When you eat as much acidic food as I do, and when you also regularly consume red wine with your meals (as I also do), you have to learn to balance two primary considerations: first, the wine must itself have a reasonable acidic base (that's an interesting phrase); second, it must be reasonably cheap. The second criterion certainly doesn't apply to everyone, but if you consume the quantity of wine that I do and you're in my income range, then you start caring.

Anyway, my conclusion is that a moderately priced Barbera wine will always do the trick. And in my search for a cheap, quality Barbera, I have had no greater success than with this wine: it's a very fine wine at $9. I have actually been waiting some time for the less good 1997 vintage to vacate shelf space for this vintage.

The wine is brimming with spicy scents, offering the slightest touch of oak in the aroma; overall, very inviting. It is perhaps a bit less fruity on the taste than some might like, but this gives it an easygoing medium body. Spiciness is the keyword for this wine, reminding one much more of wines from Apulia or Sicily than its own native Piedmont. The acid in the wine is pretty stiff--this is not a wine for drinking without food--but I found it refreshing and really compatible with a rolling-in-acid pepperoni calzone. And the tannins provide a nice touch--very mild but present, adding a bit of body to balance the acidity. I highly recommend this wine, and suggest pairing it with, say, a dish featuring an amatriciana sauce. (Ideally, I would pair it with the excellent red wine calamari sauce I made way back in my days as a cook at Boston's Trattoria Ecco Italia, but I may take this recipe to the grave, it's that good.)

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