Easing the Pain: Ca’DiPian

I often say I want to run away to Italy to live on a vineyard in Piedmont.

Today, I ran away to a wine from the region, the Barbera D’Asti. You know it’s a “day” when the Italians living in Minnesota start to open Italian wine. I had to look twice to see that DiPian really wasn’t “of pain.”  It was a tough week of moving culture shock and of bottling all workouts into this weekend. Pain seemed appros pos.

I’ve often shied away from opening Italian wine just for drinking–the high acids and tannins often leave me feeling like tumbleweeds-have-blown-through-my-mouth dry.  This wine: La Spinetta Ca’Di Pian Barbera D’Asti 2008 was really well balanced and fruit forward of red and black berries, balanced with vanilla, oak and earthy undertones, coupled with a nice medium finish.  Although the label came in at 14% alcohol, it felt much like a younger version of its big, bold Italian sister, balancing the high acid with the low tannin. It was lovely, as if a young Al Pacino came to my apartment to wish me a good night.


After Sangiovese and Montepulciano, the Barbera grape is the third most planted grape in Italy.  And if the interwebs is accurate, the wine must be made by March 1, immediately following the harvest.  Who knew?

This bottle averages $23.  Go buy one.  The beautiful part of this hard week is that I get to share it with my first friend in life (outside of the family, as we say).

Godere! (I think, or hope rather, the interwebs helped me translate this correctly).  Enjoy!

I am still going to make a workout in the morning, but wanted to celebrate the 4 workouts in 3 days I did make.  To the Pain!


Blanket in a bottle: Laetitia Estate Pinot Noir

This summer I was driving from San Diego to Las Vegas, when after a two week stint in the capital of US wines I realized: I hadn’t gone to a single vineyard.

The realization hit me in San Lois Obispo County–it was hot and it was a desert.  I thought, as I frantically looked up vineyard names I didn’t recognize, it might be okay this time to ‘not seize the day’ and pass on something you might not want to discover.  The heat was cloying, and a coke sounded better in the arid air.

Fast forward to this week when the first snow in Minnesota hit, and a white blanket–and darkness from daylight savings time–dampened our spirits.  In a word, this week was hard, and as I headed home to unwrap even more boxes from my endless move, I thought: I need wine.

The wine: Laetitia Estate Pinot Noir, Arroyo Grande Valley 2011 sung to me on the shelf of Whole Foods, North Loop, MSP.  Simple packaging, a sales price and a description that said, “Coastal Terrace 3 miles from the Pacific Ocean” I started to rethink my image of “dry and brown” from this summer’s jaunt.  That close to a coastal region, the cooling effects of the Pacific would have a cooling and softening effect.  It did.

The wine photo-95couldn’t have been better for what I wanted: a sigh of relief in a bottle–that was on sale for $15.99 (Kinda like Calgon, take me away, circa 1982 prices for wine).  The taste sung of deep red cherries, clove, light oak singed with smoke,  slight pepper, and herbaceous, earthy undertones.  It entices as you lift it up to your mouth to taste–great, leaning smells of fruit and libraries.

This was beautifully balanced, fruity, complex, delicate–and a blanket all in one.  You know the day–every pore is screaming, “stop–I can’t take another moment of being wrung out.”  This blanket is a nice blend of cashmere–it wafts softly around the stress, versus a Richard Simmons “let’s get moving!!” Cabernet Sauvignon from Cali.

This wine is worth it. Buy it for a friend, your next party, or a viewing of desert pictures online–it will be a good friend for the night, and after the day I’ve had, I might very well skip the workout in the morning. Ole, dude.