WINE OF THE WEEK: 2009 Bosco Agostino Barbera d'Alba "Volupta"; from Piedmont, Italy; costs about $20; serve with salumi, sausages, braised meats and roasts.
It's winter, or as wintry as it gets in the warmer parts of the nation. Time to start soaking beans to braise with lamb shanks, slow-roasting great chunks of pork and sitting down to platters of salumi.
What goes with all of the above? Barbera d'Alba, and here's a terrific one from third-generation producer Bosco. Barbera doesn't get much better than this — lush and velvety, with polished tannins and a rich perfume of dark plums and cherries. Its lively acidity pairs beautifully with fatty foods. This is the time of the year when Italians go in for lentils with heavily marbled cotechino sausage — with Barbera. And if you've ever been in Piedmont when it's chilly, you've probably encountered bagna cauda, the "warm bath" of olive oil and butter dosed with lots of garlic and anchovy for dipping meaty peppers, fennel, cardoon and other vegetables. A good way to stay warm with the help of a bottle of Barbera. Pick this one.