A red wine for my wife thanks to Luigi Coppo’s L’Avvocata.

Like a lot of American wine professionals, we drink mostly white wine at home. Unless we are having meat for a main course or aged cheeses for dessert, its fresh-style white wine we crave.

In recent years, my wife Tracie has stopped drinking red wine altogether, unless it’s something really special or something with some “age on it” as we say in the trade. That’s partly owed to the fact that red wine doesn’t always agree with her. At our house, wine is an essential part of our dinner and the wines we choose are always those that align with our metabolic rhythms. (I believe that one of the most important things we overlook in wine tasting and writing is how does the wine make you feel, during and after the meal? That’s another story for another post.)

But the other night when I opened a bottle of my friend Luigi Coppo’s Barbera d’Asti L’Avvocata (shared with me by the generous folks at Folio Fine Wine Partners), Tracie asked me to pour her a second and even a third glass.

We were both surprised: wines made from Barbera are known for their high acidity and excessive acidity can often be a turn-off for Tracie. Of all the red wines we have in our home cellar, a Barbera d’Asti was the least likely candidate for a wine she would enjoy, we thought.

Although this classic fresh-style, bright, slightly underripe red fruit-driven expression of Barbera d’Asti delivered the acidity that we expected, its balance was so beautiful that it seemed to sing in the glass. I’ve tasted so much Barbera d’Asti over the last couple of years (because I’ve spent so much time teaching in Piedmont for the last four years), including some great ones.

But this one just seemed to have a marcia in più, as the Italians say, an extra gear in the motor. What a wonderful wine! And what a great pairing for the chicken breasts we sautéed and deglazed with white wine that night for ourselves and the girls. The apotheosis of what Barbera can and should be in my view.

I knew and tasted with Luigi’s father Paolo back in the day when I was living and working in the wine trade in New York. And over the last few years, thanks to my Piedmontese sojourns, Luigi (above in his family’s historic cave) has become a good friend.

It seems like a lifetime ago that he and I were sharing dinner in Manhattan, drinking the same wine, back in late February. We even talked about writing some songs together and possibly doing an event in Houston this year.

Man, we miss those times before the pandemic. But Luigi’s wine brought a lot of joy into our lives the other night. The next best thing besides having him here with us and getting to taste it together.

I highly recommend the man and the wine to you.

Check out this recent post by friend Michael Godel, one of the best tasters I know, on a visit to the Coppo winery in late 2019, including Michael’s always spot-on tastings notes.

And thanks again to Folio for hooking us up!

Grande Luigi! Salutami tanto tuo padre. Un abbraccione.

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