Brian Larky is well-known for his Dalla Terra selection of Italian regional producers whose wines are both well-made and well-priced. Here are six that are in current release:
2010 La Valentina montepulciano d’Abruzzo ($14). Nice gamey aromas and flavors with cranberry and cherry fruits and a raspy finish.
2008 La Valentina "Spelt" montepulciano d’Abruzzo ($20). Complex flavors of blackberries and elderberries with a chalky under-layer and dusty tannins in the finish. Good assertiveness, yet very elegant.
2011 Li Veli "Askos" verdeca Val d’Itria. ($18). A golden wine in color and taste — rounded body with spiced pear flavors yet not sweet.
2010 Li Veli "Primonero" negroamaro Salento IGT ($10). Blend of primitivo and negroamaro, the wine is like a fruity zinfandel or dolcetto — lots of cherries — in the beginning, but with a citrusy, lean finish.
2010 Li Veli "Passamante" Salice Salentino ($12). A very well-structured wines with dark cherry flavors and an array of baking spices around the edges.
2008 LiVeli "Pezzo Mogano" Salice Sanetino Riserva ($20). A luscious wine with some balsamic notes, flavors of preserved fruit, and crisp citrus in the end.
The Takeaway: Although there may be an occasional disappointment, the name "Dalla Terra" on the back label is a great indication that you’ll enjoy pulling the cork.