Thursday, February 14, 2013


RECENTLY SOMEONE asked me if I knew of any good red Italian wines that are available here in the U.S. So many great Italian wines popped into my mind that I was tongue-tied. Here are details on a few:
Angelini Az Agricola Sangiovese, $25
Bottled in San Lorenzo in Campo, Marche, Italy, this elegant wine reminds me of deep California reds. It does not have the signature sweetness of many California reds, but it does have ripe, full fruit and tannins that have been developed to a leathery, earthy fullness. Serve it with a hunk of beef or a plate of lasagna.
Marchesi Antinori 2010 Bolgheri Tenuta Guado Al Tasso Il Bruciato, $23
This blend of cab, merlot and syrah from Tuscany is a perfect representation of the Italian wine tradition. It's bright and fruit-forward due to just 8 months in oak. It's so light that it works well with rich hors d'oeuvres, or comfort foods like macaroni and cheese or fettucini alfredo.
Beni Di Batasiolo Dolcetto D'Alba 2010, $15
If you love intense wine with a big hit of natural, grapeskin tannins, this affordable estate wine from Alba is a really fun pick. It's really deep red in color, and likey one of the best non-aged, new wines you will ever have.
JUST IN CASE you can't find the Italian reds mentioned above, here are two of my new favorites from another great wine region on the other side of the world: Chile.
Primus 2010 The Blend, $11
If you're looking for a gorgeous red at a good price, find the rack devoted to wines from Chile. This red from Colchagua Valley puts all that I love about my favorite red wines into a single bottle. It's 39 percent cab, 28 percent carmenere, 23 percent syrah and 10 percent merlot. It's produced and bottled by Veramonte.
Ritual 2011 Pinot Noir, $17
I am partial to all red wines, but I have to admit that I am not always in the mood for the crazy funk of a pinot. I appreciate it, but I am way more fond of this Chilean version that is cleaner, more crisp and yet still a pinot. The wine comes from the Casablanca Valley.

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