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
Revello Barolo RG 2013

CARLO REVELLO Barolo “RG” 2013

Called “RG” because this is a blend of two of Revello’s Cru vineyards:  Rocche dell’Annunziata and Giachini. Shows a depth of fruit, richness, underlying soil, earthy spice and firm, fine tannins that puts it in the conversation with all the best from the region. Boasting power, great structure and complexity, the Revello Barolo RG will be a treat to pull from your cellar and pop open somewhere around 2025. It’s a killer buy for $55 (more or less). More Information The Revello family is going through changes as the next generation takes control of the vineyards and winery (read about […]
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 22, 2018
Venditti Sannio Bianco

MASSERIA VENDITTI Sannio Bianco 2015

This esoteric white wine is from Campania, southern Italy (the shin-Mediterranean side). It is 70% Grieco di Castelvenere, 30% Cerreto. Cold soak for 3 days, then pressed off for a 2-3 week fermentation. Really cool wine…lemon zest, candied orange peel, fresh green olives, grapefruit, coriander, white pepper. It has medium/high acidity and an oily texture. For $19 it’s rare to get something so good and interesting.
August 20, 2018
Ronchi Manzano Ribolla Gialla

RONCHI DI MANZANO Ribolla Gialla 2017

A delicious skin-ferment white wine, this spent 4 months on the skins, half the time fermenting. While it fits into the “orange wine” category by its ferment, the Ronchi di Manzano Ribolla Gialla is not orange. It’s a light lemony-yellow color with an ever-so-slight haze. Let’s get to the important stuff-smell and taste. Smoked whole Meyer lemons, crushed seashells, green apple peels, fresh pineapple, sea air. Yes, it’s fun AND tasty. The finish doesn’t let go: bold acidity, salty, creaminess…it’s tart and creamy at the same time. I feel the need to give a food pairing with this wine, so […]
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 7, 2018
Torre Zambra Cerasuolo

TORRE ZAMBRA Cerasuolo d’Abbruzzo 2017

A Rosé with a darker hue…Cerasuolo is the grape (the name comes from cerasa, which is cherry in the local dialect…gives you an idea of the taste). Yep, the wild red cherry pops out along with fresh raspberry, pomegranate, fresh violets and a little black pepper on the Torre Zambra Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo. Very fine tannins rub the gums on the finish. I’ll drink the very dry, peach skin colored Provence Rosés morning noon and night. But to pair with food (almost any food – honest), I want to drink THIS. This is an incredible value and should be purchased by […]
August 7, 2018
Le Marchesina Franciacorta

LE MARCHESINA Franciacorta Brut

The Le Marchesina Franciacorta cuvée is 70% Chardonnay followed by Pinot Noir and Pinot Blanc. It’s fresh and lively with floral (jasmine) and fruit basket (peach, nectarine, apple, Meyer lemon) smells and flavors. Light texture, dry, very easy to enjoy. I’m definitely going to buy some of this for my home…delicious Franciacorta (which is a Mèthode Traditionelle sparkling wine DOCG (region) in Lombardy, northern Italy) that is not cost-prohibitive.
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 […]
June 24, 2018
Pievalta Verdicchio Castelli di Jesi

PIEVALTA Verdicchio Castelli di Jesi 2016

This is a delicious, light, crisp white wine from the Le Marche region in central Italy, Adriatic Coast on its east side. It’s a go-to fish wine of the area, and for Italian white drinkers everywhere. Smell and taste lemon zest, orange blossoms, tangy green apple skins & flesh, kiwi and nectarine. Bright for sure, but not to the level of cooler-climate wines like Loire and Mosel. This wine’s fleshiness makes for a nicely versatile wine to pair with most chicken, pork and fish dishes. For $17/bottle I will happily drink this anytime!
May 22, 2018
Villa Varda Friulano

VILLA VARDA Friulano 2017

A native grape to Friuli, Friulano flourishes next to the better known, better-selling Pinot Grigio grape (Villa Varda also makes a delicious Pinot Grigio for about the same price, by the way). Zippy and earthy (in a crushed white rock kind of way), the Villa Varda Friulano brings together a bright, citrus-driven fruitiness and a chalky, mineral-y earthy character. Wound up to the point of being austere, it is almost too much so. Almost, that is, as the orchard fruit, Eureka lemon and grapefruit flavors “pop” on the mid-palate. This is a really nice match with fresh goat and sheep milks […]
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
Murgo Etna Bianco

MURGO Etna Bianco 2016

Best known for red wines, Sicily’s Etna wine region is capable of making delicious (and great value) white wine as well. This MURGO Bianco is 70% Carricante, 30% Catarratto (both native grapes of the region). This starts with a piercing, citrus zest, spring blossoms, rocky aroma. Tangy, lemon/orange acidity and exotic honeysuckle flavors. Very dry, very crisp. Drink this as you would a cool-climate Sauvignon Blanc or quality Northern Italian Pinot Grigio. Also, interestingly, this has similarities to dry Riesling. I’d like to taste this side by side with a good, dry Riesling from Alsace, Australia or Washington and see […]
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 […]
April 22, 2018
Murgo Brut Rose

MURGO Spumante Brut Rose

A delicious Methode Traditonelle (Metodo Classico means the same thing in Italian – bubbles made in the bottle, 2nd fermentation) from Sicily. 100% Nerello Mascalese. Etna Rosso wines have had a surge of popularity in the U.S. the last 10 years. Now it’s time for Spumante Brut Rose to have its turn. Made in a very dry style (5 G/L dosage according to the importer) and it shows. Smell and taste tart red cherries and plums, raspberries, dry Mediterranean herbs, white pepper and blood orange. The finish is long and savory (more earth and spice than fruit). It’s dryness, and […]
April 22, 2018
Vadiaperti Coda di Volpe

VADIAPERTI Coda di Volpe 2016

I love the fruitiness of this wine. From beginning to end get orchard fruits (peach, pear and apple), fresh orange and a little bit of lemongrass. Take all this and drizzle a thin stream of honey over the whole kitten-kaboodle. It’s not sweet by most definitions, but I do perceive a little more “sneaky sweetness” than in most wines. Which I have no problem with, and from my experience I speak for the majority.   Campania, near Naples and the Mediterranean, south of Rome (it’s the SHIN of Italy). The grape Coda di Volpe, native to Campania, translates to “tail […]
March 28, 2018
Vadiaperti Fiano

VADIAPERTI Fiano di Avellino 2016

Zesty, zippy, “electric” white wine with an unmistakable “minerality” weaving through. Smell and taste lemon zest, citrus blossoms, Granny Smith apple (skin-on), crunchy pear and crushed chalky rocks. The best Fianos (like this) marry tangy with creamy a la bright Chardonnay (think Chablis) and dry Riesling. Similar, but different. The Vadiaperti is spot-on delicious and invariably a great introduction to crisp, southern Italian white wine for someone in your wine-loving clan.   Fiano is grown is a small region in Campania, near Naples and the Mediterranean, south of Rome (it’s the SHIN of Italy). While Fiano has a long-storied history […]
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 […]
March 14, 2018
Wassererhof Pinot Blanc

WASSERERHOF Pinot Bianco, Alto Adige 2016

This is high-quality Pinot Bianco (aka Pinot Blanc, aka Weissburgunder) as it should be. Lovely, bright fruit, ample acidity, more mouth feel than Grigio, crisp and lingering 15 second finish. In the fruit realm get pears, green apples, Meyer lemon and nectarine. Aging on its lees is for body, not flavor. This is a great anytime drinker.