Keeping My Resolution–Italian Wines

I am feeling rather proud of myself. Here it is the middle of May and I am pretty astonished that at least one of my New Year’s Resolutions is still going strong. A brief recap of said Resolutions:

  1. Drink more Merlot: I technically think this one is still alive, but that is mostly due to the last trip to Dry Creek Valley where I got to drink a couple stellar wines still in barrel. Here in the wine-hating Commonwealth of Pennsylvania? Not so much (although we have had a couple Bordeaux…I think that counts.).
  2. Get Posts done a day (or more) ahead of time: Um. No.
  3. Do more interviews: I officially have done exactly one interview, but I have not dedicated the time it will require to get it onto the blog. This week I will get back at it. Swear.
  4. Drink less on New Year’s Eve: Still alive since there has not been another NYE since January, but there is no doubt in my mind that I will fail at this one when December 31st rolls around again.
  5. Drink more Italian wine: Here is what I wrote at the time…

“at the end of 2014 I was drinking a bit more (including three really good Franciacortas) and I plan to delve into more regions other than Tuscany and Piedmont.”


To quote Sebastian, my six-year old son, “Nailed It!”

While I still have a ways to go, there is no doubt that my Italian wine consumption is way, way up from at this point last year, and most of it has been from regions not named Tuscany or Piedmont. (We will ignore the fact that almost all the Italian wines I have consumed thus far–including those listed below–were sent as media samples. I choose to think that is irrelevant.)

With all of that in mind, here a few wines from Sicily (the island off the toe of the boot) and the Dolomites (the Northern mountain region):

Cantadoro-medium2012 Stemmari Cantodoro IGT Sicilia: Retail $18. 80% Nero d’Avola, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon. Inky dark as you would expect from a Nero d’Avola with plum and cassis prominent. On the palate, certainly more old world with a nice balance between fruit and acid, with an anise note mixed in. A bit thin on the finish, but a quaffable wine, at a good price point. Good to Very Good. 85-87 Points.

dalila2012 Stemmari Dalila Sicilia: Retail $14. 80% Grillo, 20% Viognier. Although this is the first time that I have had any Grillo (to my recollection), the Viognier really seems to add quite a bit of aromatics, particularly white flowers and a bit of peach. On the palate, a bit of depth and minerality through the mid-palate with really nice acidity and a solid finish. Very Good. 87-89 Points.

bacivivaci_bott_thumb-632Stemmari Baci Vivaci Sicilia: Retail $10. Mostly Grillo, but I could not find the breakdown (I imagine it changes from bottling to bottling). “Baci Vivaci” means “Lively Kisses” which, frankly, no one is ever going to turn down. Nor should you turn down this wine—it is not going to change your life (i.e., these “lively kisses” are not coming from a future spouse), but they sure are fun. Think Moscato without the cloying sweetness. At $10? I would buy the heck out of this and open it whenever. Great for apéritif, the patio, the beach, appetizers, whatever. Very Good. 86-88 Points.

Stemmari Rosè - MEDIUM2014 Stemmari Rosé Sicilia: Retail $10. 100% Nero d’Avola. Perhaps a bit darker than your average rosé, Expressive nose of red berry fruit, melon, and rose hips. Nice dry rosé on the palate with subtle fruit and vibrant acidity. Surprisingly lingering finish. For ten bucks? I would buy a case and drink it over the course of the summer. Very Good. 87-89 Points.

NOS2007 Mezzacorona Teroldego Rotaliano NOS Riserva: Retail $30 (Teroldego is both the DOC and the grape variety used within). Rather dark in the glass with a mocha/cassis nose. On the palate, certainly old world with prominent acidity and reserved fruit. More expressive on the second day, which suggests that there is still plenty of life left here. A bit thin on the mid-palate, but I nitpick. Very Good. 87-89 Points.

Italian-Rose[1]2014 Mezzacorona Rosé Dolomiti: Retail $10 (100% Lagrein). I do not have a ton of experience with Lagrein, but what I have had, I really enjoyed, so I was really looking forward to this rosé. It did not disappoint. Pale salmon color with a lemony nose and a hint of strawberry, this did not show much fruit initially. On the palate, a decided grapefruit component with some tart red berry fruit. This is not the fruitiest rosé on the planet, but non-fruity rosés need loving too, and if you caress this just a bit, you will be rewarded. Very Good. 86-88 Points.






About the drunken cyclist

I have been an occasional cycling tour guide in Europe for the past 20 years, visiting most of the wine regions of France. Through this "job" I developed a love for wine and the stories that often accompany the pulling of a cork. I live in Houston with my lovely wife and two wonderful sons.
This entry was posted in Grillo, Lagrein, Nero d'Avola, Teroldego, Wine and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Keeping My Resolution–Italian Wines

  1. Fiona says:

    And next year’s resolution should be to … drink more … you guessed it: South African wine …. Umm. Yes. Well 😀


  2. vinoinlove says:

    Great post, Jeff. Glad to see that you’re trying more Italian wine 🙂

    Stemmari is owned by a big winery, Feudo Arancio, which used the Stemmari label to primarily export wine into the US. Even though I haven’t tried any of the Stemmari line-up, I have tried other wines from Feudo Arancio and was not that impressed. I also dislike it when a winery has a new label just for the Oversea’s market.


    • There are a lot of reasons to have a different name for an overseas market–not the least of which is copyright issues. Not sure if that is the reason here, but I know it happens quite a bit.


  3. Oh-la-la – you have been industrious. I want to sitting at your table. Molto bene. Great post – gave me a thirst for Italy. Xo


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