Two easy-drinking reds, La Famiglia Pirovano Barbera Oltrepo Pavese DOC (Whole Foods on sale $10, alcohol 13%) and Lava Cap, Estate Bottled Barbera El Dorado 2009 (Whole Foods $18, alcohol 14.7%). These are both excellent examples of how elegant yet casual Barbera can be. The Italian version has plenty of flavor with no harsh edges and the low alcohol pairs nicely with dinner. The California foothills version is like it’s bigger cousin, same accessible table wine with a bit more attitude. They are both staples in my wine fridge.
In the same food friendly, easy-going red group, I’m a fan of Serrera Bonarda 2008 from Mendoza, Argentina ($20, Imported by Taste-Vino.com I purchased it at Paradise Foods in my neighborhood). I don’t know anything about this vineyard/producer but it feels like a real find. Well-made food friendly wine. I’ve written about Bonarda and this is a very accessible example for someone just getting to know the grape.
Fields Family Wines 2010 Old Vine Zinfandel, Sherman Family Vineyards Lodi 2010 ($24) this is my “house red” at the moment. It’s has a lovely pulled-together quality and I find it enjoyable by itself and with a variety of dishes from pasta and red sauce to roast chicken. It’s not “too” anything; it has excellent fruit, earthiness and complexity disguised as simplicity. Winemaker Ryan Sherman is one to watch.