Terra d’Oro Barbera at the Roadhouse

It’s like liquid gold!

by Marcy Harris

A bottle of Terra d'Oro Barbera held in front of the pit smoker at Zingerman's Roadhouse.

To me, wine is always a treasure. On occasion there is that one that is worth its weight in gold, each sip an unearthed bounty of flavor. How fitting that one of the glasses we feature on our Roadhouse wine list is from a vineyard that literally translates as Land of Gold!

A “vintage” goldmine.

The Terra d’Oro Barbera hails from Amador County, in the heart of the “Mother Lode”, or California’s Gold Rush country. As pioneers panned for gold in the 1850s, they also planted vineyards as they settled in the area, burying treasure of a different kind in the earth–the seeds for the wines that grow there today. By the 1890s, the Sierra Foothills region had over 100 wineries (more than any other region in California).

The region was revived after Prohibition when Cary Gott established Montevina Winery and started planting it’s luscious Zinfandel in 1970. Terra d’Oro released it’s wines under the Montevina label in 1973, including the Barbera we enjoy at the Roadhouse. The Trinchero family runs this label, focusing on 100% sustainable agriculture to create wines that are true to their Italian heritage, including Zinfandel, Pinot Grigio, Moscato, and our beloved Barbera.

Uncork an Old World wealth of flavor.

Barbera is a grape found in the Piedmont region of Italy, an area known for its beautiful forests, earthy dishes, and world-renowned truffles. Like its Italian cousin, this Californian Barbera pairs well with savory smoky foods, like our BBQ meats, roasted pork, or heavier grilled fishes. Vegetarian dishes including mushrooms, heavy greens, and root vegetables also make for perfect companions with this wine.

Aging the Barbera in French and Hungarian oak for 15 months provides the oak-based notes that give balance to the wine. It carries a bright complexity, with notes of cherry, and lightly baked fruits. The palate boasts cherry, raspberry, and a touch of smoke, with a long, velvety finish. For anyone who is looking for an approachable red wine with supple flavors that are not too overpowering, this is one is an excellent choice.

Don’t let it bug you!

Terra d’Oro maintains sustainable agriculture mainly by reducing the need for pesticides. Legumes are planted as cover crops between the rows, growing tall enough to attract good insects that feed on the insects that are harmful to the vines. There are also owl boxes built around the vineyards to attract nocturnal hunters to keep the critter population at a minimum. As a result, there is no need for harmful chemicals or sprays.

By utilizing Integrated Pest Management and focusing on producing superior grapes from a deep cultural heritage, Terra d’Oro has been producing wines that are richer than any buried ore. Their Zinfandel and Barbera are truly liquid gold. You don’t have to be rich to sip on a wealth of flavor, though. Did you know that anytime you take a bottle of wine home from the Roadhouse it is 30% off? Pick up a bottle of Barbera today and enjoy it with our awesome BBQ!

Check out our new wine list!