Vallana Barbera at Table Wine in Asheville, North Carolina.

2014 Vallana Barbera - Case of the Month

SOLD OUT! I was 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.

Vallana Barbera

2014 Vallana Barbera

Complex and full of Old World character for less than 15 bucks!


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 that is not to be missed or overlooked.

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. 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.

Josh Spurling
Owner, Operator, Wine Monger
Table Wine Asheville