Italian wine nomenclature is almost inevitably confusing. In Piedmont, for instance, Bariolo and Barbaresco are subregions, while barbera is a grape. And an underrated one. The 2013 Marchesi di Barolo "Maraia" Barbera del Monferrato ($13) is redolent of the good kind of sour cherry, with mouthwatering, bitter/sweet flavors dominating. The hearty red quickly sheds the initial funk on the nose and goes to fresh on the palate and the ample finish. Few red varietals are as versatile at the table as barbera, and this one is no exception: roast chicken, vegetable medleys, omelets and other eggy dishes, pizza and pasta all cozy right up to this robust gem.
Available at Liquor Boy, Elevated, Richfield munis, most Haskell's, 1010 Washington and South Lyndale.