My first food and wine-pairing epiphany was with a bottle of Barbera d’Alba and a plate of penne dressed with a simple tomato sauce. Before that moment, I didn’t put much thought into food with wine. After that moment, my fate was sealed. It was not just how the Barbera lent the sauce a mix of dark woodsy and berry fruit flavors in the aftertaste. What really did it for me was how the Barbera reinforced the tomato flavors and made them taste more “tomato-y.” Add to that a dollop of brisk acidity, which is a textbook calling card of Barbera, and you have an amazing food-pairing wine. Just watch the heat in your tomato sauces, too much spice can seriously mute Barbera’s vibrant fruit.
There’s only one thing that could beat Barbera with tomato sauce and that’s Barbera with a tomato cream sauce. The simple yet amazingly tasty recipe of Penne with Pancetta and Tomato-Cream Sauce was the perfect pairing for a glass of Barbera.
2010 Guidobono Barbera d'Alba – The nose showed a mix of ripe crushed berries with cinnamon and spice, floral notes and hints of herbs. On the palate, it had a medium body and filled the senses with silky black and red fruits yet remained juicy and focused throughout. The finish showed tart cherry, which lingered on the palate complemented by a hint of tannin. (92 points)