January 19, 2019
Cottanera Etna Rosso

COTTANERA Etna Rosso “Diciassettesalme” 2016

Deep, dark red color. Earth-driven aromas of dry aged beef and quality cigar wrapper. Lots of dark red berry and cherry flavor. Wee bit of garden herbs and lavender in the taste. Long 20 second finish has fine tannins and lingering earth to complement the fruit. I really like this wine’s concentration and richness. Mount Etna, the tallest active volcano on the European continent. On the Eastern slope of this still smoldering giant are vineyards growing in dark, rich volcanic soil, making (usually) elegant wines often compared to Red Burgundy. 3 grapes grown: Nerello Mascalese, Nerello Cappuccio and the white […]
October 23, 2018
Allegrini Palazzo della torre

Allegrini Palazzo della Torre 2014

A home run for sub $20 red. But not surprising as Allegrini Palazzo della Torre wine has over-delivered for the price for many years. This Veronese red (from near Verona, Veneto region, northeast Italy) is a blend of local grapes Corvina, Rondinella plus a splash of Sangiovese. Ripe dark cherries, sweet spices, pick-me-up acidity, gentle tannins. Easy wine to drink and drink. I know – I’m drinking it as I write on a calm Sunday evening. Buy this 2014 while it’s still around. Allegrini “Palazzo della Torre” is on my “Best of the Best” list of Awesome and Hall of […]
August 28, 2018
Poliziano Rosso Montepulciano

Poliziano Rosso di Montepulciano 2015

A delicious red for drinking anytime, the Poliziano Rosso di Montepulciano is around 80% Sangiovese and 20% Merlot. Flavors of briary, dark red raspberries and strawberries plus red currants, black tea and tarragon. Nice and intense in the mouth with soft tannins, bright acidity, no oak, and a big rush of white pepper-dusted berry fruits on the finish. Enjoy this with everything from sausage pizza to meatloaf to bean soup with root vegetables. I had it tonight with chicken tamales tonight and it was perfect! This is an excellent red to just have around when something good and very reasonably […]
August 24, 2018
Fratelli Revello Barolo 2013

REVELLO Barolo 2013

Red cherry liqueur, black tea and musk on the nose moves to ripe plums, black truffle and dried violets in the mouth. Relatively soft and quite approachable (the vintage made a more accessible style in Barolo, which is nice), The Revello Barolo 2013 is one to enjoy now through at least 2023. I would call this a classic Barolo because of its clean, honest expression of the place…with a modern side because of its softer texture. Hard to beat the price for high quality Barolo! More Information The Revello family is going through changes as the next generation takes control of the […]
August 20, 2018
Podere Sapaio Volpolo

Podere SAPAIO “Valpolo” 2015

From Bolgheri (Maremma) Tuscany. A “Super-Tuscan” in every sense except the price. It’s a bargain. Mostly Cabernet Sauvignon with a smidge of Merlot and a dollop of Petit Verdot. This rich, dense, strong Tuscan Cab Sauv also shows licorice, French roast coffee and cola flavors. It’s a little monster in the mouth – the kind of monster you want to take home with you. California Cab drinkers – definitely buy some of this!
August 20, 2018
Gracciano della Seta

GRACCIANO DELLA SETA Vino Nobile di Montepulciano 2015

Strong, earth-first, “old style” Sangiovese (known as Prugnolo Gentile in these parts). Earthy dark cherries and blackberries are covered by black tea, dry tarragon and rosemary, tobacco and black olive in the Gracciano della Seta Vino Nobile di Montepulciano 2015.  Tannins get big on the mid-palate, then, gracefully soften at the finish. This is not a wine for everybody. It is for fans of well-made, traditional style Tuscan red wine.  
August 6, 2018
Il Borghetto Monte de Sassi

