We were dining with some friends at Nobuo at Teeter House, Nobuo Fukuda’s casual but creative and fabulous Japanese place in Phoenix. Nobuo’s extraordinary food was the star of the late, lamented Sea Saw in nearby Scottsdale. There he also had access to the extensive wine cellar associated with Cowboy Ciao and its affiliates, which made for world-class omakase dinners. On his own, he is just beginning to build up the wine cellar.
After sipping a wonderful minerally smelling, fruit-rich Riesling from Germany’s Nahe region through most of dinner, we wanted a change of pace for the final few courses. We knew Wagyu beef would be one of them, so I chose La Spinetta’s soft-textured ball of mineral and fruit flavors, its Barbera d’Asti Ca’ di Pian 2007. The wine showed currant, cherry and spice notes, which all came together with finesse on the finish. The tannins were well-integrated; a couple of years in the bottle had smoothed the wine nicely. 88 points, non-blind.
Wouldn’t you know the next course would be oysters? The wine actually did not clash, largely due to its refinement and clear flavors. When the beef finally arrived, cooked in a miso sauce on its own little hoba leaf-lined hibachi, it made beautiful music with the Barbera.
WineSpectator.com members: Read the original blind-tasting review for La Spinetta Barbera d’Asti Ca’ di Pian 2007 (88, $26).
• Plus, get scores and tasting notes for more recently rated Barberas, from Italy's Piedmont region.