Italian Immersion, Parte Terza

One of my New Year’s Resolutions is to get my samples pile under control. I am still woefully behind, but I am making progress (at least that is what I keep telling myself). For the next few weeks, I am going to delve into what is certainly my second favorite (and is pushing hard for the top spot, look out France) wine-producing county.

2015 Boccadigabbia Tenuta la Floriana Marche IGT, Italy: Retail $35. 100% Montepulciano. Quite dark in the glass with oodles of cassis, blackberry, spice (clove), and a bit of heat (15% ABV). Not surprisingly, the palate is also quite dark. And fruity. And big. And fruity. Wait, I already said that (but it is worth repeating). I wonder if this wine is made with the American palate in mind since, well, it is big and fruity (oops, there I go again). There are also some significant tannins to deal with on the finish, so be sure to have a fairly big ribeye on hand for this one. Excellent. 90 Points.

2016 Fornacelle Bolgheri Superiore Guarda Boschi, Italy: Retail $45. 40% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Cabernet Franc. A “classic” blend from Bolgheri. Giddy-up. Dark in the glass with some lovely red fruit aspects. While this was certainly tasteful on Day One, it was not until the second 24-hour period that this wine began to sing. Oodles of dark fruit, mocha, and tobacco leaf, this nose seems to go for days. Fruity, as one would expect, but also tart and nuanced. This wine took a while to get there, but whoa. Flawed.

2015 Cantina Fratelli Pardi Sagrantino di Montefalco Sacrantino, Italy: Retail $45. 100% Sagrantino. Big Ass Bottle. Sagrantino is notorious for needing quite a bit of time in the bottle to settle down and be drinkable, which is why, I assume, this 2015 is the current release. Really dark in the glass in both color and aromas with blackberry, plum, and dark cherry on the fruit front along with spice and vanilla. The palate is big and bold with considerable acidity and some chewy tannins on the backend. Tasty even though not my style of wine. Excellent. 92 Points.

2018 Inama Soave Classico Vigneti di Foscarino, Italy: Retail $24. 100% Garganega. When it comes to Soave, my heart really beats to the Anselmo drum, but Inama is a close second. And this Foscarino has to be my favorite (of those that I have tried). Medium straw in the glass with plenty of melon and grapefruit on the nose. Yum. The palate starts off as slightly round, but quickly morphs into tart and angular. Whoa? That was a bit of a surprise since my experience with the region and variety is usually centered on richness and full-bodied. This is certainly a departure from that paradigm, but I really dig it (California term). Excellent. 92 Points.

2017 Monchiero Barolo Rocche di Castiglione, Italy: Retail $50. 100% Nebbiolo. As with most Barolos, this is on the light side in the glass with subtle fruit (black cherry), black pepper, and a bit of spice. The palate is also on the lighter side, but there is a zingy acidity and hints of tobacco, black licorice. As I said, this is on the light side, but it still has those defining characteristics that make Barolo one of the more coveted wines in Italy. Excellent. 90 Points.

2019 Muralia Maremma Toscana Chiaraluna, Italy: Retail $24. 100% Viognier. Nomacorc closure (ugh). We do not drink a ton of Viognier for the sole fact that my wife is not a fan, and that is certainly the case here. While she found it “too herbal and floral” I found it particularly delightful and not overly “Viognier-y.” Light in color with plenty of aromatics, particularly citrus and tropical fruit, along with acacia flower and an intense beeswax. Yum. The palate is equally fascinating with more than ample acidity, plenty of fruit, and that beeswax element which is particularly compelling. Yum. Excellent. 91 Points.

2016 Pietroso Brunello di Montalcino, Italy: Retail $80. 100% Sangiovese. While it is true that I drink far more Barolo than Brunello, I still have had my fair share (or close to it) of the wines from the top appellation in Italy for Sangiovese. Upon opening, this wine was rather shy, with virtually no bouquet and a rather listless palate. After only an hour or so, the situation changed rather dramatically with plenty of red and black fruit (along with cinnamon and other spices). The palate really perks up as well with a rich, but balanced mouthfeel, with lovely fruit and tartness. There are some tannins on the finish, but they are far from harsh. Still, this could benefit from some additional cellar time. Excellent. 92 Points.

2017 Il Colombaio Di Santachiara Vernaccia di San Gimignano Riserva Albereta, Italy: Retail $25. 100% Vernaccia di San Gimignano. I have only been to San Gimignano once, but it was fairly memorable, largely due to the wines. And this is fantastic regardless of the fond memories that it evokes. A solid straw (even on the verge of golden) with great fruit in the glass, with loads of citrus, peach, and pear. The palate is even more expressive with all that fruit, a zingy tartness, and a lengthy finish. Holy cow, this is really good. Outstanding. 93 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 Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Garganega, Merlot, Montepulciano, Nebbiolo, Sagrantino, Sangiovese, Vernaccia di San Gimignano, Viognier, Wine and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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