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Barbera d'Asti della Gianola and Mahler Symphony 2, "Resurrection"
Pleasure, Not Business


Barbera? No, this is not Manischewitz kosher wine. And Mahler, though Jewish, did convert, albeit to ensure he had a job at the Vienna State Opera. For Mahler, business often came before pleasure. We need not speak about his sessions with Freud, but knowing his difficult career as a composer, and his loss of daughter and love of Alma, we can only imagine his need to find salvation.

No this wine, the Barbra d'Asti, is like Mahler's Resurrection Symphony, having risen from the depths of what most people have described as a poor man's existence. Barolo and Barbaresco dominate the Piedmont wines. Even a pure Nebbiolo fares better than the light Barbera. But this one is different. Full of depth, of deep tannins, with a 16% alcohol, yes, that's right, this wine can measure up to the best of the Barolo's and even compare with those highly concentrated Amarone or Primitivo. This wine takes a long, and I do mean long, time to gestate, to ferment the sugar and yeast, and to become something more than simply wine.

Mahler 2 is similar. Though the work was composed rather quickly, it is a symphony that takes much patience, not just for the public, but for the soloists and choir who must wait till the final movement to actually do anything! Therefore, they must sit and listen, absorb and reflect, until finally heaven's gate opens. The effect is palpable, it becomes more than just music, and it is no wonder that for many people Mahler's 2nd Symphony is the summit of symphonic oratorio.

The Barbera has a way to go to become everyone's favorite. But just as Mahler was unknown to the masses and a connoisseur's favorite so too is the Barbera d'Asti, long ignored in the shadow of king Barolo.

The Barbera d'Asti Della Gianola, has a tantalizing taste, yet a flattering finish. The wine can be paired with most anything, but meats and ragu fare best with such a high alcohol level. Let this profound and fulfilling wine be absorbed, like the music of Mahler. And at less than 30€ a bottle, soon you too will be a convert. And this is for pleasure, not business.

John Axelrod
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