Monday, February 27, 2012
Panini and Barbera, and Life.
This afternoon Becky went out and bought a panini grill, fulfilling a long-held intent of ours. With that purchase, tonight became "panini night" at the abode. Becky enthusiastically manned the grill, such as it was, and created various combinations of panini that included ham/cheddar/mustard, onion/turkey/swiss/spinach-dip, and ham/spinach/swiss/spinach-dip. Aside from making me fat, Becky was experimenting to find flavor combinations we'd like.
As is usually the case, I was left wondering what wine to open this evening. My requirement was simple: whatever I opened had to be Italian. Armed with this strident selection criteria, I engaged my friend Meg Maker, via Twitter, to see what she'd recommend. If you haven't read Meg's wine blog, check it out because I guarantee you will learn something while enjoying the story she tells.
Meg immediately suggested a barbera, bringing joy to my heart and palate because Becky and I had just purchased some barbera at an Italian wine tasting several weeks ago. A local wine store, E&R Wine Shop, was responsible for my new-found (or: re-kindled) enthusiasm towards wines from "The Boot".
This 2008 Iuli Barbera del Monferrato proved to be a wonderful match for grilled sandwiches. The bouquet is bright with red fruit and pepper, tobacco, and a whiff of Old World funk. It smells authentic, it smells of a real wine, made without high tech gizmos and gadgets but made with care, attention to detail, and passion. I can respect that. The beautiful garnet color lends itself to a wine that tastes like red fruit and soil with tart acidity keeping the troops in line. Light body, a clean finish, and a singularly beautiful simplicity leave me wishing I had a better vocabulary so as to do this wine justice.
Experiences like tonight's serve to remind me (us?) that you don't need to spend a lot of money for a wine to be special or memorable. Sometimes a simple, cheap, authentic barbera paired with your girlfriend's first attempts at panini are all you need to remember just how good you have it.