Wine Reviews: Italy

Posted by | Posted in Wine Reviews | Posted on 05-02-2021

I’m back this week with a wide-ranging mix of Italian wines. Aside from a few Piedmont wines, most of the wines in this week’s report hail from Tuscany. All these Tuscan samples show the diversity in styles, prices and wines from this heralded region. From bargain-priced bottles for pizza and patios, to a high-end Merlot that could be a great Right Bank ringer in a blind tasting, there’s hopefully something for everyone in here.

These wines were received as trade samples and tasted sighted.

2019 Tenute Cisa Asinari dei Marchesi di Grésy Moscato d’Asti “La Serra” Italy, Piedmont, Asti, Moscato d’Asti
SRP: $17
Light yellow color. A really floral nose with white flowers, perfume, along with peaches, lemon and kiwi fruit, with some sea salt tones. Juicy texture with medium/low acidity and ripe flavors of white peaches, melon and pear butter. Notes of honey, white flowers and some chalk dust add complexity. Fun, accessible stuff but has significant complexity as well. (88 points IJB)

2017 Vietti Langhe Nebbiolo “Perbacco” Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Langhe DOC
SRP: $28
Medium ruby color. Aromas of ripe red and black cherries, cranberry jam, along with smoky earth, rhubarb, mushrooms and rose petals. Forward and fresh with high acidity and dusty tannins. A crisp appeal with red currants and cherries, laced with smoky, minty, peppery, pickling spice tones. Floral, perfume and vibrant, gets very expressive with air. Accessible but will improve with a few years as well. A whole lot of Nebbiolo goodness for the price. (90 points IJB)

2019 Cultusboni Chianti “Cetamura” Italy, Tuscany, Chianti
SRP: $11
Medium ruby color. Ripe, fresh nose of friendly cherries and plums, along with rose petals and red licorice. Velvety tannins, fresh acidity, a zippy and fun approach to this medium-bodied, lighter-style wine. Juicy red cherries and plums play well off of floral and earth tones, hints of black tea and mint. All Sangiovese aged in stainless steel. The quality for the price on this wine is really nice. (87 points IJB)

2019 Cultusboni Chianti “Colmaia” Italy, Tuscany, Chianti
SRP: $13
Bright ruby color. An interesting nose of spicy herbs and ripe cherries and raspberries, with some red licorice and violet tones. Velvety and inviting, bright acid, some nice structure from the tannins. Tastes authentic and lively, with black cherries and plums. Notes of violets, cola, black tea and green herbs add some complexity. Delicious, food-friendly, versatile stuff. Stainless steel Sangiovese. (88 points IJB)

2018 Cultusboni Chianti Classico “RS” Italy, Tuscany, Chianti, Chianti Classico DOCG
SRP: $16
Deep ruby color. Lovely nose of smoked meats, paprika, rose petals, chestnut, over top of tangy red currants. The acidity is bright and crisp, with dusty, light tannins. Tart cranberry and spicy currants mix with notes of grilled meat, leather, black olives, earth and clay tones. Vibrant, spicy, approachable, this has a whole lot of character for a wine at this price point. Sangiovese aged in oak. (90 points IJB)

2019 Colline San Biagio “Balè” Rosato Italy, Tuscany, Toscana IGT
SRP:  $40
Medium salmon color. Bright and zippy on the nose with wild cherries and lemon zest, over top of cucumber slices, mint and chives. Chunks of orange and pineapple and tangy raspberries on the nose, along with elements of cucumber water, white pepper, some rose tea. Salty, chalky notes underneath, too. Fun, versatile rose. 85% Merlot, 15% Sangiovese. (88 points IJB)

2018 Colline San Biagio “Vigna Toia” Italy, Tuscany, Toscana IGT
SRP: $40
Medium ruby color. Vibrant red cherries and plums on the nose, with a complex mix of pepper, tar, tobacco, dried violet petals. Full-bodied and ripe on the palate but shows some vibrancy as well. Dusty tannins meet vibrant acidity. The crunchy plums and cherry fruit is lively but deep, laced with complex graphite and stony minerals, some gravelly road, really cool earth tones that are hard to describe but delicious. Peppery, violets and clove as well. Bold, structured, but complex and a screaming value. Sangiovese with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, aged in a mix of stainless steel and French oak. (88 points IJB)

