Lively and brisk, welcome to the lighter, not-so-serious side of Piedmontese red wine. The Barbera (bahr-bear-ah) grape is one of the most commonly planted grapes in Italy, but that doesn’t mean it has to plain and common. Offering far more personality—that of the bright and rambunctious variety—than its $12 bottle price suggests, the 2013 Marchesi di Barolo Barbera del Monferrato “Maraia” is tailor-made for casual, civilized fun. Don’t get too serious with the food pairings here—go with an artisanal pizza or homemade lasagna or baked ziti, and you’ll be amazed how satisfyingly simple it can be to achieve primo deliciousness. Starting with a forthright nose of wild, dark berries and clay earth, the medium-bodied wine carries forward zestily and playfully on the palate with those same tasty, flavorful notes of dark berries but finishes on the bright acidity of young cherries and raspberries. Good value is rarely this much fun. –J.M.