Wine Reviews: Italy

Posted by | Posted in Wine Reviews | Posted on 07-11-2020

I’ve been at home for 17 weeks now, and the travel lust is in full swing. Unfortunately, here in the U.S. we are still in the middle of the first pandemic wave, and things look worse and worse these days. So, this week, to satiate my desire for travel and cheery myself up, I’m visiting a range of Italian wines.

The estate wines of Alois Lageder, in Italy’s Dolomiti region, are organic and biodynamic and really exciting. But I was pleasantly surprised to taste the quality and vibrancy in their Terra Alpina wines, which are sourced from different growers in the region. For the price, these wines offer this sense of regional typicity, depth, and “realness.”

I also tasted an impressive Super Tuscan at an entry-level price from Tenuta di Arceno, and some crushable Veneto wines from Pasqua. Lastly, Zenato’s Amarone makes me long for autumnal weather and slow-cooked meats.

These wines were received as trade samples and tasted sighted.

2019 Alois Lageder Pinot Grigio Terra Alpina Italy, Trentino-Alto Adige, Vigneti delle Dolomiti IGT
SRP: $16
Pale lemon color. The nose gushes with kiwi, lime and green melon, mixed with spicy herbs, verbena, talc notes. Plush, medium-bodied, a pretty texture with racy acidity. Ripe melon meets zippy kiwi and lime fruit, which is doused in minerals, chalk, limestone notes. Floral, herbal elements add complexity. This is racy, bright, complex stuff, and a serious value. (90 points IJB)

2019 Alois Lageder Pinot Bianco Terra Alpina Italy, Trentino-Alto Adige, Vigneti delle Dolomiti IGT
SRP: $15
Light straw color. Aromas of lemon and kiwi, spiced tea, ginger, sea salt and mint. On the palate, this has a bright, chalky, dusty feel with lots of energy and juicy, tangy fruit (white peach, kiwi, lime). Notes of spiced tea and ginger meet chalk, mineral and quinine notes. Brisk but shows depth and value. (89 points)

2016 Tenuta di Arceno Il Fauno Di Arcanum Italy, Tuscany, Toscana IGT
SRP: $35
Medium purple color. Aromas of juicy plums, dark currants, with smoky earth, tobacco, mint chocolate chip and spiced black tea. Full-bodied, structured but velvety, fresh acidity, this is balanced very nicely. Tangy red and black currants and cherries mixed with complex notes of spiced coffee, earth, tar, pepper and coffee grounds. This is a bright but complex Super Tuscan that offers a lot of what I look for in these wines at a very reasonable price. Could use air or a year or two. Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot aged 12 months in French oak. (90 points IJB)

2018 Pasqua Romeo & Juliet Passione e Sentimento Bianco Italy, Veneto, Veneto IGT
SRP: $16
Light yellow color. Brisk notes of honeysuckle and lilies, celery seed and mint, over lemon and kiwi fruit. Zippy and crisp on the palate with fresh acidity, and flavors of lemons, green apples and white peach. There’s a flinty, salty undertone that makes this seafood and salad-friendly. Brisk yet some moderate creamy depth with floral perfume to round out the finish. Would be a great BTG pour at a seafood spot. All Garganega. (87 points IJB)

2017 Pasqua Romeo & Juliet Passione e Sentimento Rosso Italy, Veneto, Veneto IGT
SRP: $16
Bright purple color. Aromas of plums, sweet currant jam, with spicy tobacco, cloves, coffee and violets. Smooth and chewy texture on the palate with medium/low acidity, and a velvety feel with plums, raspberry and currant jams. Notes of smoky, resiny, herbal tones with clove. Accessible and fun but has some complexity, too. Merlot, Corvina and Croatina. (87 points IJB)

2015 Zenato Amarone della Valpolicella Classico Italy, Veneto, Valpolicella, Amarone della Valpolicella Classico
SRP: $60
Deep ruby color. Aromas of juicy raspberry, sweet cherries, raisins, sweet roses, vanilla, cocoa and earth. Full-bodied, big and burly at 16.5%, with chewy tannins and medium acidity, a rich and suave feel. Pretty cherries, plum sauce, raisins, kirsch, mixed with elements of cocoa, violets, clove, coffee. Underlying charcoal, mineral and earth vibes. Rich and juicy but shows freshness and complexity. Accessible now but bury for five or eight years and this should show some interesting development. (90 points IJB)

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