Cost: Average price $11
Where buy now: Surdyk’s- $9.99
Region: Barbera d’Alba, Italy
While seeking one of my favorites recently, Ruvei Barbera d’Alba, I come to find out Surdyk’s doesn’t carry it any more. Why, oh why? I was turned on to this wine years ago when a friend gave it to me, and it has been my go-to splurge (typically around $20/bottle) ever since.
So, I asked, “What Barbera would you suggest that’s comparable yet under $15?” I was directed to this: Franco Serra Barbera [bar-bear-ah].
Later that afternoon, we went out with an old college friend. It was two of the worst hours of my life. And I mean it. A visit to my “ladyparts” doctor would feel like a Disney ride compared to this. I was miserable. This friend (whom shall remain nameless) not only showed up over an hour late, he appeared stoned, drunk and everything in between. I spent two hours listening to his loud, lewd, and drunken drivel, while not letting anyone else speak. I couldn’t get out of there fast enough.
Now, I know you’re thinking, “What’s this? The Savvy Lush can’t stand her old pal’s inebriation?” No, friends, I follow the sentiment of the late, great imbiber extraordinaire, Hunter S. Thompson, who once said: “There is nothing worse than a sloppy drunk.”
I came home and I needed to find my happy place and FAST! I grabbed the Barbera, and tapped the juice so fast you’d have thought I was Houdini. I poured a big ol’ glass. I needed to erase my last two hours, so more ambiance was required. I ran to the stereo to add the sonic bliss of Andrea Boccelli. I sat down, dog at my feet, and began to sink into the sofa. With each gorgeous note the tenor sang and with each sip of delicious wine I swallowed, I could feel my soul being restored.
This Barbera smelled of dark red fruit and wafts of soothing Italian breezes (go with me, now). The taste was velvety smooth, with hints of strawberry, mild spice and chocolate. The tannins are mild and there is little acidity in this medium-bodied red. This is a food friendly wine, as any Italian wine should be, but what I love about Barbera is you can drink it alone. As you can see in the picture, I enjoyed the wine alongside a Capicolla & Asiago Trader Joe’s sampler pack and some yummy dark chocolate from Kowalski’s (wine + meat & cheese = $6!). It was all working, and I finally found my happy place.
This is a tasty little number. I’m still sad that the Ruvei was no longer in stock at Surdyk’s as that one will still remain a favorite. However, the Franco Serra will more than suffice, and for a few bucks less, may become my new go-to Barbera.