The edge of crispness in the air gets me thinking of drinking reds and specifically Barbera from Italy's Piedmont region. Barbera used to be the workhorse of the region, the everyday wine drunk at lunch, with salumi and simple braised meats. But Barbera d'Alba from Pasquero-Elia is made with as much care as its much more expensive Barbaresco. Deep in color, with extravagant amounts of bright, juicy fruit (think cherries and blackberries), the 2007 Paitin "Serra Boella" just begs to be drunk with a fat grilled sausage, a bowl of pasta fagioli or a pork roast fragrant with sage. Pop the cork on a bottle to enjoy with a pan of slow-roasted winter root vegetables too. The 2007 just slides down your throat. Better lay in a second bottle just in case.
-- S. Irene Virbila
Region: Piedmont, Italy
Price: About $20
Style: Rich and smooth
What it goes with: Grilled sausages, roasts and stews, roasted root vegetables
Where to find it: Widely available at fine wine shops and retailers