2016 Tomisa Barbera + Bagna Cauda, Focaccia, Pizza: Preview #ItalianFWT

Tomissa Barbera

Have you ever had Bagna Cauda, the Piedmonte anchovy butter sauce? With Barbera? 

Then you have not lived!

This month here at Wine Predator we’re hosting the Italian Food Wine Travel group for “It’s All About Barbera.” Read the invitation post here “5 Reasons Why we Love Barbera“. Scroll down to see the titles and links to the ten participants. 

And that’s how we discovered focaccia dipped in Bagna Cauda, and how well it pairs with Italian Barbera.
Made with anchovies, olive oil, and garlic simmered together along with butter until all the flavors are integrated, Bagna Cauda means “warm sauce” in the Piedmonte dialect because it is served warm at the table in a big bowl so everyone can reach it to dip in bread or vegetables.   Butter (or milk or cream) as well as ground walnuts are often added so it’s not quite so salty from the anchovies. When I read that it pairs well with Barbera, Nebbiolo, Barbaresco and Dolcetto, I knew we were in business. 
But I had no idea it would be life changing! 

Bagna Cauda is not that photogenic… and the leftover cut up bites of pizza not so pretty either! Because of COVID, we each had small serving bowls for dipping instead of a communal bowl.


I learned about Bagna Cauda when I was looking for pairings for Barbera and I found a description in Ten Local Foods You Have To Try in Piedmont.  Then I found a recipe here.
OMG so much yum! we couldn’t get over how good! Verovinogusto importer Sheila Donahue, who has lived in Bologna for the past 15 years, was surprised that we were serving it as she says it is a rather obscure regional dish.
So what else did we pair our Barbera with? Here’s our Earth Month friendly menu:

Spring Foliage Focaccia before going in the oven IS pretty!

Midweek Menu for Earth Month and Barbera:
Bagna Cauda (anchovy garlic butter)
Ceasar Salad  (more anchovies!)
Spring Foliage Focaccia using pizza dough
Mini pizzas (more details on these Saturday!)
Chicken Sausage Orchiette 
This seems fancy but it’s actually a relatively easy menu. Sue picked up the pizza dough at Whole Foods, and while it’s not quite as good as her homemade, it’s still really good! The Trader Joe’s one might be a bit better, but we’ve also had good luck with the one from Vons.
For the focaccia, Sue used pizza dough! She decorated it with a sprig of oregano and one of rosemary, both from my yard. She used garlic for the petals and dried tomatoes for the centers as well as the sun, but fresh tomatoes would have been better. You can use colorful carrots and other vegetables but Sue was also busy making the mini-pizzas and the Bagna Cauda so it made sense to keep it simple. Then she drizzled olive oil all over it and baked it in the oven.
For the pizzas, to make it easier, I bought already grated mozzarella, we used an organic sauce in a jar, homemade premade pesto from the fridge, plus ingredients like already sliced salami, pepperoni, and prosciutto. With Earth Month in mind, these weren’t super meaty pizzas, but a little meat was nice with the Barbera and a little meat can go a long way. More details on the pizzas as well as the pasta on Saturday! 
Below I’m going to focus on the pairings of the Tomisa Barbera with the Spring Foliage Foccacia and mini-pizzas dipped in Bagna Cauda!  Then on Saturday we have a 2017 Aldo Clerico Barbera D’ Alba which we paired with the same menu but with an emphasis on Sausage Orecchiette.



2016 Tomisa Emilia-Romagna “Bio” Barbera  
ABV 15%  
SRP $24
sample for my review; no other compensation 

Located in the Gessi Bolognesi Regional Park in the Bolognese hills, Tomisa farms organically on 55 hectares. Named for their two children, Tommaso and Isotta, Tomisa is certified organic. We’re written about their frizzante here. They also have “an organic cosmetics line made with the pomace of their Cabernet Sauvignon full of antioxidants and emollients which include lotions, body scrubs and milk and cacao butter.” You can learn more and order this wine as well as find other organic wines and olive oils from Verovinogusto here.

Fermented in concrete allows the lovely fruit in this wine to shine– no wonder it won the “5 grape award” from the Italian Sommelier Association for this 2016 vintage!

Color: Ruby with garnet rim. Medium density

Nose: Spicy with fruit, red and black licorice vines, Sweet ripe fruit, grapes, black tea, leather and tobacco, cherry snuff. 

Palate: Bright tart cherry fruit, high acidity, silty soil at the back of the throat. Plums. 

Pairing: So fantastic with the Bagna Cauda; the wine tames the richness of the dish. Why we have never stumbled upon this recipe before was amazing to us.  Inspired by how well the wine went with anchovies, Sue made a pizza with caper wrapped anchovies and it was fantastic with the wine. 

Don’t turn your nose up to anchovies on a pizza until you have had it with this wine.  Also great with the meat pizzas. 

So who is writing all about Barbera this month?

Please join our chat on Saturday at 8am Pacific by following the hashtag #ItalianFWT.

  1. 8am Welcome to the #ItalianFWT chat “It’s All About Barbera.” Introduce yourself please! Where are your tweeting from? Share a link to your website! 
  2. 805a Is Italian #Barbera familiar or new to you? Share a link if you’ve written about it before or tell us about a favorite one from Italy or elsewhere in the world. #ItalianFWT
  3. 810a According to UCLA’s recent research, #organic and #biodynamic certified wines taste better and score higher. Tell us about your #Barbera. Is it organic, biodynamic or certified? #ItalianFWT https://winepredator.com/2021/02/09/ucla-research-organic-biodynamic-wines-score-higher/
  4. 815a While Barbera may be the third most planted wine grape in Italy, that doesn’t mean it’s easy to find this high acid, low tannin food friendly wine. How did you find your wine? Do you have a favorite region, producer or importer for Barbera?  #ItalianFWT
  5. 820a Tell us more about the Barbera you are featuring this month. Pictures? Link? #ItalianFWT 
  6. 825a Did you write about more than one Barbera? If so, tell us about it! Pictures? Link? #ItalianFWT
  7. 830a How did your pair your Barbera? What was your inspiration? Did you do a traditional Italian or regional pairing?  Link? Pictures? #ItalianFWT
  8. 835a How was your #Barbera pairing? Successful? What do you recommend to pair with this high acid low tannin Italian red wine?#ItalianFWT
  9. 840a Did you learn anything interesting about the history of Barbera?  #ItalianFWT
  10. 845a What did you learn about where your Barbera is from– the region or the producer?  #ItalianFWT
  11. 850a Have you visited Italy and tasted Barbera? Or do you have a favorite region, wine, grape, or winery for Barbera? #ItalianFWT
  12. 855a Shout out to participants #ItalianFWT “It’s All About #Barbera” @Vignetocomm @VinoTravels21 @WendyKlik @Culinary_Cam @GrapeExp_Cindy @LemieuxAndrea @linda_lbwcsw @sommstable @tsteffes and host @ArtPredator >> details https://wp.me/pj3XZ-7xj

    9am Thank you for joining the #ItalianFWT chat “It’s All About Barbera!” with host @artpredator. Join us next month on the first Saturday in June when host Susannah Gold @Vignetocomm leads us in a joyous journey into that fizzy fun red #Lambrusco! 


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