Wine tasting: Barbera and Ruffino

I started doing this earlier, but my laptop battery ran out before I could get things properly shut down. I hate it when that happens.

So, anyways, The Wine Shop, in Nicholasville, had a wine tasting yesterday, in which they poured two italian wines:

Ruffino 2001 Orvieto Classico (d.o.c.)

Orvieto Classico is a white wine from italy – specifically from Umbria – and is composed of Grechetto, Drupreggio, Procanico and Trebbiano Toscano. Ruffino is an estate in Tuscany, and has a wonderful web site contaning a lot of information about their wines.

Although I caught a little bit of a nutty aroma, mostly I detected pear and tangerine, which was pretty cool. The taste was light, somewhat sweet, and bright (if that makes any sense – like a mouthfull of light – interesting sensation) and in the taste I found more of the nuts I had been told to expect. I suppose, for the most part, I’d rather people not tell me what to expect, because then I wonder if it is just the power of suggestion, or if it is really there.

The color is a wonderful straw color, reminiscent of summer.

This would be really good with an herbed chicken, or perhaps a baked fish – but then I tend to think that everything is good with baked fish, so you might want to discount that one! 🙂 Not everyone would agree with me on this, but I actually think that this would make a great sipping wine while sitting on the deck with a good book. It has enough sweetness to stand on its own, but also enough character and body to work with a meal.

Next, we tasted the:

Michele Chiarlo 2000 Barbera d’Asti (d.o.c.)

Barbera is red wine, made from the Barbera grape. Asti is a region in Italy. You can read more about Barbera d’Asti wines here.

If you have not had many (or any) Barberas, this is a good one to start with, as it has all the characteristics that I expect in a Barbera. It has a lovely dark ruby color, and the smoky, dark berry aromas that I want from a Barbera.

I felt, at the tasting, that this really would be a lot better with a meal – perhaps something simple, yet flavorful – like, say, spaghetti. So I got a bottle and brought it home, and made some spaghetti. Fortunately, I was right. The meal brought out the wonderful smoky flavor, as well as the plums and, perhaps, a little bit of strawberry (?) to go along with the rich berry flavors that just kept getting better as the wine opened up (having been just a little tart and acidic immediately after opening.)

Highly recommended, particularly if you like big, bold reds.

Additional notes: Italian wine labels can be hard to read – figuring out which is the producer, which is the appelation, and what the other stuff is, can be a little hard, particularly if you don’t speak any italian. There’s a good guide to reading wine labels at, including information about Italian labels.