California Barbera

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from My Wines Direct

**Update: My Wines Direct has provided a code for $10 off any order, good through 12/17.  Enter Wannabe10 at checkout.

Several weeks ago (and probably closer to 2 months ago) the folks from My Wines Direct contacted me and wanted to know if I’d like to try some of the wines they offer.  Sadly, they don’t ship to Virginia, so I had to have them shipped to my parents’ house, and then it took awhile to retrieve and drink them.  In my package was the 2003 Laughing Raven Reserva Barbera and the 2005 Fauna Sauvignon Blanc (Note: I reviewed the 2006 version of that wine nearly 2 years ago, and the 2005 isn’t in great shape anymore.)

The 2003 Laughing Raven Reserva Barbera hails from the Alexander Balley, clocked in at 14.5% alcohol by volume, had a real cork closure, and is available from My Wines Direct for $21.99.  It’s interesting to note that the wine is barrel aged for 36 months!!

On the nose I found spice, a little barnyard funk, berries, oak (not surprising given 36 months in barrel), boysenberry, eucalyptus, and mint.  On those nose I got orange peel, red berries, raspberries, cocoa powder, plums, and black cherry.  I also found hints of orange on the back palate.

Overall, I’d describe the wine as juicy and smooth with great structure.  We drank this on it’s own, but I think it would stand up well to a roast or a pork tenderloin. I’ve never had a Barbera from California before…it was really interesting, but toally different from any I’ve tried from Italy!