$189 (regular price $236)
Italy: The world's largest producer of wine, and home to some of the oldest wine-producing lands on the planet. In its 20 wine regions, Italy grows close to 1000 (!) different grapes, and from this cover a surprisingly broad range of styles and flavor profiles. With so much ground to cover, the Bottle Shop put together a case of Italian wines that are crowd favorites. In addition, these wines showcase grapes + regions that are lesser known, yet deliver great products. This collection covers wines from the northernmost regions that border Austria, down past the tip of the boot and into Sicily. This is a super fun look at some interesting and tasty Italian wines. Please find descriptions of this month’s selection below. Enjoy!
(Trentino-Alto Adige) Pojer E Sandri Palai Dolomiti Muller Thurgau 2017, $24
The Pojer E Sandri winery is located in the Dolomites of northeastern Italy. Steep hillsides at high elevation in siltstone + limestone soils, and all stainless steel fermentation create this aromatic, mineral driven, citrusy white. Fun grape fact: Muller Thurgau is a cross of riesling and sylvaner grapes! This wine exhibits the best parts of both varietals.
Variety: 100% Muller Thurgau
Tasting Notes: Prominent acid and citrus, limestone minerality, subtle notes of under ripe stone fruit and blossoms.
Pairing: Watermelon Gazpacho, Eggs Benedict, brunch menu items!
(Alto Adige) Castelfeder Lagrein 2017, $23
The rugged terrain of German-speaking Alto Adige (also referred to as Südtirol) focuses on small-scale viticulture, with great value placed on local varieties—though international varieties have been widely planted since the 1800s. Sheltered by the Alps from harsh northerly winds, many of the best vineyards are at extreme altitude but on steep slopes to increase sunlight exposure. Lagrein is typically characterized with bold, herbaceous flavors, coupled with dark spicy fruit tones. The Castelfeder Lagrein is no acception - Aromas of blackberry, violet and dark spice lead while the juicy palate serves up raspberry, black cherry, clove and white pepper. It’s another lively Northern Italian wine, with firm but approachable tannins.
Variety: 100% Lagrein
Tasting Notes: Clove, blackberry, black + white pepper, rustic
Pairing: Stewed meats, BBQ
(Veneto) Ca La Bionda Valpolicella Classico 2017, $18
This winery is located in Valpolicella- the Italian wine region ranking just after Chianti in total Italian Demoninazione di Origine Controllata (DOC) wine production. Ca La Bionda was founded in 1902, and today, enjoys its fourth generation of family wine making. They use organic farming practices and only grapes indigenous to the region, a long-standing and thoughtful tradition resulting in a light, elegant, and easy drinking wine suitable as an aperitif or coupled with most savory meals.
Variety: 70 % Corvina, 20% Corvinone, 10% Rondinella, 10% Molinara
Tasting Notes: fresh red fruits, violets, light bodied and bright on the palate
Pairing: This wine is great for spring inspired fare! Grilled asparagus, grilled corn, charcuterie.
(Piedmont) Francesco Rinaldi Grignolino d’Asti 2017, $21
Located in Piedmont in the town of Barolo itself, the domaine of Francesco Rinaldi was founded in 1870. Although this region is most famous for Barolos and Barberas, the Grignolino grape yields one of my favorite wines to drink. All stainless steel fermentation. Light bodied, bright sour cherry fruit, black pepper, and just a bit of old world funk.
Variety: 100% Grignolino
Tasting Notes: tarty berry + cherry fruit, nice acid, subtle tannic structure, lightly herbal
Pairing: Great pork chop wine!
(Piedmont) Vietti "Tre Vigne" Barbera d'Asti 2016, $19
Here is another offering from Piedmont- and another family run winery for over 100 years. This is a textbook example of one of Italy’s most famous grapes. Aged in both neutral oak barrels and stainless steel vats- the Vietti family produces a Barbera d’Asti that is dry, medium bodied and has refreshing acidity. It is well balanced with good integration of oak, good complexity and a long finish of red cherries.
Variety: 100% Barbera D’Asti
Tasting Notes: Generous red and blue fruit, smooth textured, floral and mineral notes
Pairing: Grilled vegetables, Mushroom Risotto
(Emilio-Romagna) Fattoria Zerbina "Ceregio" Trebbiano 2017, $15
Fattoria Zerbina is located in the region of Romagna, which borders Tuscany on its northernmost side.The “Ceregio” is made from all Trebbiano grapes, and is a delightful option for springtime. Fresh, light bodied, and bright on the palette. A great sunshine wine!
