Weekend Wine: A Tale of Two Italian Red Wines

Dalla Terra brings big aromatic flavors to the table

Any chance we had to get to Italy, my wife and I always headed for two small towns that we grew to love. Both were far enough off the tourist trails that we cold get a nice room and great food for a lot less than the millions of tourists that flock to Florence, Rome, and Venice.

The folks of Vietti (Photo Courtesy of the Winery)

The first was Neive in Piemonte which had about 3,000 souls and a magnificent but tiny restaurant and hotel called La Contea, owned for decades by Claudia and Tonino Verro. Thankfully, it still exists. While there, we always focused on the local Barbera wines because they constituted the best bargains in the vicinity.

The other was in Sansepolcro in Arezza at a fine dining place adjacent to Relais Oroscopo. Sadly, they only have a pizzeria now. It was good, but the closed place was one of the best in all of Italy. Inevitably, we drank a lot of Montepulciano from the abutting area of Abruzzo.

What both of these wines have in common is both are huge, aromatic, and fruity.

When back in the U.S., we looked for wines from both areas and finally settled on Vietti’s Barbera d’Asti “Tre Vigne” ($18) and La Valentina’s “Spelt” Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Riserva ($22). Both were just a tad more than we had been paying in Italy, but they successfully brought the whole experience back every time we opened a bottle and it is only fair to pay for shipping. What I didn’t realize is both wines are imported by the same company, Dalla Terra. Certainly an importer worth looking for.

Any slow cooked meat, especially rabbit, will match up beautifully with the Barbera. The Montepulciano is a perfect match for lamb, especially ravioli stuffed with lamb.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More by Wes Marshall
Weekend Wine: The Magic of Cahors
Weekend Wine: The Magic of Cahors
Clos La Coutale Cahors is perfect for cassoulet

Nov. 2, 2023

Weekend Wine: A $12 Gem from France
Weekend Wine: A $12 Gem from France
White Luberon for a Texas summer

May 26, 2023


Vietti, Barbera, Asti, Neive, Piemonte, Contea, Sansepolcro, Oroscopo, La Valentina, Spelt, Montepulciano, Abruzzo, Dalla Terra, Claudia Verro, Tonino Verro


Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle