Last night my wife and I had a friend over for dinner and decided to pop the cork on a 2008 Fontanafredda Briccotondo Barbera (say all of that 3 times fast) that I had picked up from World Market a while back.  We were serving lasagna for dinner, so I thought a nice Italian wine would be a good choice. 

Barbera is an Italian variety from the Piedmont region, and is known for having high levels of tannins and acidity.  This particular barbera runs about $10 and has an alcohol content of 13.5%

I really had three different experiences with this wine, depending on the context.  I tasted a little of this wine right out of the bottle, and I found the tannins and acidity to be a little much.  After decanting for about an hour I found it to be much more drinkable by itself.  The absolute best experience with this wine was drinking it with the Lasagna.  I think this is most definitely a food wine, as the acidity really plays well with food.

A lot of these notes came after letting this wine get a little breathing room.  On the nose I was getting a little bit of a licorice or anise aroma, some spicy black pepper, and some graphite pencil smell.  I think I might have gotten just a touch of olives as well.  The flavor of plums and sour cherries stood out in this wine, with some more spicy components.  This wine had a good meaty finish and some soft tannins. 

I really felt like this wine was a little too acidic to drink by itself, but was absolutely killer with our dinner.  If you are looking for a great dinner wine, I think that this wine represents a great value.  I would probably not choose this wine as something to just drink on its own, but would recommend it as an accompaniment to some pizza or some kind of pasta with a meat sauce.

This Barbera wine allowed me to check off another variety for my Wine Century Challenge.  I now have reviewed 13 of 100 varieties, and only have 87 to go!