G.D. Vajra Barbera d’Alba

Remember when life was simple?

I do. I remember different levels of simple, different decades of simple. Looking back, it all seemed so simple back in the day. Be it childhood, young adulthood, even that 20-something/early 30-something time, life just seemed simpler. No cell phones, no social media, and certainly less responsibility. We hear it time and time again, "If I knew then what I know now..."... but we didn't, and we never will. Such is life I suppose. But it is comforting to look back and think, feel, that simplicity. To strip away the layers that time lays upon us. To breathe and think only of the breath, nothing more. To look, not at a screen, but out into the world, and really see what's in front of you. To eat food for fuel, not for it's artistic photographic merit.

And that's where I'll tie this in. Food.

In a world full of social media and magazines dedicated to pictures of food decorated fancier than a birthday cake for the queen of England, or more colorful than a Duron paint swatch, it's important to remember that food is just food. Sure it's fun to dress it up, garnish it with this, and drizzle it with that, but at the end of the day we just need it in us. Like my brother-in-law once said, "food for fuel, not for fun." Don't get me wrong, I enjoy a unique dish prepared in an old fashioned way with all local ingredients. But in this fast paced, complicated world we live in, I also enjoy, because I need, a food that I can eat and move on from. Give me a PB&J, a slice of pizza, a bowl full of veggies, anything I can eat on the go. If it makes the hunger pang go away I'm all for it.

So tonight, after a hard day's work filled with complications of whose details I'll spare, I craved something simple for dinner. After a quick rummage through the cupboards I settled on my old college ration - pasta. Combined with some frozen veggies, frozen meatballs, and marinara sauce, I had in front of me a truly simple dish that I hadn't enjoyed in quite some time. Then came the drink decision. So I kept it simple. Barbera.

Barbera and pasta go together like Chicken and Waffles, like Abbott and Costello, like Moose and Squirrel. Full of rich fruit and high acidity, Barbera is a food friendly wine that can be paired alongside almost anything - from burgers to lamb chops to pasta primavera, and even with my simple college-style dinner.

But as I endulged in my simplistic wine/food pairing I noticed something contradictory: this wine, this Barbera from G.D. Vajra, was anything but simple. Complex on the nose and on the palate, notes of cherry, raspberry, and violet all danced together in a promenade of lush fruit balanced by a slight crescendo of bright acidity in the long-lasting finish. After a few bites, and the dismissal of my hungar pangs, I found myself forgetting about the food completely and simply concentrating on this gorgeous Italian wine. I was, at that moment, simply drinking complex wine.

I did eventually finish my dinner 101 course. My food and wine pairing, initially thought to be something akin to a song by Gladys Knight & the Pips, ended up being somewhat of a learning, almost enlightening, experience. Maybe I wouldn't have appreciated the intricacies of the wine back in those simpler days. Or, maybe life now is simpler than I think it is - after all, I'm sitting here drinking Barbera, eating pasta, and getting paid to write about it...