Note from the Artist: Wine and food are opportunities for pleasure and sharing. But wine can often be seen as daunting, making pairing it with food feel difficult. I draw illustrations about wine to express the fun and love for the experience that can also be found. In this series, I want to share a quick insight into wines that are great for the season and the foods they love to spend time with. Enjoy!

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Click to enlarge. [Illustration: Hawk Wakawaka]

If you think you prefer white wine, Barbera is your gateway to reds. It offers a medium weight on the palate with elegant—but juicy—flavors. If you like red wines, Barbera has enough weight and interest to keep you.

Barbera brings its vibrant acidity—it makes your mouth water!—along with it, whether dressed up in fine oak or more casual vestments. Barbera can get friendly with a wide range of foods, and it's a great summer-through-fall sort of wine. This statesman offers poise in any situation, enjoying time with refined foods as much as outdoor grilling (steak is my favorite in either situation). It's wonderful with grilled or roast meats, loves sausage or pizza, and didn't find a chicken it couldn't catch.

In Italy, Barbera finds its home in the Northwest: look to Piedmont. There, the wine can be made clean and lean, or with oak influence for long aging. The grape has jumped to California where it is grown in the Eastern foothills, which offer heat for ripe flavors and cool nights for lots of zip.

Producers to seek out: For treasure from Italy, Trinchero Barbera d'Asti Superiore, or Trinchero's Vigna del Noce Barbera d' Asti if you can cellar it a bit. Scarpetta Wines Barbera del Monferrato DOC, from Lachlan Mackinnon-Patterson and Bobby Stuckey of Frasca Restaurant in Boulder, Colorado, offers great value with a lot of juiciness. From California, Forlorn Hope San Hercurmer delle Frecce Shake Ridge Vineyard (Amador County) gives beautiful fruit with an accent of lively spice.

About the Artist: Hawk Wakawaka is a wine drawing philosopher with a heart of gold. She also writes the website Hawk Wakawaka Wine Reviews.

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