2017 Colline San Biagio “Donna Mingarda” Italy, Tuscany, Toscana IGT
SRP: $60
An inviting nose of warm, mulled cherries and raspberries, with plenty of herbal and spicy tones, like tomato leaf, rose petals, cumin, white pepper – really attractive. Full-bodied with well-built but velvety tannins, showing nice grip but not harsh, moderating acidity. Tart black and red cherries, roasted figs, mixed well with complexities of chewing tobacco, rhubarb, white pepper. Really finishes well with smooth, earthy, floral tones. Needs air but this is lovely. All Sangiovese, aged 12 months in old second- and third-year French oak. (90 points IJB)

2015 Colline San Biagio Carmignano “Sancti Blasii” Italy, Tuscany, Carmignano
SRP: $80
Deep ruby color. Enticing aromas of smoky, meaty, pepperoni elements, with roses, violets, charcoal, over top of deep plums and tangy red currants. On the palate, this is full and suave with velvety tannins and fresh acidity. Tart currants and black cherries, deep but really tangy fruit, and the balance and freshness are lovely. Complexities of tobacco, black pepper, violets, earth. Deep, exciting, needs a long time to show its best, but it’s integrated well already. Decant or age this for five more years. Sangiovese with 20% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Merlot aged 15 months in second-year French oak. (91 points IJB)

2015 Colline San Biagio Carmignano “Quattordicisei” Italy, Tuscany, Carmignano
SRP: $160
Oh, wow, this smells amazing. Evokes Bordeaux, but it is its own thing entirely. Inviting deep but vibrant red fruits, so much complexity in terms of warm clay, tobacco leaf, black pepper, rose petals, some red pepper and lavender – a lot going on. Full-bodied but so, so smooth. The balance is impeccable with dusty tannins and vibrant, crunchy acidity. Mouthwatering cherry and red currant fruit meets complexities of sandy soil, pencil shavings, mint chewing tobacco, violets. Refined already but a lot time ahead for this beautiful wine. Merlot aged in new French oak for 18 months. (93 points IJB)

2018 Fattoria Selvapiana Chianti Rùfina Italy, Tuscany, Chianti, Chianti Rùfina
SRP $19
Medium ruby color. Nose shows cherries, red plums and pomegranate, along with tobacco leaf, leather, bay leaf, and some sage and violets. Impressive structure but the tannins have rounded edges and there’s nicely balanced acidity. Tangy plum and cherry fruit mixes well with elements of tobacco, loam, violets, with notes of cocoa and pencil shavings. Opens nicely with air and boasts quite a bit of complexity and balance for a sub-$20 wine. (89 points IJB)

2018 Casanova di Neri Rosso di Montalcino Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Rosso di Montalcino
SRP: $23
Aromas of spicy pepper, smoky earth, rose petals and cedar, over top of strawberry and plum fruit. Medium/full-bodied with dusty tannins and bright acidity. The plum and currant fruit blends with an interesting mix of tobacco, sage, pepperoni, anise and dark chocolate. It has this mineral and incense stick element, too – interesting and inviting. A fun, pizza-friendly wine but shows complexity as well. A Sangiovese, Cabernet and Petit Verdot blend that will be fun to drink over the next few years. (89 points IJB)

2018 Aia Vecchia Toscana “Lagone”  Italy, Tuscany, Toscana IGT
SRP: $17
A spicy, fresh nose with tart currants, tobacco, leather and mesquite tones. Vibrant acidity, has an accessible, zesty feel with medium-dusty tannins. Black cherries, plums, tangy, fresh fruit, mixed with fun notes of graphite, loamy earth, tobacco, mint, coffee grounds. Some flinty, mineral tones. This has a lot of freshness and complexity for the price. 60% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Cabernet Franc. (88 points IJB)

2016 Villa Patrizia Montecucco Sangiovese “Istrico”Italy, Tuscany, Montecucco
SRP: $15
Aromas of currants and cherries, mixed with cinnamon, tobacco, clove and violets. Structured surprisingly well with moderate acidity and tart black cherry and red currant fruit. Delightfully spicy with tones of clove tobacco, green herbs, pine resin and some coffee tones, too. Integrated and balanced but going well and can continue to age. (87 points IJB)

2015 Tenuta L’Impostino Montecucco Riserva “Viandante” Riserva Italy, Tuscany, Montecucco
SRP: $22
Medium purple color. A nice mix on the nose of rose petals, spicy pepper and oregano, with vibrant woodsy tones over bright red fruits. Vibrant acidity and refined tannins, structured and balanced well with tart red currant, raspberries and cherries. Notes of earth, tobacco pipe, gravel, beef broth and spiced tea add complexity, while nuances of coffee and dark chocolate round out the silky finish. Aging well with life ahead. (89 points IJB)

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