Some very impressive wines are best enjoyed by themselves – but some wines, when presented with food, actually seem to make both the food and the wine improve and Italian wines are traditionally favorites of the wine+food crowd. Here is a wine that fills the requirement of “must go well with food”. The Ascheri Barbera D’Alba Fontanelle 2008 (approximately $18 www.ascherivini.it) tastes great with food, and for those who find Italian wines difficult or confusing because they aren’t like a California Cabernet – please take a chance on this Northern Italian 100% Barbera red. Located 25 miles south of Turin in Northern Italy’s gorgeous Piedmont Region, Ascheri claims to be focused on making wines that express the vineyard and the grapes, rather than producing a wines that rely on particular technology, oak or winemaking techniques. While unwilling to draw philosophical conclusions, I do conclude that in the case of this wine, the aim was true and the goal achieved. As is traditional for Barbera wines, this wine is light bodied with a clean, dark ruby color. Like many Italian reds, breathing helped the Ascheri open up and reveal concentrated red berry flavors with some black cherry undercurrents, all nicely balanced in a bright and fresh package including a nice grip of well integrated acidity at the finish. This is a wine that will agree with, and nicely balance, many types of food, from pizza to pasta to strong cheeses.