Rocca dell’Olmo Barbera d’Asti: Now there’s a mouth full
It seems that the more you learn about wine, the tougher it is to shop for it, especially at Trader Joe’s. They carry so many wines that most of us have never heard of (and probably will never see again), that the whole process becomes quite dizzying; especially when you know that many of their very cheap wines are actually very good.
But which to pick? Sometimes there’s a little help.
On a recent trip to Trader Joe’s, there was a lady with two young children standing in front of the “Italian Shelf”. Knowing that her kids weren’t going to give her much more than 30 seconds to make a decision, she suddenly reached for the Barbera wines and rapidly began to fill her cart. If that move isn’t a display of wine knowledge, what is?
After a few questions from the rest of us, she explained that she has always been a Barbera fan, especially those from the Asti region. That’s all we needed; all the Barbera quickly vanished! What’s to lose anyway? Hey, for $6 you can always water it down and use it for plant food or something.
So there you have it, a quick buy, an even quicker quaff, and as it turned out, worth every bit of TJ’s price. With a bona fide “DOCG” label (plus a real Italian-marked cork) and sporting a bouquet of leather and dark fruit, this one will fool many into thinking it’s a $15+ bottle of wine.
Of course if you are a true lover of Barbera’s traditional rough-hewn character, this one will seem a tad smooth and tame. But for every day, you’ll find no complaints here. Its firm acidic backbone and white pepper finish are fine.
They have been shelving various vintages of these at our Phoenix area Trader Joe’s for the last 2 or 3 years, so there must be a whole warehouse out there waiting to restock when needed. No problem with that!
Entertaining Note: If you’re planning for a lot of people over and are considering steak with a side of spaghetti, this is a shoe-in. And don’t forget to raise a glass in celebration with an Italian wine that’s a great value.