The more you drink, the harder it is to find a wine that takes your breath away, that makes you step back for a second and say: Wow!

I had that experience tonight with a bottle of 1998 Barbera, La Strega, La Gazza e Il Pioppo, Oltrepo Pavese from the exciting Az. Ag. Martilde. A stunning bottle of wine that offers almost none of the attributes that knock down the big points today. Wonderfully warm and earthy with just the right touch of inelegant abandon on the nose, this wine hits the palate with a bitterness and acid zing that evolves into a wine of such length and complexity that it indeed took my breath away. It was wines like this that got me into wine in the first place and wines like that are damn hard to find these days.