The longer I live in Sonoma, the longer my list of favorite wineries in Sonoma County grows. Unti Vineyards easily makes the list and is located on Dry Creek Road in Healdsburg. They craft well-made wines and throw some pretty fantastic release parties! Brandon and I attended their last release party and picked up some wine to bring home with us. Among our stash was a bottle of Unti Barbera that we decided to uncork last week.
Unti Barbera is inky in color and opens with cherry and floral aromatics. Although the wine is a bit hefty in alcohol, it is relatively balanced on the palate. There are bright notes of cherries, plum, and spice surrounded by hints of earth. Drink young and pair with foods like sausage pizza! ($30, 14.7% alcohol)
Looking for a lighter bodied, casual wine for summer grilling? Michele Chiarlo 2010 “Le Orme” Barbera d’Asti Superiore is a great bottle to bring to any BBQ. 100% Barbera that has enough character to shine at $12 a bottle.
This ruby colored wine opens with aromas of bright cherries and ripe, dark berries. The palate offers straightforward tastes of ripe cherries, anise, and noticeable minerality. An easy sipping Barbera that drinks nicely at its price point! (13.5% alcohol)
My Wine Rating – B
Food Pairing Suggestions – Pair with grilled chicken, pizza topped with mushrooms, or pork chops.
When I came across a Barbera aged in stainless steel instead of oak, I had to pick up a bottle! It opens with aromas of red berries and a hint of white pepper . The palate has simple, bright tastes of cranberries and red cherries with lively acidity. The lack of oak influence makes the wine very fresh and food-friendly. Easy to drink and definitely worthy of mid-week sipping! Pair with pork, game meat, or pizza. (B+, $14, 14% alcohol)
Pizza. It is pretty much a Sunday night tradition at our house. I generally make my own crust and always decorate the pizza with fresh cheese and great toppings. I am Italian so I love drinking an Italian wine with an Italian dish (even though I know that a lot of Italians drink Italian beer with pizza). My absolute favorite wine with pizza is Barbera. Barbera generally has bright cherry flavors and healthy acidity which makes it a great match for a lot of styles of pizza.
If you are looking for a great Barbera that is a really nice value, try 2009 Michele Chiarlo Barbera d’Asti Superiore Le Orme. Juicy blackberries and cherries with silky tannins. It is fairly easy to find and will complement your pizza perfectly. Cheers and enjoy the weekend!
In continuing my reviews on Avanguardia Wines unique blends, I want to move on to another one of their interesting proprietary blends. The 2008 Premiato is a blend of 55% Dolcetto and 45% Barbera. Both are native to the Italian Piedmont wine region and the combination makes for a spicy, balanced wine.
About the Wine- From the Winery
Avanguardia 2008 Premiato is a blend of Dolcetto and Barbera from the Sierra Foothills region of California. It has 14.%4 alcohol and retails for $20. For more information visit www.avanguardiawines.com
Now the Fun Part- Tasting the Wine
Premiato pours a dark garnet in the glass. The nose has spicy aromas of cherry, plum, and cedar. Nothing about this wine is timid…spicy black cherry, cedar, and sweet tobacco invade your palate. The long and peppery finish continues to stimulate your taste buds long after the sip of wine is gone. A complex and unique blend that leaves a memorable impression!
My Wine Rating- B
Food Pairing Suggestions- Pair this blend with bison burgers, grilled steak, or sausage and mushroom ravioli.
When I drink Barbera, I often dream about being in Italy, sipping the glass at a small, picturesque cafe in Rome. Barbera is a juicy Italian wine that I regularly seek out when I go to Italian restaurants. It’s a great, everyday, Italian red…generally delivering a nice wine for a reasonable price. While I still haven’t had a chance to have a glass in Rome, I am really enjoying this bottle in beautiful South Orange County.
About the Wine- From The Winery
Quattro Leoni 2008 Barbera D’Asti is 100% Barbera from the Piedmonte region of Italy. It has 13.5% alcohol and retails for $16.99. For more information see www.marquee.com
Now The Fun Part- Tasting the Wine
This Barbera pours a deep garnet in the glass. The nose draws you in with aromas of spicy plum, blackberry, and leather. Tastes of juicy plums and cherries are surrounded with earthy tannins. The finish is simple, smooth, and spicy. A perfect wine for meaty, italian dishes.
My Wine Rating- B+
Food Pairing Suggestions- This Barbera pairs well with a meat lasagna, pizza with roasted red peppers and pepperoni, or osso bucco.
*This wine was sent to me as a sample for the purpose of review