The first thing that comes to mind when I reckon of wine from Piedmont is Barolo, an outstanding wine made from the Nebbiolo grape. To me, Barolo is the most majestic and enjoyable red wine around. It also tends to be quite pricey… much more pricey than we can afford with our $20 per bottle limit on Cheap Wine Ratings. And so, I had to choose some wines additional than Barolo in order to stay right to the principles of affordability this website is all about. I finished up choosing three wines to try, a Barbera, a Dolcetto and a Gattinara.
This month I did something a small different. I picked up three different bottles of Piedmont wines and in addition to taking my own notes, I shared them with some colleagues from my day job after work one day and got thier impressions as well. They were shy about recounting the wines (or perhaps just not as geeky as me) but I did find their preferences to be fascinating.
Beni di Batasiolo – Barbera d’Alba
Barbera is considered one of the “lesser” red wine varieties in Piedmont—along with Dolcetto. But don’t let that mark steer you away because you can find some very nice wines made from Barbera at much more affordable prices than additional wines from this province. In fact this bottle was only $10.
Barbera is known for having a high level of acidity, which can be particularly pronounced when the wine is fermented in stainless steel rather than oak. This particular Barbera was oaked, which softened the acidity but the aromas and flavors don’t indicate that it was heavily oaked.
By the way, the “d’Alba” part of the name is a regional designation. Alba is a town in the Piedmont province and that’s all that means. Read more
Here are a few guidelines to help plan the best wine for your meal.
Sweetness in food cancels the fruit and/or any residual sugar in wines, making them taste drier than they are. Sweet dishes call for wines of at least equal sweetness.
Choice: Antigua Creme Brulee and Antigua Dessert Wine
Salty or briny foods also cancel the fruit in wines. Salty dishes call for aromatic wines with high acidity, some sweetness, low tannins, and/or intense fruitiness.
Choice: Fresh Oysters in Champagne and Sauvignon Blanc or sparkling wine
Tart foods cancel some of a wines fruitiness. Serve them with lightly sweet, very fruity, and/or full bodied white wines. In some cases, tart or crisp wines will also work well.
Choice: Endive Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette and a crisp Chardonnay
Spicy or hot foods cancel some of a wines fruitiness too. Serve them with lightly sweet, very fruity, low tannin, and/or crisp wines. Stay away from higher alcohol, tannic red, and/or oaky wines.
Choice: Sea Scallops with Jerk Marinade and Sauvignon Blanc or Gewrztraminer
Rich dishes overpower delicately flavored, lighter bodied wines. Serve with full flavored, full bodied, higher acid wines.
Choice: Braised Lamb Shanks and Cabernet Sauvignon
Fish and Game
Fish and game overpower mildly flavored, medium bodied, dry wines. Try these with very fruity, full bodied, high acid, and/or medium sweet wines.
Choice: Roasted Salmon with Pernod & Baby Spinach with Pinot Noir
Smoked foods overpower all but the fruitiest, richest wines. Low Continue reading
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