The Piemontese are known for being guarded people, and indeed many tastings begin with timid apprehensiveness as your host sizes you up. Not Marco Tintero: he always wears a big grin and exudes boisterous warmth—not so Piemontese, you might think, until entering his home to see the table clad with his lineup of traditional wines and the culinary staples that go with, like grissini, tajarin, and even at times the prized tartufo bianco. This red, composed mainly of Barbera, Nebbiolo, and Dolcetto, shares Marco’s easygoing and accessible personality. Pair it with anything from breadsticks to truffles, or just pop, pour, and glug away.
If you’ve ever dreamed of moving to Italy and opening your own agriturismo or small-town trattoria, you’ve probably imagined the wine you would serve at lunch alongside your saucy tagliatelle ai funghi or tender prosciutto crudo. You want something juicy, versatile, and joyous: a red with some good acidity to complement your simple home cooking and just enough tannic spine to stand up to the meat-forward dishes on your table. It needs to be light and vibrant enough to leave you with postprandial energy. You just might not have known precisely which bottle from which region it would be. Well, here it is: a Piemontese red made mostly from Barbera and its supporting cast of Bonarda, Dolcetto, and Freisa, grown in sand and limestone soils around the picturesque hillside town of Cisterna d’Asti. In contrast to the exalted Baroli made to the south, Tenuta La Pergola specializes in the humbler side of Piedmont’s wine culture, which can be every bit as satisfying. The azienda’s Monferrato Rosso is the quintessential house wine, whether it’s my apartment in the Bay Area or your future casa in Italia. It is the red to always have on hand.
Since we began importing Corte Gardoni’s wines in the early 1980s, the quality has only improved, while the prices have barely budged. The 2019 Le Fontane is among the most scrumptious reds to leave the Piccoli family’s cellars, delightfully exemplifying how thirst-quenching and joyful a bottle of wine can be. Low in alcohol and light in body, it is simply bursting with high-toned red fruit, like sour cherry seasoned with pepper and herbs. With little tannin to speak of, it takes well to a chill and is best enjoyed in large gulps.
Drinking distilled spirits, beer, coolers, wine and other alcoholic beverages may increase cancer risk, and, during pregnancy, can cause birth defects. For more information go to www.P65Warnings.ca.gov/alcohol
Many food and beverage cans have linings containing bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical known to cause harm to the female reproductive system. Jar lids and bottle caps may also contain BPA. You can be exposed to BPA when you consume foods or beverages packaged in these containers. For more information, go to www.P65Warnings.ca.gov/bpa