IL BORGHETTO “Monte de Sassi” 2013

The Il Borghetto Monte de Sassi is 100% Sangiovese from Estate property within the Chianti Classico region (see below). Delicious, quite rich and ready to enjoy. Smell and taste dark red cherry liqueur, violets and red roses, nutmeg and new leather handbag. Fruity, round and gratifying in the mouth with just enough old world savory flavors to pin it as Italian. More Information While Il Borghetto is located in the Chianti Classico DOCG, disagreements between winery and “The DOC System” usually result in the Toscana IGP designation. No big deal as the wines are delicious and special. I did not […]
May 22, 2018
Villa Varda Refosco

VILLA VARDA Friuli Grave – Refosco 2016

Starts out with aromas of brambly berries (black and raspberries), anise, black pepper and rosemary. Taste is more of the same with no one flavor dominating the others. Summertime berries, rosemary/thyme, peppercorns and black truffle. All lightly polished by gentle winemaking and brief time in barrel. Reminds me of high quality Côtes du Rhône (which admittedly is a personal favorite). I was really taken by this wine regardless of price. Then to see it sells in the mid-teens – crazy.   Villa Varda is an Estate vineyard at the base of The Alps in the upper right corner of Italy. […]
May 19, 2018
Le Cupole Trinoro

Trinoro “Le Cupole” Rosso 2015

Since the late 1990s Tenuta di Trinoro’s Bordeaux-style red blends have been some of the world’s buys. The 2015 Trinor0 Le Cupole Rosso is 58% Cabernet Franc, 32% Merlot, 6% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Petit Verdot. All “Estate” fruit located in the southeast corner of Tuscany. Powerful, dark, spiced and very structured (tannic) today, this is built to age (a function of the ripe 2015 vintage…Le Cupole is usually not so tannic. But they’re “good tannins” that will soften over time.)  Smell and taste black currants, blackberries, tar, dark chocolate, kirsch, black truffle, cola and black olive. If you need to buy […]
May 10, 2018
Poggiotondo Chianti

POGGIOTONDO Chianti “Biologico” 2016

This is a darker, riper expression of a straight-up, under $20 Chianti. That said, the savory, food-friendly acidity we like from Chianti is there. Smell and taste dark red cherries, black olives, dried Italian herbs and cocoa. This makes an excellent “house wine” to drink up with white and light red meats, sausages and tomato sauce dishes. This wine is imported and can be purchased from Old Bridge Cellars in Napa. Contact them to buy and, if you live in or around Napa, arrange a pick up.
April 22, 2018
Rocca Montegrossi Chianti

Rocca di MONTEGROSSI Chianti Classico 2015

This is a fleshy, fruity, pure Chianti Classico that is sure to please all fans of the region and of Sangiovese. The wine sports a ripe, wild red cherry, red currant and raspberry nose with classic spice/floral/earth sensations of white pepper, violets, thyme and black tea. Friendly and fruity enough to drink sans food, but it’s best with grilled/roasted white meats and cooked tomato dishes, I find. I like how this Chianti appeals to all palates while still being completely honest to Chianti. This is 91% Sangiovese, 9% Canaiolo/Colorino. Organic Estate vineyards, temperature controlled cement tank fermenation (blend of old […]
March 14, 2018
Torre Zambra Montepulciano Maggio

TORRE ZAMBRA Montepulciano d’Abruzzo “Colle Maggio” 2013

Deep rich color and a nose of ripe black cherry and boysenberry framed by dark fertile soil is your introduction. The smells move on to the flavors along with tarragon, mint and dark tobacco. I really like how rich and mouth-filling the wine is. It expertly balances its fruit with savory earthy qualities. Drinking great tonight. Probably because I just made this, but a tomato sauce with mild Italian sausage and mushrooms goes great with this wine. Abruzzo: rugged, ancient region east of Rome on the Adriatic Sea. While Montepulciano has been known in recent history to be a medium/light […]
March 14, 2018
Wassererhof S Maddalena

WASSERERHOF St Maddalena, Vino Rosso, Alto Adige 2015

94% Schiava and 6% Lagrein, two grapes native to Alto Adige in far northern Italy. High-toned, aromatic, light-bodied and pleasantly herbaceous, this is wonderfully typical of good red wine from the region. Smell and taste tangy red plums, crushed ripe cranberries (no green ones), black tea, violets, thyme and sage. Key to this wine is its ripe middle…just fleshy enough. St Maddalena is a hill overlooking the village of Bolzano. Wines of the same name are made by various producers in and near the area (about 45 producers all told). Schiava is king of this hill. The grape is also […]
February 20, 2018
cigliuti barbera serraboella

