The daily dinner wine ($13 - $15)
- 2007 Michele Chiarlo Barbera d'Asti Superiore Le Orme - Italy, Piedmont, Asti, Barbera d'Asti Superiore
The nose shows red fruit, undergrowth and chalk. I could have mistaken it for Chinon from the nose alone. On the palate you find bright cherry fruit, citrus rind, and minerals. Medium refreshing red fruit finish. It's a streamlined barbera with juicy acidity that showed beautifully tonight. I will buy more.
Perfect for a plate of pasta ($16 - $22)
- 2007 Vietti Barbera d'Asti Tre Vigne - Italy, Piedmont, Asti, Barbera d'Asti
A very pretty wine and a text book example of barbera. The nose is full of cherry, red licorice, cedar and undergrowth. The palate shows a very focused acidity with cherry fruit, clove and bitters. The finish is fresh with tongue curling acidity. Simple, unpretentious and just right for a plate of pasta with red sauce.
To impress your guests and yourself. ($40 - $50)
- 2007 Giacomo Conterno Barbera d'Alba Cascina Francia - Italy, Piedmont, Alba, Barbera d'Alba
Dark crimson red color in the glass. The nose is like a basket of fresh picked, super ripe berries followed by holiday spices, new leather and a bit of oak. Some heat is present but does not detract from the experience. On the palate you find masses of dark fruit, sour licorice, pepper and bitters. Very balanced with the acidity showing just a bit through the rich fruit. The finish is long but fresh with blackberry fruit. Don't be afraid to pair this against hearty or spicy dishes.
A personal preference: Try pulling the cork on your bottle about an hour before you plan to drink it. Most reds benefit from the small amount of circulated air that makes it into the bottle. I like to pour a small glass for an early taste, bringing the level of the wine to the mid-shoulder of the bottle, and giving a little extra breathing room.