Washington Barbera: Lost Mountain Winery Delivers a Food Pairing Success

Back home, my friends and I tested this wine with the cheeses and other strong flavors: salad with red onions and orange and Greek style lamb with garlic, rosemary and oregano roasted over a bed of orzo and tomato.

The camembert-style Cirrus was glorious with the Barbera. The cheese was aged to a Daliesque ripeness. It sighed and slumped as we cut the first wedge, then its creamy interior slowly slipped out onto the plate. Soon we gave up on knives and crackers and just spooned the cheese directly into our mouths, alternating the rich, nutty creamy cheese with sips of palate clearing berry brightness.

The more acidic, salty Seastack was a wake up call to my taste buds. The aged, mellow Trailhead was rich and a little grassy, and both went well with the wine. Between murmurs of “Oh, this is so good…” we realized we had to stop, or it would just be cheese for dinner.

Greek Lamb was an inspired match – strongly flavored, rich and gamey, its flavors were absorbed into the orzo, and brought out the richness in the wine. We were momentarily silent as we ate, a testament to the delicious flavors and sensations we were enjoying. It’s rare that a food and wine match can shut us up, but this one did.

This test has convinced me to add Barbera to my wine arsenal. This wine is not afraid of the strong flavors that I love – garlic, pesto, stinky, creamy and nutty cheeses, barbeque and grilled meats. I’m looking forward to pairing it with fresh tomato sauces or pesto on pasta and plates of antipasti this summer. I even think I’ll serve it with our cheeseburgers and grilled sausages at the Fourth of July barbeque.

One thing I know for sure is next time I’m up on the Olympic Peninsula, I’ll explore wineries that I didn’t have time for on this trip. This experience tells me that I’m sure to find other liquid treasure in those mountains.