I recently had the opportunity to attend an Italian wine pairing dinner through a wine group that I attend. The dinner featured the wines of Zerba Cellars, which is right across the border into Oregon (although it’s seriously a hop, skip, and a jump from many of the southern Walla Walla wineries. Maybe just a hop, even). We started with a dry Sangiovese rosé, paired with bruschetta, then moved on to a beautiful, light Dolcetto (traditionally a variety grown in the Piedmont region of Italy) with the bruschetta. Dinner was lasagna (one meaty kind and one vegetarian kind), garlic bread (of course), salad, and Barbera, which was nice and bright and paired really well with food, followed by a Sangiovese, whose earthiness really complemented the veggie lasagna.
I’ve tasted Zerba’s wines before, and liked most of them without being really wowed by them, but I really enjoyed all of them with food. In particular, the Dolcetto and Barbera were really stand-out wines when we had them with appetizers and the meal, enough that I’ll swing by Zerba and pick up some bottles before they sell out. The Dolcetto, specifically, because I think the case production was pretty limited; there isn’t a whole lot of Dolcetto planted around Walla Walla, to my knowledge!
I don’t really know much about Italian wines, except that I really enjoyed some Valpolicella and Chianti Classico when I was in Tuscany a few years back, just discovering red wines. I think I’ll have to do some research (and “research” by means of drinking wine) on Italian varieties pretty soon!
Does anyone have any recommendations for Italian wines for me to try?