We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
We stuck with the Piedmont's local Barbera wines during our Italy trip. Barbera d'Asti and Barbera d'Alba. That same grape has been grown up there at least since the 13th century.
I did not realize that the Barbera grape is the most abundantly-grown grape in Italy. These are basically good table wines, nothing too complicated or fancy, and far down on the wine totem pole from the great Northern Italian wines like Amarone and the Nebbiolo grape-based Barbaresco and Barolo.
In the hilly area around Alba, only vineyards in the hills with suitable slopes and orientations are considered adequate for production. The terrains must be primarily clayey-calcareous or sandy-calcareous in character. DOC recognition is excluded for terrains with northern exposures and the bottoms of valleys that are flat or semi-flat. The colour of the wine is intense ruby red when young with a tendency to garnet after ageing.
The high-in-acid Barbera Grape of north-western Italy is a chameleon-like grape which changes considerably according to yield. As an everyday variety, it is a juicy glugger but it can metamorphose into a concentrated, rich, plumy and cherryish wine with undertones of sweet vanilla and spice when aged in small new casks. In Argentina, it tends to the former style with a little less acidity thanks to plentiful Andean sunshine.