Vallana Barbera at Table Wine in Asheville, North Carolina.

2014 Vallana Barbera – Case of the Month

Case of the Month – Ben, Will and myself were sipping on the 2014 Vallana Barbera after work recently and a really good question arose.  How is this wine less than $15?  We’re talking about one of the most historically significant names in the Alto Piemonte and a producer that Wine Spectator called one of the top 100 producers on the planet.  And we’re also talking about a wine that is absurdly delicious, and one that we all agreed could easily sell for $20+ per bottle.  We never found an answer to our original question, but we certainly found extreme enjoyment out of that bottle of wine.  I promptly contacted Jay Murrie of Piedmont Wine Imports and secured enough Vallana Barbera to make it our next Case of the Month.  You should buy some! Here’s the deal:

2014 Vallana Barbera – On sale through June 17th

Regular Price: $13.99/bottle

Sale Price: $10.99/bottle on your solid case — Over 20% off!

Vallana is the stuff of legends.  The estate as we know it today was founded in 1937, but the Vallana family name first shows up in connection to high quality winemaking in Alto Piemonte in 1787.  As Robert Parker says, these are “intense traditionally-made wines that ooze with character.”  The family’s specialty is Spanna, the local name for Nebbiolo (we’ve got that too), and these are the wines that deservedly gain all of the critical acclaim.  But they also make a small amount of Barbera.  It is not to be overlooked, and it is the least expensive way to “test drive” a Vallana wine.  It also bears the stylistic framework that marks Vallana’s wines.

Vallana Winery in Alto Piemonte.

From humble abodes come grand wines.

The vineyards of the Alto Piemonte, located north of the Langhe at the base of the Alps, are cooler and possess more acidic soils.  These conditions give the Vallana wines their acidic backbone and the structure that allows them to age gracefully for years.  The propensity to age and improve is one of the hallmark attributes of Vallana, and the tradition is carried on today by Giuseppina Vallana, together with her son Francis (a Ph.D. in Viticulture and Oenology), and her daughters Marina and Miriam.

Although their Barbera is perfect to drink young, it also has a track record for medium to long term aging.  Yes, an $11 bottle of wine that you can age!  As with all of their wines, including their more expensive offerings, all of the grapes for their Barbera are hand harvested from organically farmed vineyards.  Fermentation and aging takes place in cement vats to preserve purity and character.  And wow, does this wine have some character!  Made in a traditional, old school Piemonte style, the wine is medium bodied and refreshing, offering up lovely notes of red berries and moderately complex notes of spices and earth.  High in acidity but possessing soft tannin, this is enjoyable all year round as a stand-alone wine, but I really love the way it enhances the flavors of grilled meats, especially lamb.

What more is there to say?  Seriously folks, this is the kind of wine that makes me do what I do with such vigorous passion.  Legendary producer, clean farming and production techniques, delicious wine.  Buy some!  If you’re not sure, we invite you to stop by Saturday, May 20th (2-5pm) to give it a sniff and a sip. Email me at if you’d like me to hold some for you as this one will run out.  Cheers and happy drinking and eating in Asheville!

Josh Spurling

Italian Wines From Piedmont Wine Imports

Italian Wines From Piedmont Wine Imports Part Uno

Authentic, Traditional, and Delicious Italian Wines From Piedmont Wine Imports Part 1 – Join us this Friday, October 2nd from 2-7 p.m. for a free wine tasting featuring a fine new batch of Italian wines brought to us by Durham-based Piedmont Wine Imports. Owner and founder Jay Murrie travels extensively throughout Italy to find incredible wines that always deliver.  He only works with small, family owned and operated estate wineries, and we’re constantly amazed by the honesty and authenticity of his wines.  Whether you’re yearning for authentic wines you drank when you were in Italy, want to get a preview of what you’ll taste when you go to the Old World, or just want to learn more about Italian wines in general, don’t miss this one.  Even better, we’ll have Lauren Vaught of Edible Musings in the house offering up free samples of her delicious plant-based foods.  She’ll also be talking about why a plant-based diet is delicious, nutritious, and better for the Earth.

Don’t forget, all of the tasting wines are 10% off by the bottle, 15% off if you mix any six of them, or 20% off if you mix any twelve of them.  This is a great chance to taste and stock up and save!

The Wines
Prices range from $15 to $25

1. NV Alla Costiera Prosecco (Veneto) – Filippo Gamba crafts one of the best Proseccos we’ve ever tasted! Not only does it taste great, you can feel really good about drinking it because it’s certified organic.  Composed entirely of 15-75 year old Glera, it is made using the Charmat method in very small batches.  It will quite simply blow your mind!
Tasting Price: $15.29/bottle | $14.44 in mixed six packs | $13.59 in mixed cases

2. 2012 Corzano E Paterno Corzanello Rosso (Tuscany) – This 40-year-old working family farm makes unpasteurized sheep’s milk cheese, olive oil and wine from vineyards just west of Greve.  Their Rosso might be called Chianti Classico by others, but they save that designation for their more “serious” wine.  Certified organic and composed of Sangiovese with small bits of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, this is true, authentic Tuscan red wine for all occasions.
Tasting Price: $15.29/bottle | $14.44 in mixed six packs | $13.59 in mixed cases

3. NV Caparsa Rosso di Toscana (Tuscany) – This certified-organic one-man estate makes compelling wine from old vines in the heart of Chianti Classico, with very little manipulation or modern technology.  Proprietor Paolo Cianferoni makes this wine in rememberance of the ancient Chianti wine made for the peasant to drink a lot.  It’s Sangiovese and two white grapes: Trebbiano and Malvasia.  It’s brilliant!
Tasting Price: $15.29/bottle | $14.44 in mixed six packs | $13.59 in mixed cases

4. 2009 Pruneto Chianti Classico (Tuscany) – Riccardo Lanza makes prototype, pure Chianti Classico from his beautiful, organically farmed Sangiovese.  He always holds his wines back longer than most, so this is the current release.  Just 833 cases were made — how does this guy make a living?  As Riccardo says, “Sangiovese can make the best red wine, and is the flavor of Tuscany.”  Come taste it and see what you think!
Tasting Price: $21.59/bottle | $20.39 in mixed six packs | $19.19 in mixed cases