This article was published in The 30 Second Wine Advisor on Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2008 and can be found at http://www.wineloverspage.com/wineadvisor2/tswa20081126.php.
Affordable holiday red
Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day in the U.S., and if you're looking for a last-minute bottle (or two) of wine to accompany the holiday feast, allow me to refer you to last year's thorough analysis, "Heritage holidays," http://www.wineloverspage.com/wineadvisor2/tswa20071119.php
For today, though, with Thanksgiving falling amid unusual financial worries over much of the world, worries that for many people cast a shadow over a whole-hearted giving of thanks, let's single out a specific, recently tasted wint that makes a fine companion with the holiday feast without costing a holiday price.
The wine, Michele Chiarlo 2006 "Le Orme" Barbera d'Asti, comes in at just a buck over $10 in this region, and may be available in some markets for less. Its crisp, tart red-fruit flavors are reminiscient of cranberries (see "the cranberry sauce rule" in last year's article linked above); and with its crisp, mouth-watering acidity, Barbera makes an exceptional companion with a variety of foods, including the traditional spread on the Thanksgiving banquet table.
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Michele Chiarlo 2006 "Le Orme" Barbera d'Asti ($10.99)
Very dark reddish-purple, with a clear garnet edge. Red-berry fruit, something like cranberries (only half-joking, perhaps a candidate for the Thanksgiving table), backed by subtle earthy, woody notes that stay well beneath the fruit. Tart cranberry flavors well shaped by zippy acidity, a good food wine with a variety of meat and poultry courses. U.S. importer: Kobrand Corp., NYC. (Nov. 24, 2008)
FOOD MATCH: As noted, it would be a fine, affordable companion to the holiday feast. We enjoyed it on a non-holidy work night with leftover chuck roast and garlicky mashed potatoes from a local restaurant.
VALUE: A wine of this quality in the $10 range makes a splendid "recession-buster."
WHEN TO DRINK: Barbera d'Asti falls into the happy category of wine that's delicious young and capable of cellaring. The winery suggests keeping it for up to seven years.
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