in the Piemonte region, with the only exception of aromatic varieties that are not allowed.

About the Producer and the Estate

You may find information regarding the producer, Coppo, and the estate in the first post of this series of reviews of the Coppo lineup.

Our Detailed Review

The wine we are going to review today, Coppo, Monferrato “Alterego” 2007 DOC, is the only red blend in the Coppo lineup: it has 14% ABV and retails in the US for about $35.

Alterego is a blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon grapes and 40% Barbera grapes grown in the estate vineyards around the town of Canelli, in Piemonte’s Monferrato district. The wine is fermented for about 10 days in stainless steel vats, goes through malolactic fermentation and is aged in new French oak barrels for 12 months.

As usual, for my review I will use a simplified version of the ISA wine tasting protocol that we described in a previous post: should you have doubts as to any of the terms used below please refer to that post for a refresher.

In the glass, Alterego poured ruby red and viscous when swirled.

On the nose, its bouquet was moderately intense, moderately complex and fine, with aromas of blackberry, plum, tobacco, cocoa and black pepper.

In the mouth, the wine was dry, with high ABV and smooth; it was acidic, tannic (with noticeable but well integrated tannins) and tasty. It was full-bodied and balanced, with intense and fine mouth flavors of wild berries, plum, dark chocolate and black pepper. It had a medium finish and its evolutionary state was ready (i.e., absolutely fine to drink right away, but probably even better if you let it rest a couple more years in your cellar).


8 thoughts on “Wine Review: Coppo, Monferrato “Alterego” 2007 DOC

  1. Heather (Sweet Precision)

    Sounds like a lovely blend Stefano. I’m not familiar with Barbera grapes, so I took a look at your grape variety archive for the first time. How informative, and what a wonderful idea to pull that together based on you knowledge!

    1. Stefano Post author

      Thank you, Heather: so glad that you enjoyed browsing the information in the Grape Variety Archive! It has been a fairly big project to implement, and I have to say I am pretty proud of it. 🙂 Most of the information regarding the various grape varieties and all the DNA analysis (which I find absolutely fascinating) come from the wonderful volume Wine Grapes, whose authors deserve enormous credit for the huge amount of work and research they did to compile so complete and authoritative an opus.

    1. Stefano Post author

      Dear Dana,
      Thank you for so kind a comment!
      While I also love beer, it makes me very happy to hear that I inspired you to enjoy more wine! 🙂 Should you happen to try any of the wines that I review, please make sure to let me know how you liked it!

  2. the winegetter

    Great review, as always, and I can only agree that you really make me taste the wines through your descriptions. I like that a lot.

    The price tag seems a bit hefty for me…but then again it’s also an aged wine, so I guess they are going for more high end with this. I think this is the first Cabernet Sauvignon Barbera blend I ever came across. Did you feel like both grapes came through, or rather showed some of their strengths in this wine?

    1. Stefano Post author

      Hi Oliver,
      Thank you! Yes, totally with you: first time for me as well to see a blend of such two varieties – but, I have to say I am in favor of experimenting, otherwise we would always be drinking the same kind of wines.
      As to your question: my sense is that the aromatic/flavor profile of the Cab prevailed over that of Barbera, in that (as you may have noticed from the descriptors) both the secondary aromas and the mouth flavors of the Alterego were pretty much focused on black fruits, which matches the profile of the Cab (although I did not pick up any bell pepper smell), along with the robust structure of the wine. The Barbera part of the blend I think contributed freshness and acidity to the wine, although truth be told Barbera’s aromatic profile may be a bit ambivalent depending on the terroir and probably even the different clones and can exhibit either red fruit and floral aromas or black fruit too, so there could be some of that in the mix of the Alterego…
      Hope I confused you enough with my answer! 😉

  3. Just Add Attitude

    Hi Stefano,

    Reading about this Coppo Cabernet Sauvignon and Barbera blend made me think about the infinite number of grape variety combinations there are and I started wondering what other unusual combinations have been put together that I haven’t heard of. 😉

    1. Stefano Post author

      Isn’t that right, B?!? Amazing how many theoretical combinations of varieties there could be! A few weeks ago I learned from Laura of the Laura’s Mess blog of an Australian Syrah/Monastrell blend that piqued my interest as much as this Cab/Barbera blend – so much so that I ordered a bottle and can’t wait to try it out! 🙂 Experimenting is fun! 😉


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