Cantina Firriato 2011 Quater Bianco

Posted in Italian Wine Reviews

This is not the first time we have reviewed a Firriato wine, and it probably won’t be the last. They bring classic Sicilian wines to the American market in a way that makes everyone happy. They use indigenous varietals and focus on classic wine styles. The winery is not technically in Sicily;  it is located on mountainous  island of Favignana, which is part of the Sicily DO. Winemaker Giuseppe Pellegrino has put together a fantastic portfolio of wines since the winery...

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Poggio Scalette 2012 Chianti Classico

Posted in Italian Wine Reviews

The Greve Valley is lined with terraced vineyards. Looking across the valley from this winery, those stone walls can look like a giant scallete (ladder, in Italian).  At least it did for the wineries original owner.  We will never know where he thought that ladder would take him. He disappeared a long time ago and his winery fell to ruin. Only much later, in 1991,  was Poggio Scalette  raised again, by none other than Vittorio Fiore, one of the greatest living winemakers...

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Salviano 2012 Orvieto Classico

Posted in Italian Wine Reviews

Orvieto used to be huge. I still am surprised when younger sommeliers and students don’t recognize the name.  In the 80′s, it was  one of those bottles that white zin lovers could relate to: innocuous, cheap and vaguely sweet. On second thought, maybe it’s good they don’t know about it’s sorted past. Well, it’s history  goes way further back  than that. The wines come from the borderland of Umbria and Lazio in Italy, and they date back to...

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Villa Cafaggio 2006 Cortaccio

Posted in Italian Wine Reviews

This is not my first rodeo with Villa Cafaggio. When I was the national sommelier for Bacchus Selections, I was a huge fan of their Chianti Classico.  It was a great balance of old world style and modern winemaking. Oh, and the label was awesome, too. It’s one of the great values for Tuscan wines under $20.  I bought up all I could. I even let our customers buy some of it.  I know, I am a saint. 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, the Cortaccio is the winery’s Super...

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Coppo 2011 Moncalvina Moscato d’Asti

Posted in Italian Wine Reviews

Moscato has been a popular bubbly for centuries, but the last few years has seen it’s fame skyrocket in America.  It’s one of the best gateway wines: it’s bubbles and grapey sweetness is an easy entry point for new wine drinkers.  This shouldn’t be surprising. Once a generation, wine finds a new audience, and that audience always demands a bit of sweetness. The last time was in 1984, when the most popular wine (with over 11 million bottles sold) was...

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Villa Cafaggio 2010 Chianti Classico

Posted in Italian Wine Reviews, Wine Reviews

The winery dates back as far as the 14th Century. At the time, it was labelled the “Cahago,” the Tuscan term for a walled field. It was bought by the Farkas family in the 1960′s and has gone through consecutive rounds of modernization and revitalization under their care. Four generations tilled the vineyards at this villa. However, the winery was bought in 2006 by La Vis, a winery cooperative. Despite that, quality levels have continued to rise. A tight balance...

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Villa Mora 2007 Sagrantino di Montefalco

Posted in Italian Wine Reviews

With a grape as rare and wonderful as Sagrantino, a wine drinker may want to know a little more about its history. It’s been growing in a corner of Umbria for more than a century. It may have been brought into the region by ancient Greeks millennium ago, or possibly, it was a more modern crossing of a few wild grapes. And that’s the extent of our knowledge today. What we do know is that before 1976, it was used for a passito dessert wine. By the early 80′s...

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Mastroberardino 2007 “Radici” Taurasi

Posted in Italian Wine Reviews

Mastroberardino produces a range of great wines, but it truly excels with its Aglianico bottlings. The grape is an ancient varietal that dates back to antiquity. It’s sometimes cited as being the grape of  falernian, one of the great wines of ancient Rome.  That, however, is just a theory: The Romans didn’t leave any behind for us to test. (If falernian was half as good as Aglianico, I can understand why.) The Radici is the winery’s top bottling from the...

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Petra 2010 “Ebo” Val di Cornia Suvereto

Posted in Italian Wine Reviews

I reviewed the Petra 2008 Ebo a few months ago and came away very impressed.  The Ebo is an underdog in the Super Tuscan category, but outperforms many wines that are twp or three times its price. I needed to see if the 2008 was a fluke. I am happy to report it wasn’t. This vintage of Ebo is mostly Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, with a splash of Sangiovese in the mix. Smoked currant and espresso on the nose, with a lethally awesome blend of lead and chocolate on the...

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