I love Italian wines, if you look back at past posts you probably already know this because I almost never write about anything else, so coming up with something else to say about them is a bit tricky. Italy is one of the oldest sites of winemaking, where the tradition reaches back at least 4000 years. The Greeks were also prolific producers of wine back in the day. They brought their technology with them into Southern Italy when they colonized the area. The Etruscans, who were native in the Italian peninsula, had already been making wine, however their methods were a bit more organic, if you will, than the Greek methods.
The Etruscans liked to let the vines grow wherever they wanted, up the sides of trees, amongst other plants, on a house, while the Greeks liked to be more organized and grow their vines in neat rows, as we still do to this day. This Etruscan method of viniculture actually still was around in Italy until the 1970s, when it was phased out because it was kind of difficult to machine harvest with this method. Since I have already written posts on Italian wine regulations, I will just move right into the fun part, the tasting, starting in the north and working our way down:
- 2015 Innova Socure Classico- A nice deep yellow, semi aromatic wine with notes of citrus, pear, and some floral notes on the nose. It is dry with a bit of sourness and bitterness, in the mouth you get a lot of citrus mostly lemon and lime flavors.
- 2015 Casareggio Barbera d’Asti- Barbera d’Asti is a really great affordable, young and light wine. On my graduate student budget I buy it all the time. THis one is a medium ruby color and semi aromatic with notes of black cherry, earth, and herbs. It is dry and relatively sour for a red, which is balanced by tannins. In the mouth you get a bit more fruit than in the nose and some toasty vanilla flavors from the oak. It is very medium bodied and would lend itself well to any multitude of different meals.
- 2012 Rivera Leone Barbaresco- So you already are aware of my fondness of Northern Italian wines, and this one is no exception. I particularly love Nebbiolo. As you can guess, this was my favorite class by far! These wines have a very rustic feel, expressing more notes of bonfire and leather on the nose than fruit, although there is a bit of cherry and dried fruit there, too. It is very dry and tannic, with more fruit in the mouth than the nose. There are those who would tell you that you need food with this wine because it is so astringent and full, however, I like to just appreciate them on their own sometimes.
- 2008 Fumanelli Amarone della Valpolicella- Sometimes when I talk about how much I love Nebbiolo or Chianti I feel like I am cheating on Amarone, which is my true love. Amarone is intensely fruity, but also very dry. This is because of the ripasso method used to make it where they dry the grape skins after pressing and re-pass the wine over them. This is what makes it soooo good, and also expensive. This wine is no different, deliciously jammy on the nose with notes of red and dried berries, complimented by oak and earth. It is dry with some sourness and bitterness, and is very tannic (though not as much as the Barbaresco), but the dried fruit flavors are the star here.
- 2014 Fontaleoni Vernaccia di San Gimignano- Drinking anything after the last few, especially a white, is a bit sad. Overall, this is a nice crisp white with floral, peach, and apricot notes. It is dry and sour with a bit of bitterness. In the mouth it is more citrus and green apple than in the nose.
- 2014 Badia a Coltibuono Chianti Classico- I tend to gravitate toward Chianti because a. I love it (not as much as Amarone) and b. You can get a really good bottle for a very reasonable price. For example, this one is around $20. THe color of this wine leans more toward garnet, and it is semi-aromatic with typical cherry and strawberry notes. There are also some spices like clove and cinnamon, along with floral rose notes. Dry and sour, balanced by the tannins, in the mouth this wine is very similar to the nose and is really good.
- 2014 Urciuolo Greco di Tufo- Back to a white wine, a more deep yellow in color, this wine smells more ripe than the other Italian whites. It has a bit of funkiness to it, almost like cheese, which is a weird thing to smell in a wine. It is dry and in the mouth has more citrus notes and green apple. A pretty light wine overall.
- 2015 Aragosta Vermentino di Sardegna- A clear yellow with hints of silver in color, it is very aromatic with floral, peach, and pineapple aromas. In the mouth it is dry, a bit sour and bitter, and very similar to the nose with a bit more minerality.
- 2014 Regaleali Nero d’Avola “Lamuri”- This is a DOC wine from Sicily, so it is very ripe and juicy because the climate is so much warmer there. It is kind of purple in color and semi-aromatic. THe nose is full of dark, ripe berries like blackberry and dried fruit and prunes. THere is also a bit of earthiness and spice. It is dry but fruity in the mouth, there are also notes of mineral and earth.