Maraia Barbera del Monferrato

Cost: Average price $9.99

Where buy now: Costco

Grapes: Barbera

Region: Italy

Vintage: 2012

Maraia Barbera del Monferrato

What kind of liquid endorphin has got me on tenterhooks lately? It’s a few Italian wines that recently hit the shelves at Costco. Costco’s inventory turns over quickly so you’ll want to get in on my “skank” wine, a budget Sangiovese that’s stupid (and contagious) tasty for $6.99. You can read about it here http://bit.ly/1fYV4Dc/Cecchi Sangiovese

My most favoritist, though, is a Barbera del Monferrato. You may be familiar with Barbera d’Alba or d’Asti. Well, there is a third Barbera zone: Barbera del Monferrato. All three hail from the Piedmont region which is North Eastern Italy. (Remember the 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino? That was in Piedmont.) Oddly enough, Barbera del Monferrato is the largest of all three zones and yet you don’t hear much about it. I’m a bit embarrassed to say that I was one of those people.

I’ll tell you that I have a straight up Barbera fetish. There isn’t one that I haven’t enjoyed, though I’m more partial to Barbera d’Alba over Asti [much the same way my husband is partial to Barbara Eden vs. Barbara Streisand]. “They” (wine gods?) state Barberas from Alba and Asti are more robust where as the Monferrato is more aromatic and softer on your palate. I cannot tell you if it’s true, because I didn’t simultaneously sample Barberas from all three zones to test this theory. Why? Because I would have drank all three bottles and been in an alcohol induced coma. I love Barbera that fervently and have SOME sense of dignity. Well…

What I can tell you about this wine is that it’s an agreeable lil’ number. I enjoyed the rich red cherried plum flavors, it’s soft vanilla undertones and peppery tinge. It’s a touch more jammy than one would find in a Barbera- not so much with the earthy funk. Nevertheless, this would be a great wine to experiment with. I mean by tasting and/or pairing it. Don’t go wasting it by sploshing it on your wet and messy cakesitting fetish friends.

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