A vintner friend brought along a couple of compelling older wines for lunch at the Purple Pig, a newish insider favorite in Chicago, and our party of three wanted to order a wine or two off the restaurant’s list to start. The menu, subtitled “Cheese, Swine and Wine,” focuses on dishes inspired by Italy and Spain that incorporate pork. Flipping through the Italian wines available by the glass, quartino and carafe, I spied a Piedmont red from the outstanding 2007 vintage that promised the requisite fruit and refreshing balance to match up with our first few courses.
The Camerano Barbera d’Alba 2007 did not disappoint, delivering its sweet leather-accented cherry and smoke flavors on a silky frame. It had the zing of acidity to balance the rosemary-accented lardo (pork fatback) draped over crostini, the deftness to complete the pork neck “gravy” (red sauce) with an island of ricotta, and the balance to play nicely with the baby artichokes and fingerling potatoes braised with salame Toscana. 88 points, non-blind.
WineSpectator.com members: Read the original blind-tasting review for Camerano Barbera d’Alba 2007 (89 points, $27).
• Plus, get scores and tasting notes for more recently rated Barbera d’Alba wines.