2008 Cogno Barbera d'Alba 'Bricco dei Merli'
When Barbera is good, it is very, very good. And the 2008 Barbera d'Alba "Bricco dei Merli" is one of those bottles. A deep ruby red, it's soft and velvety on the palate, conjuring up flavors of cassis, dark cherries and spice. The fruit bursts in your mouth, ripe and sweet. A lithe acidity means it goes beautifully with food.
Have it with grilled sausages, salami and prosciutto, with braised pork belly and rustic pasta dishes. Barbera, even at this level, is the ultimate quaffing wine, and the bottle is gone before you know it.
—S. Irene Virbila
Price: About $30
Style: Rich and full-bodied
What it goes with: Grilled sausages, ham, hearty pasta dishes
Where to find it: John and Pete's Fine Wines & Spirits in West Hollywood, (310) 657-3080, http://www.johnandpetes.com; Hi-Time Wine Cellars in Costa Mesa, (949) 650-8463, http://www.hitimewine.net; Mission Wine & Spirits in Pasadena, (626) 794-7026, http://www.missionwineandspirits.com; Wally's Wine & Spirits in West Los Angeles, (310) 475-0606, http://www.wallywine.com; the Wine House in West Los Angeles, (310) 479-3731, http://www.winehouse.com; Whole Foods stores, including Fairfax, Sherman Oaks, Redondo Beach, West Los Angeles and Venice, http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com