Marionberry Wine


One of the pleasures of living in Oregon are the fresh bakery goods in the morning. Big juicy Marionberry muffins, scones and anything else you can think of baked into butter, flour, eggs and sugar. They are all delicious and it’s exciting that an Italian wine producer has figured out a way to get the luscious, juicy, dense black fruit flavors of Marionberries all the way from Oregon bakeries into their wines in the Piemonte region of Italy.

Much to my surprise, when I took my first sip of 2003 Cá di Pian, Barbara d’Asti by La Spinetta the proof was there. La Spinetta has obviously not only transplanted Marionberries to Piemonte, but has discovered how to make a wine out of them. Strangely enough this wine, which certainly should be called DOC Marmellata di Marionberry, is somehow called Barbera d’ Asti. This must surely be a mistake, because anyone who has ever tasted a fine Barbera d’Asti will realize that this wine could not be made from the Barbera grape – at least not naturally.

The only thing this could be is some sort of bizarre fruit wine (Marionberries?) as it is grotesquely purple and juicy-fruity to the point of being revolting with food. I tried meat, pizza, panini and pasta with this bottle and it is very clear the only thing this glop of a wine can go with is itself.

The rhinoceros on the label of this wine is very appropriate as the rhinoceros is as graceful and refined as this “wine”. La Spinetta is a label that should be avoided by anyone who cares about the harmony of wine and food.

(artwork by Peter Puszta)