Italy tagged posts

A Serious 92 Point Barbaresco Under $30

October 12, 2012 Cellar WorthyHigh End Values  No comments

We recently tried a restaurant called Davanti Enoteca in Chicago's Little Italy, so naturally we brought an Italian wine to enjoy with dinner.  I'll get to the wine shortly, but it's worth mentioning that the food and the service were both fantastic.  From the white anchovy salad, to the Mascarpone polenta with beef short rib ragu served on a wooden cutting board, to the braised rabbit cannelloni, the food was rustic but sophisticated and tasted outrageously good.  The style was similar to a meal I ate at Mario Batali's Osteria Mozza in Los Angeles, but the food at Davanti was much better (and much less expensive).

On to the wine.  Such a delicious meal demanded an equally delicious wine and luckily we made a good choice.  The 2008 Giorgio Pelissero Barbaresco Nubiola is a Nebbiolo

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A 93 pt Chianti under $20 – Wine Enthusiast #1 WOTY

November 18, 2011 Cellar WorthyDaily DrinkersHigh End Values  No comments

The 2007 Marchesi de Frescobaldi Chianti Rufina Castello di Nipozzano Riserva (now that's a mouthfull!), came in at #1 on Wine Enthusiast's Wine of the Year list, and #65 on the same list for Wine Spectator.  Would you believe it only costs $17.95?

Those are pretty impressive credentials for any wine, let alone one that costs less than $20.  Think of it this way: four glasses of this chianti cost less than four Starbucks carmel macchiatos!  Tastes better too, and I would much rather have a case of this in my cellar than 12 cups of soy latte.

Chianti lovers will not find a better value for under $20.  Plain and simple.  Despite it's origins in the cooler Rufina region of Tuscany, this Chianti is ripe, though it maintains the telltale Sangiovese acidity and minerality.  Though a

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A Fantastic Chianti under $4. Are you kidding me?

January 7, 2011 Daily DrinkersWines under $10  No comments

I usually avoid under $5 wine and here's why: it's almost impossible to grow, pick, ferment, age, bottle, cork, label, transport, market and sell wine for that price and still have a product that tastes good.  After tasting the Straccali 2009 Chianti, L.A. Wine Co. was ready to sell it for $7.99, and at that price I could call it a killer value with a clear conscience.  But an opportunity for a volume buy came along and now it's available for half that price.

This Chianti compares favorably to the 2006 Monte Antico Rosso, which received 90 points from Wine Spectator and was featured on their top 100 list in 2009.  That wine sold for a still exceptionally reasonable $7.99.  The Straccali is bright, balanced and has the good acidity you expect from a nice Chianti.  Most importantly,

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Marchesi de Frescobaldi Tenuta di Castiglioni ’07- under $20 WS93 Super Tuscan

May 13, 2010 Cellar Worthy  No comments

Super Tuscan wines carry notoriously high prices, especially highly rated versions like the 2007 Marchesi de Frescobaldi Tenuta di Castiglioni.  So when a 93 pointer comes around for under $20 I have to try it!

I'm really glad I did because this is something special.  The first thing to understand about this wine is that it's built for aging.  It's very dense, especially for an Italian wine, and the color is a beautiful dark ruby/black.  I opened this mid week and although enjoyable, it was tight and somewhat closed.  So I pumped it out and let it sit for 3 days.  And what a change 3 days can make!  The wine had opened up with incredible aromas of coffee, cherry and oak.  In the mouth it's particularly chocolaty for a Super Tuscan- it could almost pass for a new world Bordeaux blend. 

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Ciacci Piccolomini d’Aragona Toscana Rosso IGT 2007- Another wine under $10

April 26, 2010 Daily DrinkersWines under $10  One comment

Another day, another wine under $10!  I've really been into the Tuscan blends lately because they offer a nice contrast from the big Napa Cabernets.  This particular wine is medium bodied and has a nice raspberry nose that's not typical of Tuscan wine.

I'm a big fan of the 2006 Monte Antico Rosso, but this wine has something different.  Whereas the Monte Antico is very dry and slightly tart, this wine is soft, fruity and smooth.  Although there is a hint of oak, the focus for the Ciacci Piccolomini d'Aragona Toscana Rosso is really on the fruit.

The Italians are big on classifications and the IGT or Indicazione Geografica Tipica classification denotes wine from a specific location (in this case, Toscana or Tuscany), and is a step up from typical Italian table wine or Vino da

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2007 Castello Banfi Centine- Super Super Tuscan under $8

March 25, 2010 Daily DrinkersWines under $10  No comments

If you are looking for a “Super Tuscan” at a super price, try the 2007 Banfi Centine. It is widely available in the $9-11 range and right now, Argonaut Wines has it for $7.99.  At that price, it doesn't have to be great, but it is!  I have had this particular Banfi for several years but this was my first try of the 2007. My experience is that you have to spend thirty to fifty bucks for a good super Tuscan (with the exception of the 2006 Monte Antico Rosso reviewed a couple of weeks ago). There just aren’t many full bodied Super Tuscan offerings for $10-20. At that price they tend to be thin and weak.

The 2006 Monte Antico Super Tuscan made a big splash on the Wine Spectator top 100 list and can still be found for about the same price as the Banfi. The Banfi and the Monte Antico

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Monte Antico Rosso Toscana 2006- 90WS under $10

March 5, 2010 Daily DrinkersWines under $10  2 comments

One of my favorite daily drinkers is Monte Antico 2006.  As you can see from the picture of tonight's dinner, it's great with pizza, but it really shows much better than your average Tuscan pizza wine.  At 85% Sangiovese (with the rest Cabernet and Merlot), it's very dry but has nice fruit once it opens up.

One of my favorite wine retailers, LA Wine Company, is currently selling this great wine value- which ranked #61 on the 2009 Wine Spectator Top 100- for only $8.99.  At that price, I would (or should I say did), pick up a case or two.  This is a very solid wine value.

2009 Wine Spectator Top 100: #61

"Bright plum, dried cherry and flowers on the nose. Full-bodied, with fine tannins and refined berry and cherry flavors. Drink now." (WS)

Monte Antico Rossa

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