This week we are doing something unusual. As always, we are reviewing two wines but this time both come from the same geographic location and the same grape. Within pennies they both cost the same amount. This column’s Barbera D’Asti holds the DOC designation. Its companion wine, a 2008, now holds Italy’s top wine designation, DOCG where the G stands for Guarantita. Can you guess what that means, or more accurately, might mean? Barbera d’Asti is one of several Barbera grapes. Collectively Barbera is the most popular variety in Piedmont, a region of northwest Italy known for some great wines. Terradavino encompasses some 2500 growers on over 5 thousand hectares (over 12,000 acres). It is located in Barolo, whose very name evokes images of regal wines. Don’t expect a Barolo at this price. You may want to visit the winery, which is open year round. Today’s companion wine is not organic.
OUR WINE REVIEW POLICY All wines that we taste and review are purchased at the full retail price.
Terre da Vino da Agricoltura Biologica Barbera d’Asti 2007 DOC 13.5% alcohol about $11.00
Let’s start by quoting the marketing materials. “Description: Winner of a Gold Medal at Sélections Mondiales des Vins Canada 2009. Our Quality Assurance Laboratory has determined that this wine contains 12 mg/L of free sulphur. Tasting Note: Deep ruby color with vibrant aromas of cherry, spice, plum, and sweet herbs. Dry, freshly fruity with a pretty, delicate body that makes it an ideal sipper or match it to fish or herbed chicken dishes. (VINTAGES panel, Sept. 2009).” And now for my review.
At the first sips this wine offered rich, fine acidity, light tannins, and dark plums. My initial meal centered on chicken hamburgers. In response the Barbera was slightly sweet. Oak and dark cherries came to the fore. When I generously added Louisiana hot sauce the wine thickened. The accompaniment was green beans in a crushed tomato sauce on brown rice. Now the wine’s sweetness increased and the dominant fruit was cooked cherries.
The next meal consisted of barbecued beef ribs in tomato sauce. The Barbera offered black cherries and plums, good acidity, and light tannins. I added wasabi sauce with ginger to the meat; the ginger was predominant. When paired with potatoes roasted in chicken fat the acidity washed the grease away and the wine sweetened. The final component was an Oriental-style salad/salsa including tomatoes, pimentos, hot peppers, and garlic. In response the wine became more acidic.
My final meal centered on a barbecued chicken leg in a tomato-paprika sauce. The Barbera D’Asti tasted of dark cherries in a thick, almost syrupy liquid. The Louisiana hot sauce took away the wine’s syrupy quality. In the presence of guacamole, the wine was extra long and tasted of light plums.
For my first cheese I tried a Muenster. The Barbera responded with round acidity. There were black cherries and some oak. It was refreshing. When paired with a more flavorful Swiss cheese the wine’s fruit was mostly gone.
Final verdict. I think that I would buy this wine again. It’s quite a good price for an organic wine, if that’s what you want. And I didn’t even miss the G.Access the companion wine Another Barbera D'Asti
Levi Reiss has authored or co-authored ten books on computers and the Internet, but to be honest, he would
rather just drink fine Italian or other wine, accompanied by the right foods. He teaches classes in computers at an Ontario
French-language community college. His wine websites include
www.theworldwidewine.com and http://www.wineinyourdiet.com
Visit his website devoted to Italian travel www.travelitalytravel.com
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