June 5, 2006

Italian Red Roundup

Here's a roundup of the six Italian reds we tried during our blind taste test Sunday night. Strangely, the wines seemed to get better as we went along.
1) 2004 Podere Ruggeri Corsini Barbera D'Alba (Piedmont, Italy. $13.99) It's always hard to review the first bottle at a tasting because we have nothing else to compare it to, but the response to this wine was generally positive. Jonathan called it inoffensive. I thought it was a bit harsh because it hadn't opened up, but found it pleasantly fruity. After it opened it was much nicer. Generally positive reviews for this wine.
This review is from K&L Wines, which lists this Barbera as a "top pick"

"From the husband and wife team of Nicola Argamante and Loredana Addari. Small production and super values! This young red offers a grapey nose, intense and yet delicate offering raspberry and violet notes. On the palate this wine is quite dry, full bodied and with plenty of acidity though tannins are soft and fully integrated. Enjoy with just about any sort of Italian-inspired food!"

2) 2003 Aglianico Beneventano. ($8) I thought this was a nice bottle of wine that would be even better paired with some food. I called it "dirty, earthy and spicy." Marlo tasted mushroom, while Erica called it the "most unfruity wine ever." Christina found it quite nice with the parmesan we served. Anglianico is a big red wine of southern Italy, a wine variety brought by the Greeks to southern Italy over 2,000 years ago. Aglianico is supposedly an up and coming wine among wine lovers.

3) 2003 Castello D'Albola Chianti Classico ($10.99). Finally, we dive into a chianti. I could have sworn No. 2 was a chianti, but alas it was not. Marlo found this wine mineral-ish and slightly bitter. I found it quite simple and straightforward and quite drinkable. Nice fruit; a little spice. Christina found it flat, but nonetheless would toss it back by the pool. Robin said it was mild and "doesn't jump out at me." "Tastes like a wine that wants to open but just can't," John wrote. This Chianti Classico is 95 percent Sangiovese balanced with 5 percent Canaiolo grapes. No Silence of the Lambs jokes, please.

4) The 2002 Lambardi Rosso Di Montalcino I reviewed last night...Generally enjoyed by all.

5) A Cabernet Franc made in Italy. This wine was freaky. I just wrote FUNK in capital letters on my tasting sheet because all I could taste was white pepper, black pepper. Sneeze, sneeze, sneeze HACHOOOOOOO. Robin and Christina really liked this wine's spice. Jim liked it, too. Jonathan said "it smells like grandpa's den." Unfortunately Robin brought the bottle home with her and I forgot to write down this wine's name, so I will update tomorrow. Apologies!

6) Six came in a lovely but oddly-shaped bottle. It's a Travaglini 2000 Gattinara (about $18) made with 100% Nebbiolo grapes grown in Italy's Piedmont region. This was another favorite wine with our group. Marlo said this wine had nice body and tasted like cooked dried fruit. Robin found it sweet and fruity. I found it Zinfandel-ish with lots of plum and berry, while Christina thought it tasted like a pinot. hmmmmm. Here are some other opinions. From the winemaker: Nebbiolo, the outstanding red wine grape of Italy, is deep in color, robust and full-bodied, with rich, deep, complex flavors. An approachable wine, with characteristic aromas of rose and violet, along with cherry. Nicely textured, earthy notes, offering a note of anise, with flavors of plum and berry, and it has a fairly long finish.

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Posted by Blogpire Productions at June 5, 2006 9:55 PM
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