Garlic Pasta + Barbera

If my first love is wine, my second love is pasta. I’ll never turn down a good pasta. This one is one of my favorites: black and white garlic spaghetti from Spartina in Los Angeles. It’s incredible, because the black garlic adds this rich, savory, sweet-but-not-too-sweet flavor component, while the regular garlic gives it a good old kick of spice. And it’s cheesy, so there’s really nothing not to love.

I paired this takeout pasta with an Italian wine I’ve been saving for the right pairing: 2014 Michele Chiarlo Nizza DOCG Cipressi.

This wine is particularly exciting to me, too! It comes from the Piedmont area of Northern Italy, which is most famous for Barolo and Barbaresco, which are wines made from the Nebbiolo grape. The second most famous wine is made from Barbera grapes, which have made their way into the US but I haven’t come across a ton of great bottlings yet. I LOVE Barbera — it’s a great pizza wine, with pretty high acidity, usually well-priced, and easy to drink, typically with notes of black cherry, violets, and spices.

The Nizza classification is the only DOCG in Italy dedicated to just Barbera, and it’s the best place in Italy for this wine’s production. (All the others are either DOC or lower, meaning it’s a more generic classification with less strict rules and regulations). So if you’re like me and love Barbera, THIS is the wine to get!

This wine is also fantastic with a garlicky pasta. The elegant acidity of the wine really heightens the flavors of garlic and cheese mixed up in the sauce and noodles. Notes of earthy, dried herbs and flowers add a lovely complexity to the pasta, while sour cherry and pepper notes balance the mildly spicy garlic sauce.

So if you’re ordering — or making! — a garlic-based pasta dish, try a Barbera!

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