Italy is still one of the greats when it comes to wine with a depth and breadth of wine offerings so great that it would be nearly impossible to taste them all. Below are a range of wines from regions you might not be familiar with, or grapes that you just haven’t met yet, but all of these are highly recommended and worthy of the next time you are enjoying Italian cuisine or simply relaxing with a good bottle of wine. Cheers!
Carpezzana 2012 Barco Reale di Carmignano, Tuscany, Italy
A Tuscan DOC using the sangiovese, cabernet, and canaiolo grapes, the nose is a little unusual. Black raspberry, cherries, and a slightly smoky note, but also with charred canvas or smoky resin aromas and fresh cut flowers – it works though. Good balance from start to finish with consistent flavours to the nose. Tannins are firm, but not aggressive and the smoky quality should work with my style of cooking. Pork or game meats, grilled tomatoes or a nice, meaty sauce. Drinking well now, should keep and improve over the next 5 years or so.
I dislike mentioning exclusives, but only Co-op wine stores have it for about $30
Zabu Il Passo 2013 Nerello Mascalese-Nero d’Avola, Sicily, Italy
Who’s a big fan of both nero and nerello? This guy! The two big grapes of the Sicilian vineyards, they can both stand alone or mix well. Sleek, curvy berry fruits show on the nose with a little jamminess and brambly notes around the edges. Slightly earthy on the palate with some smoke and charred notes, this bottle is tasty and should prove versatile with anything red meat or even grilled portobellos. Might keep, but I’d drink over the next two or three years.
About $20-21 CSPC 769619
Villa Matilde 2011 Aglianico Rocca dei Leoni, Campania, Italy
A relatively rare grape in Italy, it’s almost unheard of to find it planted anywhere else (although it is getting some love in Australia and a little in California). Inky and dark in the glass with a decidedly earthy and raisined berry fruit aroma. Tannins are still a little aggressive, but provide a musculature to the wine that really helps it stand out. Food? Flavourful beef such as braised or brisket, but even a selection of hard cheese would work.
Around $20-21 CSPC 736672
Il Nespoli 2010 Sangiovese de Romagna, Romagna, Italy
Made from 100 per cent sangiovese, this wine just sings in the glass with lively cherry fruits, cedar, and herb tones. On the palate, fruits take a second or two to open up, but when they do…it’s great. Tannins have a bit of a hard edge to them, but overall, it’s a solid, well-made sangiovese to bust out the next time you are cooking Italian-a meaty lasagna or a rich Bolognese sauce.
About $22-24 CSPC 771038
Banfi 2012 ASKA Bolgheri Rosso, Tuscany, Italy
Mostly cabernet sauvignon with a little cabernet franc in the mix, the ASKA has an intense and enjoyable nose with cedar and cherry, cassis, and spice box – along with a little bell pepper and cola. Full-flavoured and rich with just a little green herb and tight tannins. Excellent stuff and should appeal to anyone that likes good cab. Drinking well now, feel free to keep up to five or more years.
Retailing for about $24-26 CSPC 769830
Botter Gran Passione 2013 Rosso, Veneto, Italy
Not valpolicella, not amarone or even ripasso wine, this is the sort of thing called a “super-veneto” along the lines of the super-tuscans. Based around merlot with corvina, the nose bursts with plush, juicy, berry fruits and a bit of toasted coconut. Flavours are definitely fruit-driven, with mellow tannins and a generous length. Drink, enjoy, food or no food.
About $18 CSPC 764358