About the wines:

St. Emiliano Barbera Superiore 2016

2016 may go down as one of the best all-time vintages in Piemonte (Barolos and Barbarescos aren’t released yet, but all indications are huge). The 2016 juice coming in is enormous, intense and cellar-worthy.

So…this barbera from Asti is a stunning young example. From the best acreage in Asti (Monferatto) and aged in new French oak, this is high-end barbera from a storied Piemonte producer (Rocchetta family). EXPLODING with tart blueberry, pomegranate molasses and crisp balsamic. Carmelized oak and black licorice round out the aromatics, but we reallly won’t know what nuances are buried under the thundering acidity, 15.5% alcohol (!!) and intensity of fruit for at least a couple years.

A bit too young to drink now (though don’t let that stop you lol), but fascinating/exciting to sample and then drop in the cellar for 3-4-10-15 years. Pair with tomato braised short ribs or dishes loaded with fat and acidity. It will hold up (or dominate…) almost anything right now!

 

Abras Torrontes 2017

If you love torrontés, just stop reading and buy now. If you don’t know it, this is one of the best examples you’ll taste. Perfumed aromatics explode from the glass. Think actual perfume: rose, lavender, jasmine, orange blossom. Then add citrus zest and dried herbs. This perfume intensity is why I give torrontes “wacky” status. But, whereas many torrontés follow with flabby or saccharine or just boring wine, this one supports and accentuates the aromatics. The crazy high altitude of Salta (5500ft) brings natural acidity that lifts the wine alongside its provocative bouquet. On the palate it’s crisp, dry and refreshing. Then the aromatics return for an unexpectedly long, tart finish, which is my favorite thing about this wine.

Pairing: Torrontés is IDEAL for spicy, aromatic foods: South East Asian, Thai, Indian curries, etc. Marries perfectly with dishes where spiciness is accompanied by intense aromas.