Revisiting A Barbera d'Alba

Can you get a fine Piedmont red at this price?...

Ascheri Fontanelle Barbera d'Alba

Ascheri Fontanelle Barbera d'Alba

Once again this wine comes in at slightly over the $15 mark on the web. I had to pay a bit more myself. As you may remember, Barbera is the most widely grown Piedmont red grape. The Barbera d’Alba variety is one of the best. The producer, Cantine Giacomo Aschere, has been in the wine business since the 1880s. Their website includes the recipe of the month, as served in their hotel restaurant. One featured dish is Hand made "tagliatelle" with sausage from Bra; with tomato and basil; with butter and sage, paired with (among others) the 2010 vintage of today wine. I’m repeating the previous review’s trivia, and not only because of laziness: The local village is La Morra where it was illegal to cut down a Nebbiolo vine (in case you don’t know Nebbiolo is considered the best Piedmont grape). The penalty ranged from amputating a hand to death. Today’s companion wine is a red blend from the more plebian wine region of Latium at half the price.

OUR WINE REVIEW POLICY All wines that we taste and review are purchased at the full retail price.

Wine Reviewed
Ascheri Fontanelle Barbera d’Alba DOC 2009 14 % alcohol about $16.

Let’s start by quoting the marketing materials. Description: This single-vineyard Barbera gives you a taste of the latest vintage from Piedmont, and for a song! Deep purple in color, it displays elegant aromas of ripe black cherry, plum, tobacco and hints of new oak. It's medium bodied, with deep, dark fruit flavors balanced by lively acidity and soft tannins. Enjoy with tomato-based pasta, chicken marengo, or a meat-and-cheese antipasto platter.” And now for my review.

At the first sips this wine was dark, long, and quite round. Japanese rice crackers brought out its fine acidity. This meal’s centerpiece was slow-cooked round steak. The libation responded with chocolate and dark fruit. It was round with light tannins. The accompanying potatoes increased the liquid’s length. Steamed broccoli imparted a tinge of sweetness and the wine was nicely acidic. Dollops of Chinese chili sauce on the meat made my beverage descend; it became too sweet.

The next meal consisted of a cheeseless lasagna containing whole wheat pasta, ground beef, spicy salsa, and peas. The Barbera responded with light acidity and chocolate. It was mouthfilling with melt-in-your-mouth tannins. Fresh pineapple weakened this drink; it was chocolatey. In response to Swiss Dark Chocolate with Orange Flavor and Almonds our Italian friend became harshly acidic.

My final meal centered on barbecued chicken whose skin brimmed with paprika. In response to the white meat this wine was long and multilayered with chocolate. The leg had a similar effect but sharpened the wine’s acidity. Potato salad containing pickles augmented the chocolate in my glass. Homemade tomato, cucumber, and red onion salad with fresh lemon sharpened the liquid’s acidity but the chocolate did not go away. Fresh watermelon rendered that acidity oppressive.

Final verdict. I plan to buy this wine again. I am tempted to taste this producer’s Barolo but at almost three times the price I will probably wait until it becomes unavailable.

Access the companion wine A Wine Lover's Weekly Review Of $10 Wine - An Almost Roman Red

About the Author

Levi Reiss has authored or co-authored ten books on computers and the Internet, but to be honest, he would rather just drink fine Italian or other wine, accompanied by the right foods. He teaches classes in computers at an Ontario French-language community college. His wine websites include
www.theworldwidewine.com    and    http://www.theitalianwineconnection.com

Visit his site devoted to touring Italy www.travelitalytravel.com

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