Best Values of the Year – Italian Reds

December 17, 2010 at 2:43 pm 2 comments

Last time, I listed a few of my favorite value white wines from Italy in 2010; now for the reds:

TORMARESCA “NEPRICA” 2008

This is a beautiful blend from Antinori’s wine project in Puglia, cleverly named for the first two letters of the three red varieties: NEgromaro, PRimitivo and CAbernet Sauvignon. It displays tasty black fruit and good spice with moderate tannins. It’s eminently rinkable right now with all sort of foods. In other words, a fun and uncomplicated wine! Priced anywhere from $8-12, how can you go wrong?

MASTROBERARDINO AGLIANICO “RE DI MORE” 2008

Aglianico is the wonderful red variety of Campania that is used to produce the classic Taurasi, one of Italy’s most distinguished wines. Many wineries produce a lesser, fresher version of Aglianico that is released earlier for younger enjoyment and Mastroberardino generally produces one of the most consistent bottlings. This 2008 Re di More is from an older clone of Aglianico and the wine delivers excellent complexity with flavors of black raspberry and mocha. Medium-full with polished tannins and light black spice, this can be enjoyed with lighter game and most red meats (especially grilled) over the next 3-5 years. (note- this wine is not imported in the US at the present time, so look for the winery’s Aglianico Campania IGT offering, which is also quite good at $20.)

CASTELLO DI VOLPAIA CHIANTI CLASSICO 2007

There are so many beautiful examples of Chianti Classico from this excellent vintage; this from one of my favorite producers, is a steal at $20. Red plum and currant aromas, light black spice, very good acidity and moderate tannins combine to make a very typical and very drinkable Chianti Classico that will be a fine match with pastas, pork and veal dishes over the next 2-3 years.

PIO CESARE DOLCETTO D’ALBA 2009

No surprise here, as this has been one of my favorite bottlings of Dolcetto d’Alba for some twenty years now; combine that with the 2009 vintage, a year of excellent ripeness and depth of fruit and you have a recipe for something special. Gorgeous perfumes of mulberry, cranberry and toffee backed by impressive persistence, very good acidity and moderate tannins, this is delicious! Pair this with pastas or even duck breast (cherry or orange sauce) or many poultry dishes and you’ll have a great experience, especially considering you only have to spend about $22 on this wine!

Paolo Veglio, Cascina Roccalini (Photo ©Tom Hyland)

 

CASCINA ROCCALINI BARBERA D’ALBA 2008

After reading notes about the wines from this new artisan estate in the commune of Barbaresco, I contacted importer Terence Hughes in New York who was kind enough to arrange an appointment at the winery  with owner Paolo Veglio and winemaker Dante Scaglione, I am eternally grateful to Terence for that, as the wines here are brilliant. Veglio used to sell his grapes to Scaglione when he was winemaker for Bruno Giacosa; now he keeps them for his own label.

The Barbaresco is aged only in large oak casks and is elegant with a beautiful sense of place, while the Dolcetto is amazingly fruity and delicious. The Barbera is the best of all – there is subtle spice, but this is all about varietal purity and outstanding concentration. This has layers of flavor and outstanding complexity and is a impressive a Barbera as I’ve had in years. This is not only an excellent value at $27, it’s also one of the best wines of the year!

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Best Values of the Year – Italian Whites Best Wines of the Year – Italian Whites

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Strappo  |  December 18, 2010 at 11:01 am

    Thanks for the great assessment of Cascina Roccalini wines. They were an extraordinary find, and from the first sniff of Dolcetto (of all things), we were 100% convinced we HAD TO HAVE these wines. Paolo Veglio is still very young, and many of his vines aren’t too old either, so I think we’ll see deepening complexity and nuance over the years.

    Now that all the praise is reverberating in our ears, maybe somebody will step up and distribute our wines in Chicago.

    Reply
    • 2. tom hyland  |  December 18, 2010 at 11:54 am

      Terence:

      Thank you again for linking me up with Paolo, so I could discover these exceptional wines!

      I wish I had a distributorship myself here, as I’d snatch them up myself. I’ll talk to a few people, but I haven’t gotten much positive feedback about Piemonte wines as of late from local salespeople. I definitely think distributors and importers in New York are more energetic and positive on wines such as these.

      Reply

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