Pleasant Surprise - 2010 Fontanafredda Barbera


How do you decide what wine to pair with your meals?  Do you pick the wine then decide what food to have with it, the reverse, or neither?  I’ve always viewed wine as a compliment to the food on the table and as such a wine should make the dining experience more pleasurable.  How one arrives at the endpoint is irrelevant.  Eat and drink what you like.

What to open up?  We had the salad prepared, the pasta was almost ready.  We’re snacking on some toasted seeded sourdough bread that’s been brushed with olive oil and garlic.  It’s time to select a wine to go with the meal.  We’re having Pappardelle pasta with a light tomato sauce so we don’t need a full bodied wine which would overpower the flavors of the dish.  Usually our default wine to go with tomato based pastas is Valpolicella.  Most Valpolicellas are light to medium bodied and clock in around 12.5 alcohol by volume.  The only Valpolicellas we had on hand were of the Ripasso and Amarone style (way too serious for our weekday fair ).  Check out our podcast on Valpolicella to learn more about these wonderful wines.  To our delight we discovered a bottle of  2010 Briccotondo Fontanafredda Barbera that we had somehow previously overlooked.

Fontanafredda was established in 1858 and its current owners are Luca Baffigo, Oscar Farinetti and Eataly.  They make a full line of  wines from the southern Piemonte region. The wine is 100% Barbera and is aged partly in new Allier oak barrels and partly in Slavonian oak casks for around five months.  Displaying a medium ruby color, finished with a real cork the nose exhibits violets, red fruits, earth, mushrooms, leather and licorice.  On the palate you’ll notice red plums, cherries and smooth tannins combined with a zippy acidity.  The finish is of medium length, crisp and clean.  I believe this Barbera is aimed at the international wine market and the Biccotondo seems to always hit the right marks from vintage to vintage.  This not a showy wine ( lavishly oaked ) and at about $10 to $13  a bottle one shouldn’t expect it to be so.  Briccotondo Barbera represents a solid bargain and delivers a wine with generous fruit, good balance, remarkably easy to drink and that – I would recommend this wine to my friends factor.


Very food friendly you’ll find it pairs well with burgers, soups, salumi, cheeses, tomato based pastas, sausages and pizza.