by contributing writer Steve Gross

Amid the Pinot Grigios, the Chiantis, and the Barolos, you can find a few lesser-known Italian wines that can really bring the goods.

Wine insiders know about the Barbarescos, Dolcettos, and the Amarones, but there’s one very approachable wine that I’d like you to know about – Barbera.

Barbera d'Alba

Made in the same region as Barolo and Barbaresco, Barbera is a wine that you don’t have to cellar, spend a lot for, or think too much about.

Two villages are the prime spots for Barbera – Asti (of Asti Spumante fame – I’m sure I’m not the only who tried to impress a date in the college years with Asti Spumante) and Alba.

It’s pretty hot in Houston right now, but I enjoyed the Dante Rivetti Barbera d’Alba over the weekend. It’s bright, juicy, and while it didn’t bring me to consider the meaning of life or anything, it suited the moment. It’s a wine I would share with friends, and I think just about everyone in the group would like it.

Most Barberas I’ve found run about $20-25, which is considerably less than the famous Barolos and Barbarescos. They’ve been readily available in many wine shops I’ve visited.

Approachable, available, and reasonably priced – not a bad package for a very enjoyable wine. Try some for yourself this summer.

Steve GrossSteve Gross likes wine that smells good, moves him to states of reverie, and demands a second, third, or fourth taste. Seeking these wines keeps him busy, but he somehow finds time to work as a Special Education Teacher and to guide birdwatchers throughout Texas and the Western US. Look for Steve wherever great food and wine, mountains, birds, and fresh air are found.

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