Ok kids, class is in session. This Wine Wednesday we are taking a tour of Italy. Why? Because Italy can be daunting with all of its indigenous grape varietals and long list of regions, but if you know what you are looking for it can be immensely rewarding. That is why when I was asked to host my sales team on a tasting of wines I chose Italy. I find that if I can teach something it is a sign I truly know it, so I picked the hardest country to master (for me at least) and dove right in. First stop, K&L Wines. If you live in San Francisco it is a must visit, a local wine shop with a vast selection and knowledgeable staff. With the help of my new buddy Mike, or “Guido” as he is lovingly called, I was able to select 5 wines with true flavor profiles of the grapes they are made from. Here is a preview of the tasting I will be hosting later this week. Cheers to learning something new with your next sip!
2012 La Monacesca Verdicchio di Matelica, $17.99
According to Guido: This 2012 Verdicchio di Matelica, is a very good example for the vintage. Offers crisp and refreshing citric fruit flavors and aromas with the characteristic touch of green herbs, is a wonderful value, a well rounded wine, beautifully structured, soft on the palate but with a slight suggestion of almond (typical for Verdicchio), a great autumn sipping wine and is very food-friendly.
2012 Le Fraghe Bardolino, $13.99
According to Guido: This is a classic blend of Corvina and Rondinella, two grapes routinely used together from the communes of Affi and Cavaion Veronese in the Veneto region near Lake Garda. It is medium bodied and surprisingly best serve slightly chilled (about 30 minutes in the fridge before opening). It is rich with a lovely nose of cherry and blueberry balanced with cinnamon and black pepper. Guido suggests sipping with food (although really that is all Italian wines).
2010 Castello di Monsanto Chianti Classico Riserva, $17.99…this wine was explained with pointy elbows out as a BIG WINE and it was suggested I decant it for several hours
According to Guido: I met Fabrizio Bianchi from Monsanto in the early eighties and have been a fan and follower ever since. Mr. Bianchi is certainly one of the earliest pioneers in trying to change the image of Chianti as well as the grapes involved. Fabrizio is a big believer in Sangiovese, the main grape in Chianti and the backbone of most Tuscan wines. He was one of the first in Chianti to make wines 100% Sangiovese in the early ’70s. The terroir of this region is evident and expressed consistently, spicy, mineral laden, complex fruits and good acidity. I love this 2010, but be warned! It will go quick!
2011 Marco Porello Nebbiolo D’Alba, $17.99
According to Guido: Most Nebbiolo need to be cellared for 10, 20 even 30+ years to allow the tannins to mellow out and the wine to slowly oxidize to the point the flavors are at their peak. This Nebbiolo D’Alba is not the big, HUGE, GIGANTIC tannin structure of many of it’s peers but remains in line with the traditional flavor profile of tar and roses. This wine is a great way to understand this style of wine without having to wait 10 years to do it.
2012 Remo Farina Valpolicella Ripasso, $14.99
According to Guido: Valpolicella has undergone an amazing transformation from the 60s Bolla version with a red-checked tablecloth to the suave and ultra-hip wine region. This ripasso is a midway point between simple and fresh and the power and size of the Amarone taking the best from both. A wine to drink straight from the bottle, with a straw or with roasted rabbit, or complex pasta dishes. Rockin’ Ripasso!