Wine of the week: Marchesi di Barolo Maraia 2014

Marchesi di BarolaThe Marchesi di Barola reminds us that there’s a reason the best Italian wine, at any price, tastes like it came from Italy

The Italian Wine Guy regularly writes about the battle for the soul of Italian wine, the divide between those who make Italian wine and those who make wine in Italy and don’t worry about how Italian it is.

That divide, which I see often, bothers me. What’s the point of making Italian wine that tastes like it came from California? Don’t we already have lots of wine like that? What’s wrong with making wine that tastes like it came from Italy?

Which is why the Marchesi di Barolo ($10, purchased, 13%) made me smile.

The Marchesi di Barolo is a corner grocery wine; that is, the kind of wine you buy for three or four euros when you stop on the way home to pick up bread and cheese for dinner. And no, it’s not like anything sold at 7-Eleven.

But does this mean it’s a 93 point with layers of nuance, pretensions of snobbery, and a hefty price tag? Of course not. This red made with the iconic barbera grape is a simple, but not stupid, Italian red wine to have with dinner. That’s it’s reason for being – sour cherry fruit, some earthiness, and those rustic tannins that remind us that smooth should not be the goal of very wine in the world.

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