There is much more to Italy than super-tuscans. Last week, I had the opportunity to try a number of excellent wines from lesser known regions of the grand boot which were all (shockingly) ready to drink. Here are four of my favorites that are available at the SAQ.
Barbaresco 2000, Ceretto ($46..saq)
I have been looking for a classic Barbaresco for awhile now and this is it. The antithesis of ‘Rollandesque’ modernity, the texture is fluid, almost watery but what length, what persistence. Typical of a traditional treatment of Nebbiolo, it has a soft, almost orange tint, a spicy and mineral nose with hints of truffle and leather. Nebbiolo with a couple of years under it’s belt is by far the best food wine outside of Burgundy. Will do wonders with an Osso Bucco and everything a la fungi.
Venezia-Giullia 1999, Igt, Carantan, Marco Felluga ($53…saq)
A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot harkened memories of great Pomerol but perhaps a touch riper. Soft and round with silky tannins, the Merlot seemed to dominate the mix with characteristic plum, hints of wet earth and a licorice, anise finish. Very ready to drink, it will shock the Bordeaux crowd by it’s finesse and elegance. Outstanding wine.
Colli-di-Salerno 2001, Igt, Montevetrano, Sylvia Imparato ($97…saq)
Considered one of the rising stars of the Campania, Ms. Imparato uses Cabernet, merlot and local grape Aglianico to unique perfection. More modern in style with dark fruits and oak as it’s centerpiece, the Montevetrano is a study in power and finesse. Underlying notes of moka and torrefaction add depth to the ripe fruit and vanilla notes. Got something wild planned, this would be deadly with lamb or deer.
Morellino-di-Scansano 1999, Igt, Riserva, Moris Farms ($41…saq)
This little known Tuscan winemaking region denotes itself with it’s use of Syrah alongside Sangiovese and Cabernet. With 90% Sangiovese, it reminded me more of a ripe Vino Nobile than Chianti, with ripe cherries and plums dominating the more typical leathery, tobacco notes. Exceptional length, a neat little twist were the rosemary and red peppercorn notes on the finish Completely integrated tannins and with a slight orange tint, this is a mature wine that is ready to compliment the Christmas turkey. Drink now and enjoy the rare opportunity to drink a wine at it’s apogee.