I'll bet the PR brains behind the current junket of seven American bloggers in the Asti area are kicking themselves right now.
I can imagine the people who dreamt up Barbera Meeting 2010 believed the Yanks would sing the praises of the mostly oak-ridden, unbalanced wines as good Yanks are supposed to do. That they'd be doling out 95's and 96's like nobody's business. That Barbera d'Asti would receive a badly needed boost in awareness and perception in the United States.
The "Barbera Boys" (6 boys, 1 girl, actually) -- the Barbera Boys were supposed to have accomplished a PR slam dunk for the various regional and consortial entities that put the whole thing together. This naive goal is now about as fraught with controversy and polemics as another slam-dunk situation of recent memory. That would be the war in Iraq, ladies and gentlemen.
The Barbera 7's frequent posts -- becoming ever more outspoken and negative -- show them reaching a consensus on the lack of a consistent, recognizable varietal character in the Barberas. (A problem I have long had with them.) The bloggers have also reacted sharply to the producers' hostility -- defensiveness built on the evident fear that they HAVE lost their way and their markets -- so that some of their dispatches have taken on the tone of war correspondence. It's all highly entertaining and revelatory. It's also a must-read: go here to catch up on the reportage.
This, by the way, will be the breakthrough to "importance" that wine bloggers have been seeking. (See the quotes from US-side organizer Jeremy Parzen in Turin's La Stampa.)
Let's hear it for the Barbera Boys.