Wine Reviews: Italian Grab Bag

Posted by | Posted in Wine Reviews | Posted on 07-24-2021

This week, I’m digging into a few Italian wines, and value is largely the theme here. From poolside selections for a dozen bucks to more moderately-priced wines that deliver a lot of depth, there’s a nice mix in here.

The islands are represented, with some delicious Sardinian selections from Surrau. There are some inexpensive offerings from Sicily’s Cantine Ermes, too, which offer a good introduction to their respective grapes.

These wines were received as trade samples and tasted sighted.

2019 La Scolca Gavi di Gavi “Black Label” Italy, Piedmont, Gavi
SRP: $42
Light yellow color. Bright as heck on the nose with lemons, kiwis, green apples, topped in honeysuckle, dandelion, chalky, crushed shell tones. Zippy and invigorating on the palate with nice depth of texture as well. Limes and kiwi fruit blend with some stony, mineral, chalky tones and some light white floral and sliced cucumber elements. The depth and mineral elements are really enjoyable. A serious, and seriously enjoyable, Gavi. (91 points IJB)

2020 Vigne Surrau Vermentino di Gallura “Limizzani” Italy, Sardinia, Vermentino di Gallura DOCG
SRP: $16
Ripe yellow color. A juicy and tropical nose of pineapples and white peach, drizzled in lime, with wild mint, daisies, honeysuckle. Crisp acidity over a punchy texture with pleasant creaminess. Pineapple, guava and lime fruit blend well with tones of dandelion, daisies, clover, with underlying flinty, stony tones. Man, this is delicious, bright, bountiful Vermentino for the price. All estate fruit, all stainless steel. (89 points IJB)

2019 Vigne Surrau Vermentino di Gallura Superiore “Sciala”  Italy, Sardinia, Vermentino di Gallura DOCG
SRP: $27
Light yellow flowers. Floral and complex on the nose with wild herbs, mint, verbena, sea salt, overtop of honey and juicy white peach fruit. On the palate, this is crisp and nervy but also juicy and sports good depth of texture. Lemons and papayas play well off of basil, orange peel, with chalky, flinty tones. Fun, fresh, but a lot of complexity as well. A selection of the estate’s best fruit, with brief skin contact, fermented and aged on the lees in stainless steel. (91 points IJB)

2019 Vigne Surrau Cannonau di Sardegna “Naracu” Italy, Sardinia, Cannonau di Sardegna
SRP: $16
Vibrant ruby color. A bright cherry display on the nose with raspberries and a spicy mix of tobacco, clove and pepper. Medium acidity, an approachable feel but structured well with tangy plums and cherries. The spicy, floral notes show a lot of diversity, woven together well, with clay, tobacco, woodsy-piney elements. Ripe and fun but a lot of complexity for the price. A spicy, grill-friendly wine. All Cannonau fermented and aged in stainless steel. (89 points IJB)

2019 Vigne Surrau Barriu Isola dei Nuraghi “Barriu” Italy, Sardinia, Isola dei Nuraghi IGT
SRP: $27
Deep ruby color. The nose shows a warm compote of black cherries and plums, a vibrant and fresh approach but nice depth too, with notes of tar, smoky earth and tobacco. Medium-bodied, a dusty tannic backbone, fresh acidity, it has a lively feel with red currants, tart plums and cranberry relish. Notes of dusty earth, rose petals, tobacco and pepper add complexity. A delicious wine that feels like it could pair well with a huge spread of different foods. 60% Carignano, 30% Cannonau and 10% Muristellu (Bovale Sardo), aged nine months in Slavonian Oak casks, stainless steel and cement vats. (90 points IJB)

2020 Stemmari Grillo Sicilia Italy, Sicily, Sicilia
SRP: $11
Light yellow color. Such a summery, fresh vibe on the nose, with sea salt, white flowers, light honey, with peaches, kiwi and clean laundry. Crisp acidity, a steely-bright approach but some nice punchiness to the texture. Lemon, green apple and kiwi fruit mix well with nuances of chalk, floral perfume, celery seed and mint. Zippy and accessible, yet shows some very impressive complexity for the price. Classic summer patio pounder for hot weather by the pool. (88 points IJB)

2019 Cantine Ermes Grillo “Vento di Mare” Italy, Sicily, Sicilia
SRP: $11
Light yellow color. The nose pops with sea salt, lemon zest, orange peel and dandelion. Lively and fun with zippy acidity, some nice moderate creaminess. Limes and lemons and papay fruit blend with notes of cut flower stems, celery seed, cucumber slices. Fresh, summery and fun, this is straightforward in the best way for the price. Well-done, solid value. (88 points IJB)

2019 Cantine Ermes Nero d’Avola “Vento di Mare” Italy, Sicily, Sicilia
SRP: $12
Medium ruby color. A bright nose of wild raspberries and strawberries, with notes of dusty and clay earth and some cola and pepper. Vibrant and slightly chewy on the palate with fresh acidity and a mix of tangy raspberry and candied cherries. Roses, violets, some tobacco and cola. Fun and simple, but in a good way. Crowd-pleasing, fun, value-driven stuff. (87 points IJB)

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