Wine Reviews: Italy

Posted by | Posted in Wine Reviews | Posted on 12-21-2019

This week, I’m focusing on some white and red wines from Italy.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve received a few wines from Veneto, Sicily and Piedmont. Sicilian whites really hit the spot for me pretty frequently, with their bright, tropical aesthetic. While some of the Veneto reds pair well with wintertime and rich, hearty dishes.

Most of these wines cost around $20, so there are some serious bargains in this report.

These wines were received as trade samples and tasted sighted.

Whites

2018 Pieropan Soave Classico Italy, Veneto, Soave Classico
Pieropan
SRP: $20
Light yellow color. Aromas of peaches and papayas, topped in floral perfume, chalk, wild herbs and white tea. Bright acidity, but deep texture, lovely balance. Vibrant lemon, lime and peach fruit mixed with white tea, sliced cucumber, and lots of floral perfume. Another solid vintage of this reliably good and worthwhile wine. Garganega and 15% Trebbiano from estate hillside vineyards. (89 points IJB)

2018 Azienda Agricola F. Tornatore Sicilia Etna Bianco Italy, Sicily, Sicilia
SRP: $20
Deep yellow color. Bursting nose of peaches, lemon and apricot, along with tons of white and yellow flowers, some sea salt, white pepper. Fleshy and plump with lemon curd and pineapple fruit. It has a lively, salty, limestoney feel, too, which is really attractive. Lots of yellow flowers, some wild herbs. Balanced really well, this is such a seafood and salad-friendly wine that brings solid complexity for the price. This is made from 100% Carricante grown on the northern slopes of Mt. Etna (1,800 to 2,300 feet). 12.5% alcohol. (89 points IJB)

2018 Tasca D’Almerita Tenuta Whitaker Grillo Mozia Italy, Sicily, Sicilia IGT
SRP: $22
Medium yellow color. The nose bursts with pineapple, green apples, key lime pie, with sea salt, honeycomb and lots of white and yellow flowers. Pleasant texture, medium-bodied, yet bright acidity. Lots of tropical goodness (cantaloupe, pineapple, limes) along with honeysuckle, daisies and sea salt. Juicy and tropical but fresh, too. Not “simple,” but simply pleasant; such a seafood bistro kinda wine. (88 points IJB)

2018 Tasca D’Almerita Tenuta Capofaro Didyme Italy, Sicily, Salina IGT
SRP: $26
Medium yellow. The aromas pop with kiwi, papaya, lychee, with white flowers, wild herbs, notes of pickling spices. Medium-bodied, has a pleasantly plump texture but the bright acidity makes it vibrant. Juicy and tropical with pineapple, lychee and papaya fruit. Complex notes of wildflowers and spices (honeysuckle, dandelion, white pepper). There’s a salty, chalky, mineral combo on the finish that is very nice. Impressive stuff. All Malvasia di Lipari, no maloactic fermentation, all stainless steel. (89 points IJB)

Reds

2018 Tenuta Sant’Antonio Valpolicella Nanfré Italy, Veneto, Valpolicella
SRP: $15
Light ruby color. Peppery, spicy nose with clove, bay leaf and rose hips, accenting the tangy red currant and wild cherry fruit. Fresh and accessible on the palate with light tannins on a medium-bodied frame. Cranberry sauce, red currant compote, the fruit meets with rose petals, clove, some bouillon cubes, chewing tobacco. This is really pleasant, well-integrated, easy-drinking but well-done. Great bistro, pizza wine, that sports a lot of value. 70% Corvina, 30% Rondinella, aged four to six months in stainless steel, 12.5% alcohol. (88 points IJB)

2017 Tenuta Sant’Antonio Ripasso della Valpolicella Superiore Monti Garbi Italy, Veneto, Valpolicella, Ripasso della Valpolicella Superiore
SRP: $22
Deep ruby color. Nose has a deep core of black currants and roasted digs, with some warm clay, smoky earth, clove notes. Suave and rich on the palate, moderate tannins, medium acidity helps keep it lively. Tart black currants and roasted fig fruit mixes well with leathery, smoky, earthy, coffee tones. Warm and inviting stuff, but this could use a year or two to express itself more. 70% Corvina, 20% Rondinella, and a combined 10% Croatina and Oseleta, aged 12 months in 30% new French oak. (89 points IJB)

amarone2015 Tenuta Sant’Antonio Amarone della Valpolicella Selezione Antonio Castagnedi Italy, Veneto, Valpolicella, Amarone della Valpolicella
SRP: $47
The nose shows a solid core of blackberry, currant compote, roasted digs, along with campfire smoke, dark chocolate shavings, anise cookies. Full-bodied but suave on the palate, with structured tannins, moderating acidity that keeps it away from being too heavy. The currant and fig compote mixes with lots of anise, coffee, scorched earth, violet petals, clove, sweet toffee and vanilla. This should age nicely over the next decade. 70% Corvina, 20% Rondinella, 5% Croatina, 5% Oseleta, aged two years in French oak. (90 points IJB)

2015 Allegrini Palazzo della Torre Veronese IGT Italy, Veneto, Veronese IGT
SRP: $20
Bright purple color. The nose shows smoky earth, anise, cocoa, on top of roasted figs and plum sauce. Medium+ bodied, smooth and velvety tannins, and refreshing acidity. Flavors of tangy currants, black cherries, refreshing fruit but plenty of it. Laced with violets, cigar box, anise, black pepper and cocoa. Another solid vintage of this perennial bargain. A blend of Corvina Veronese, Corvinone, Rondinella, and Sangiovese, aged 15 months in old oak. (89 points IJB)

2017 Renato Ratti Langhe Nebbiolo Ochetti Italy, Piedmont, Langhe
SRP: $25
Deep ruby color. Nose shows deep cherries and plums with a pleasantly smoky, earthy element, along with mushroom and rose petals. Nice grip on the palate, fresh acid, the balance is on point, and lots of black cherry and tart red currant fruit. Lots of rose petals, herbal tea, along with beefy, saucy, mushroom notes. Fun fruit, spicy and floral complexities. This opens up a lot with air, and could use some time. What a whole lotta Nebbiolo goodness for 25 bucks. From vineyards in Monteu Roero, aged 10 months in old Slavonian oak. (90 points IJB)

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