Tag Archives: red wine

A Wine A Day – Oddero Barbera d’Alba 2013

We all need a Barbera

Picture courtesy of a great night enjoying wines!

Italian wines are “difficult” – I get that a lot!

With generally high acidity and tannins, full body and not many tropical fruits that many love, Italian wines are the next step in a wine lover development.

Don’t be scared though, they can be easy to enjoy and an absolute blast, especially if paired with winter food.

The Barbera, a dark-skinned wine grape, is among the best of the best in Piedmont and a key D.O.C that will become one of your best friends.

Diffused all over Italy, Barbera is a vine that can produce astonishing wines. Most of the times it is best to enjoy wines from this grape while they are still young. You will appreciate the tartness, brightness and complexity that this relatively inexepensive wine can offer.

There are many different Barbera D.O.C.s all over the Piedmontese region. A few of the most popular are: Barbera d’Alba DOC, Barbera d’Asti DOCG , Barbera del Monferrato DOC, Piemonte Barbera DOC…you got the idea!

I consider Barbera the middle child between Nebbiolo and Dolcetto, with the relatively easy drinking vibe typical of Dolcetto and the complexity of Nebbiolo.

This grape variety is great when enjoyed during the winter thanks to all the available food pairings – from roasted beef to stew and mushrooms just to name the most common.

Let’s get to the real protagonist now: Oddero Barbera d’Alba 2013.

Grown from 40 years old vine in the south of the Piedmontese region and macerated for 15 days, this wine is as good as 15$ dollars can get!

As a generous woman, this wine is seductive and needs to be enjoyed while young and adventerous

It should not come as a surprise that Barbera is a feminine noun in Italian!

A full body wine with an intense ruby colour. The tannins are vibrant and sustain and elevate the fully mature, yet not over ripe, fruits like blackberries, blueberries, cherries, and strawberries. The light pepperedness and minerality complete the flavor structure with a note of freshness.

The balanced tartness makes it a long lasting wine with a soft and elegant finish.  An amazing pairing with mushrooms, duck, game birds, and many other favorites of the Piedmontese cuisine. I personally tried it in multiple occasions with big games and it really keeps the pace.

Even if meaty and hearty flavors are an easy pairing with this wine, it can be great with pasta dishes (hey, I am Italian after all!), especially ones with eggplants.

Essentially, a no brainer to drink everytime you are enjoying a meal with friends, especially if your friends are not too funny!


A wine a Day – Cala Cala Red Wine

This is a wonderful example of two great grape variety, the Nerello Mascalese and Nerello Cappuccio (two of the three main red grape variety of Sicily, Italy).

Italian wines are known to be a bit harsh sometimes and not very friendly to the palate of many people, especially those who are just getting into wine.

High acidity and strong tannins, together with a long finish, typical of Italian wines, however are prone to produce great wines that can age well and that are usually very reasonably priced (I am talking to you, French wines from Bordeaux…cough cough…).

This wine comes from vines that are an astonishing 100 years old on average and give a deep red color. The minerals of the lava soil where the vines are grown give a unique taste you will not find in any other region. Cala Cala (Sicilian dialect for a drink that goes down easily) is great by itself but, as for most Italian wines, you will need food to balance the tannins. The acidity and minerals of this wine call, however, for food that has some fat or acidity in it. My kingdom for a dish of fresh pasta with boar sauce accompanied by this wine!

On the nose, the wine is strong and lightly pungent. Hints of leather and coffee are there thanks probably to the light oxygenation given by the three-year wood barrel aging. Very ripe strawberries and cherries are there too. On the palate, it has a full body, filled with minerals and tannins, strong but never overwhelming. Again, strawberries, cherries and this time also black cherries, blueberries and dates.

The greatest thing about this wine, apart from tasting delicious, is that, being declassified from the Etna Rosso DOC, the price is great, $17.99 on average and it is a great way to start enjoying the wines from one of the most interesting wine regions in the world.

If you find it, grab a couple of bottles and, trust me, you will not regret it!


As usual, I am not paid to promote any of the wines I talk about.