COTTANERA Etna Rosso “Diciassettesalme” 2016

Cottanera Etna Rosso

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 […]

Allegrini Palazzo della Torre 2014

Allegrini Palazzo della torre

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 […]

Poliziano Rosso di Montepulciano 2015

Poliziano Rosso Montepulciano

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 […]

REVELLO Barolo 2013

Fratelli 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 […]

Podere SAPAIO “Valpolo” 2015

Podere Sapaio Volpolo

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 […]

GRACCIANO DELLA SETA Vino Nobile di Montepulciano 2015

Gracciano della Seta

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 […]

IL BORGHETTO “Monte de Sassi” 2013

Il Borghetto Monte de Sassi

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 […]

VILLA VARDA Friuli Grave – Refosco 2016

Villa Varda Refosco

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 […]

Trinoro “Le Cupole” Rosso 2015

Le Cupole Trinoro

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 […]

POGGIOTONDO Chianti “Biologico” 2016

Poggiotondo Chianti

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 […]

Rocca di MONTEGROSSI Chianti Classico 2015

Rocca Montegrossi Chianti

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 […]

TORRE ZAMBRA Montepulciano d’Abruzzo “Colle Maggio” 2013

Torre Zambra Montepulciano Maggio

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 […]

WASSERERHOF St Maddalena, Vino Rosso, Alto Adige 2015

Wassererhof S Maddalena

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 […]

CIGLIUTI Barbera d’Alba “Serraboella” 2014

cigliuti barbera serraboella

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 […]

POLENTA Rosso Conero “Accipicchia” 2010

Acchipicchia Rosso Conero

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]