CIGLIUTI Barbera d’Alba “Serraboella” 2014

A mix of raspberry, red currant and cranberry along with dry Italian herbs and dusty soil introduce you to this wine. Counter-acting the bright fruit are firm tannins, a pleasant tartness and a faint bitterness on the finish – classic for Barbera d’Alba and an ideal display of the hillside, very chalky “Serraboella” vineyard, Cigliuti’s home. This fifth-generation family run winery in Barbaresco is a go-to for honest, quality wines of the grape and place. I like that the 2014 is the current vintage of the Barbera on the market. It’s had a little bit of time to come around. […]
February 20, 2018
Acchipicchia Rosso Conero

POLENTA Rosso Conero “Accipicchia” 2010

100% Montepulciano grape from Rosso Conero, a DOC in Italy’s Marche region on the Adriatic coast. Warm, sunny-climate deep fruitiness gives the wine a little California style. Plenty of earth-driven flavors like tobacco leaf, beef stock and black olive add interest and deliciousness. More fruit and soft tannins on the 15 second finish. You get your money’s worth and then some…and perhaps an introduction to a new wine region.
October 24, 2017

ELENA WALCH Schiava 16

Far northern Italian region, next to Switzerland and Austria, is better known for their white wines (Pinot Grigio being the workhorse grape here). The red Schiava grape, native to Alto Adige, makes a lovely, light, food-friendly wine that amounts to more than “bistro red.” Get fresh, slightly tart raspberries and wild cherries along with crushed mint, almond skins and chamomile tea notes. Light tannins, medium-high acidity, no oak flavor (aged in huge, neutral oak casks) and a long but subtle point it firmly to the “food wine” category. It’s not for everybody, but those who appreciate interesting, intriguing light red […]
October 23, 2017

ROCCOLO GRASSI Valpolicella Superiore 12

Think of this as “semi-Amarone” as half the traditional Valpolicella grapes (Corvina, Corvinone, Rondinella and Croatina) are half just-picked, half dried (lightly raisined) for 20 days. The result is a rich, deep, black pepper-y, liqueur-ish, juicy dark red wine that crosses over to the new-world palates. Get kirsch, pomegranate syrup, cracked black peppercorns, warm chocolate bars and chopped rosemary & thyme. It has big flavor, a lush mouthfeel, very light oak and medium/low acidity. Like a high quality Zin and Petite Sirah, this is a great match with braised, stewed and grilled meats.
October 5, 2017

Tenuta Sant’Antonio Scaia Paradiso 13

Valpolicella and Soave producer in the Veneto. All Estate fruit (their own grapes). Classic Veneto grapes Corvina, Corinone, Rondinella used. A Ripasso: dried Cabernet Sauvignon skins are added for a second fermentation. Very tasty results. Sweet fruits, quite rich, dark spices, cocoa, dark tobacco, dried rosemary and thyme. A good Ripasso is a great choice for wine lovers who lean toward riper California reds.
October 5, 2017

ANDREA OBERTO Barolo 13

Excellent “entry level” Barolo from a producer who leans toward the modern style. The wine has a ripe core of dark red cherry/plum fruits, firm yet fine tannins whose edges are softened by the rich fruit and a killer 30 second Barolo finish of of dark soil, black olive and black tea. Great for drinking now (with a decant) or cellaring for 5-7 years.
October 4, 2017

POLIZIANO Vino Nobile di Montepulciano 14

85% Prugnolo Gentile (the local clone/name of Sangiovese), 15% Colorina, Canaiolo and Merlot. I like this wine’s wild red fruit intensity, dried violet & lavender notes, complimentary soil, black olive and black truffle and finally its careful use of oak (mostly once previously used). Perky acidity and a grip of fine tannins that dissolve with roasted flesh and/or olive oily fare. This is a very satisfying Southern Tuscany red for the dinner table.