Variety: 100% Trebbiano
Tasting Notes: Crisp + light on the palette, prominent citrus zest, light tropical fruit
Pairing: spring salad with feta cheese, sauteed white fish
(Tuscany) Fattoria Poggerino, Chianti Classico DOCG 2015, $28
Located in the heart of Tuscany, Fattoria Poggerino is a family run operation that holds strict organic farming practices. This Chianti Classico brings familiar Italian wine characteristics - Bright ruby red color, on the nose notes of blackberries, leather, cherries and red currant with a touch of liquorice and vanilla. Sweet and persistent tannins.
Variety: 100% Sangiovese
Tasting Notes: Cherries and oak notes with great acidity and ripeness.
Pairing: Bistecca alla Fiorentina
(Abruzzo) Faraone Vigne Rosso Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo DOC 2017, $16
The Faraone family and vineyard has been making wines in the central Italian region of Abruzzo since the 1930’s. They make a variety of wines, and under a few different labels- the Faraone Le Vigne label focuses on accessible and tasty day to day wines at a great value. Although labeled “Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo,” this wine is made from all Montepulciano grapes.
Here, Cerasuolo means "bright cherry" and relates to the deep color the wine gets during the fermentation process, as well as the bright and lively tasting notes.
Variety: 100% Montepulciano d’Abruzzo
Tasting Notes: Medium bodied, dark red cherry, well balanced with integrated smooth tannins. Great food wine!
Pairing: Crispy brussels sprouts, roasted sausages and potatoes
(Calabria) Scala di Ciro Rosso Classico Superiore, $16
Down to the ‘toe’ of the Italian boot we find a winery run by the Scala family since 1949- the domaine is now run by Luigi Scala, who leads the production of Cirò wines following family traditions. From the growing of the grapes to the refinement and aging of the wines, Scala favors quality over quantity and aims to produce distinguished Calabrian wines. This Gagliopo is hearty, yet easy drinking with red fruit + spice aromas, and undertones of cranberry on the palate.
Variety: 100% Gaglioppo
Tasting Notes: Lightly dry and aromatic, integrated tannins, nice berry fruit, well balanced.
Pairing: Sun Dried tomatoes, beef tartare
(Basilicata) D'Angelo Aglianico del Vulture 2015, $18
The D’Angelo winery, whose name has been identified with Aglianico for approximately a century, represents a long history for Basilicata and its region. In 1971, Aglianico del Vulture received DOC status. Their Aglianico is aged in large wooden botti for nearly 20 months.Opaque crimson-tinged plum in the glass, d’Angelo’s 2015 Aglianico has aromas of salted plums, violets, and peppery volcanic soil. Firmly tannic, a touch spicy, and bittersweet chocolate finish.
Variety: 100% Aglianico
Tasting Notes: crunchy, juicy, with loads of perfumes and firm tannins the wine fresh
Pairing: hard cheeses, hearty pasta, eggplant parmigiana
(Sicily) Tascante Ghiaia Nera Etna Rosso 2016, $21
This Nerello Mascalese is harvested from the Tascante estates on the Etna volcano in Sicily. The grape's natural tannins have been softened and the wine shows generous fruit tones, mineral notes, leather, tobacco and exotic spices.
Variety: 100% Nerello Mascalese
Tasting Notes: Ripe fruits, mineral, charcoal with plenty of acid
Pairing: Cumin spiced lentils and feta cheese
(Sicily) Poggio Anima Asmodeus Nero D' Avola 2017, $17
2017 marks the fifth vintage from this vineyard. The vineyard is located in central Sicily, in the province of Caltanissetta, at about 1,600 feet above sea level. The most prominent red wine variety in Sicily is nero d'Avola, which yields full-bodied, well-structured and juicy red wines sometimes compared to syrahs. This Poggio Anima is dark with forward notes of ripe plum. Finishes with fruit sweetness and a licorice note with soft gripping tannins.
Variety: 100% Nero d’Avola
Tasting Notes: Dark juicy fruit, licorice, leather
Pairing: Penne Arabiata, great pizza wine!