Some very impressive wines are best enjoyed by themselves – but some wines, when presented with food, actually seem to make both the food and the wine improve and Italian wines are traditionally favorites of the wine+food crowd. Here is a wine that fills the requirement of “must go well with food”. The Ascheri Barbera D’Alba Fontanelle 2008 (approximately $18 www.ascherivini.it) tastes great with food, and for those who find Italian wines difficult or confusing because they aren’t like a California Cabernet – please take a chance on this Northern Italian 100% Barbera red. Located 25 miles south of Turin in Northern Italy’s gorgeous Piedmont Region, Ascheri claims to be focused on making wines that express the vineyard and the grapes, rather than producing a wines that rely on particular technology, oak or winemaking techniques. While unwilling to draw philosophical conclusions, I do conclude that in the case of this wine, the aim was true and the goal achieved. As is traditional for Barbera wines, this wine is light bodied with a clean, dark ruby color. Like many Italian reds, breathing helped the Ascheri open up and reveal concentrated red berry flavors with some black cherry undercurrents, all nicely balanced in a bright and fresh package including a nice grip of well integrated acidity at the finish. This is a wine that will agree with, and nicely balance, many types of food, from pizza to pasta to strong cheeses.
This week at Braddock’s (http://www.braddocksrestaurant.com/events/) we are fortunate to have made another deep dive into their wine cellar to fine the 2005 Coudoulet de Beaucastel Côtes du Rhône. This will be available by the glass (very unusual!) so that we may all taste the results of this historically significant vintage. Robert Parker rated the Southern Rhone 2005 Vintage 95pts and ageworthy – so this Cotes du Rhone wine should be right and ready to drink with good balance. The wine is made from grapes grown very close to the uber-famous Châteauneuf du Pape region, so it stands to reason that the soil and weather and grapes of this area must be very similar to the ‘big brother’ Châteauneuf du Pape wines – please join us if you can!
Despite the horribly cold weather, we are charging ahead with more interesting “Tuesday Tastings” at Braddock’s (http://www.braddocksrestaurant.com/events/). The wines featured this week represent a great opportunity to try wines that would typically not be available to try by the glass or otherwise. For the white wine fans, we get a true value in the Beringer Private Reserve Chardonnay, I have never seen this fine California Chardonnay served at only $5 per glass – so our white wine-loving friends will be very happy! The reds are from two famous California Vintages that stores haven’t carried for years, but I was permitted to delve into the darkest corners of the Braddock’s wine cellar and request these wines which will hopefully provide all who try them with a sense of what these wines can become IF given enough time to age in the bottle. As a note: Robert Parker rated the 2004 California Vintage “Outstanding” and the 2001 California Vintage “Extraordinary”. Should be a fun tasting…
$5 per glass White
Beringer Private Reserve Chardonnay
$5 per glass Reds
De Loach Zinfandel 2004
Gundlach Bundschu Merlot 2001