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!