Black Friday: Get a Gift for You!

California Wine Club
For each holiday gift you send from The California Wine Club today only, while supplies last, you’ll get a free bottle of Gnekow Family Winery 2010 Campus Oaks “Old Vine” Lodi Zinfandel, the most popular wine we have ever featured. See Gifts Now! Click here or call 1-800-777-4443.

This article was published in The 30 Second Wine Advisor on Friday, Nov. 29, 2013 and can be found at

Tis the season for wine books and more

I'm enjoying a quiet day after Thanksgiving at home today, savoring memories of yesterday's feasting and sharing thanks and gratitude with friends. No fighting the crowds at the local malls for me!

But okay, all right, I admit it ... I did go online and look for some good reading material about wine and other things.

Since our WineLovers Discussion Group is just now wrapping up our Wine Focus on the Wines of Piemonte in Northwestern Italy, let's have a look at some good, solid books and other resources on Italian wine. You can find them at your local book stores if you're out and about, or take it easy and jump online to order them from home.

My friends Steve and Deborah De Long, creators of the innovative Wine Grape Varietal Table,proudly include a stunning Wine Map of Italy in their beautiful collection of quality, poster-size wine maps (all $29.95).

Barco RealeThe Wine Map of Italy includes all the country's wine regions as well as adjacent wine regions in France, Switzerland, Slovenia, Croatia and Tunisia. (The image detail shows the regions around Florence in Tuscany.)

To order any of the De Long wine maps, click Click this link for the fun and informative Wine Grape Varietal Table

Further, these three recent books about Italian wine are well worth your attention. Not budget volumes, they are priced in the $30s range as content-rich references for serious wine fanciers and professionals. Each listing includes a link to buy from If you choose to buy and are kind enough to use these specific links, we'll get a small commission to help us pay the rent for, our forums and, of course, The 30 Second Wine Advisor. Thanks!

Brunello di Montalcino, Understanding and Appreciating One of Italy's Greatest Wines, by Kerin O'Keefe, is organized as a guided tour through Montalcino’s geography, this essential reference also makes sense of Brunello’s complicated history, from its rapid rise to the negative and positive effects of the 2008 grape-blending scandal dubbed “Brunellogate.” O’Keefe also provides in-depth profiles of nearly sixty leading producers of Brunello.
Order it now from for $33.79.

Nicholas Belfrage's The Finest Wines of Tuscany and Central Italy: A Regional and Village Guide to the Best Wines and Their Producers (The World's Finest Wines), have enjoyed acclaim since long before Leonardo da Vinci, says's review; and they are at the forefront of the remarkable renaissance of Italian wine over the past 30 years. Wine trader and writer Nicolas Belfrage brings Tuscany's story up to date, from geology and geography through grape varieties and the latest research into Sangiovese, the region's classic red grape.
Order it now from for $32.28.

Best Italian Wines Annuario, by Luca Maroni, presents the best of Italian wine production, focusing on superior quality wines, basing its ratings on Maroni's personal tasting method based on the principle that the "Quality of a wine equals the pleasantness of its taste."
Order it now from for $36.89.

Today's Sponsor

Black Friday: Get a Gift for You!

For each holiday gift you send from The California Wine Club today, you’ll get a bottle of the most popular wine we have ever featured: Gnekow Family Winery 2010 Campus Oaks “Old Vine” Lodi Zinfandel.
See Gifts Now!

Each gift month features two handcrafted, award-winning wines and an insider’s look at the featured winery with Uncorked®. Minimum 2-month gift purchase required to qualify for gift bottle. Offer good only Friday, Nov. 30, 2013. Offer only valid while supplies last.

See Gifts Now! Click here or call 1-800-777-4443. 1-800-777-4443

Today's Tasting Report

Bersano 2010 "Costalunga" Barbera d'Asti ($19.99)


Garnet, clear at the center shading to a pale, transparent edge. Red fruit and floral notes, roses and violets, carry over in the flavor as crisp red fruit, gentle acidity and firm tannins, finishing with a hint of tart cranberries in the finish. Simple, tart and fresh, one of those lovable Italian wines that comes to the table ready for dinner. Alcohol is in balance at 13%. U.S. importer: Vin Divino, Chicago. (Nov. 13, 2013)

FOOD MATCH: Fine with red meat, poultry, pork, sharp cheeses or robust veggie main dishes. It was excellent with a dinner of creamy polenta topped with an autumn harvest ragù.

WHEN TO DRINK: Like its Northwestern Italian neighbor Dolcetto, Barbera is intended for early drinking while it's young and fresh, to be enjoyed while waiting for the more magisterial Barolos and Barbarescos to age. Enjoy it soon, but don't worry about it going around the bend, as a good Barbera should last for six to eight years past the vintage..

VALUE: It's a good wine, but $20 felt a little pushy for Barbera d'Asti. A qiocl check at bears this out, showing many offerings in the mid-teens.

Bersano's main page, available in English and Italian, is just a little too ad-agency fancy for me, with its embedded music and pop-up pages. Try this link to go direct to the mini-page that promotes the Costalunga Barbera d'Asti in English.

ompare prices and find vendors for Bersano "Costalunga" Barbera d'Asti at

Talk About Wine Online

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Once your registration has been approved, which usually happens quickly, you'll be able to participate in all our online wine, food and travel forums.

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