If the 2010 BRAIDA Montebruna Barbera d’Asti is good enough to be on the all-Italian wine lists at restaurateurs Mario Batali’s, Nancy Silverton’s and Joe Bastianich’s fine dining Mozza restaurants in L.A. (Osteria Mozza is one of the great meals in America), then it’s good enough for your table. Let’s not forget that the humble Barbera wine, though from the high class Piemonte region of Northern Italy, was once more or less considered a table wine. At this price, it’s one of the best table wines you’ll ever find. Bright, juicy as all-get-out, acidic and tangy, it finishes long with a distinctive rush of cherry and blackberry and a hint of bacon fat greasiness (yum)—and finally a tannic attack of peppery spice. Versatile and food friendly and easy to gulp, don’t be surprised at the end of the evening to find one of your table guests wrapping their arm around your shoulders in drunken revelry affectionately calling you a paisan. Take it as a compliment—the wine brings out the Italian country in everybody. –J.M.
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