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Antinori Peppoli Chianti Classico 2003 DOCG
90% Sangiovese and 10% Merlot and Syrah make up this single vineyard Chianti Classico from Tuscany, Italy. Very dark ruby in color with a medium body, it gives off aromas of cherries, herbs, cloves, black pepper, and funky soil. So far so good... but this is where the fun stops. On the palate are sour cherries and a slight oak on the tip of the tongue, and a dry bitter medicinal finish that thankfully doesn't last all that long. It's just as well... I'm not crazy about this wine. It's in the low $20-25 and I can think of quite a few tastier reds in the $10 range.

Arnaldo-Caprai Sagrantino Di Montefalco 2003 DOCG
From Umbria, smack in the middle of Italy, comes this wonderful Arnaldo-Caprai Sagrantino Di Montefalco 2003 DOCG "Venticinque Anni". It is made with 100% Sagrantino grapes that as far as I know only grow in Montefalco; after vinification it is then stored in French oak for 24 months and another 8 months in the bottle. It's colors are on the purple side of a deep ruby red with aromas of black fruits, spices, plums, and truffles. On the palate there is an earthy silkiness, that is unexpected from such a powerful wine (the high alcohol content is 14.5%). The tannins are well structured and the finish is long thanks to the vanilla influence of the oak. A big tasting "thank you" goes out to Gary.

Badia a Coltibuono Chianti Classico Riserva 2000 DOCG
This dry red wine from Gaiole in Chianti is medium weight with ruby color, 90% Sangiovese 10% Canaiolo is aged in oak casks for 2 years and bottle for 1 year. On the nose first there's smoke with what seems like well... beef, and on the palate is mushrooms and cherries. This is a really nice Chianti Classico.

Baglio Curatolo Villa Tonino 2003 Nero D'Avola IGT
color: deep purple rose; nose: chocolate, cherry, pepsi, red licorice candy, oak, smoke ; palate: berries, blueberry, strawberry, cherries. Good wine, takes a while to open up, maybe decant this for an hour or two... Colosi is still my favorite Nero D'Avola in the below $20 price range. (see Jan 14, 2008 post) Paired well with homemade mushroom ravioli at Basilico on 9th avenue and 47th street, nyc

Banfi Chianti Classico 2005 DOCG
This Chianti Classico from Banfi is made from sangiovese grapes, has dark ruby color with medium weight, with a nose of dark fruits, cherries, plums, earth/leather and violets. Palate: cherries, tobacco & wood. Great with red sauces but I had it with a porterhouse steak. Let this wine open for a few hours and you'll get the optimum value of this $16 bargain. Also pairs well with Pavaroti singing Nessun Dorma from Puccini's Turandot.

Banfi CollePino Sangiovese & Merlot 2005 IGT
From Montalcino comes this Tuscan red, a blend of Sangiovese & Merlot and nice every day red wine. At $8 a bottle Banfi succeeds in producing a full-bodied inexpensive red with the character of some of it's older brothers from the region. Ruby red colors with earthy aromas, deep red fruits and a tiny hint of oak from the 2 month of aging in French oak barrels. This went very well with a simple pasta marinara with grated ricotta & pecorino cheese.

Barbera del Monferrato Pais 2005 Colle Manora
This is such a great bottle of wine from the Piemonte region of Italy. It comes on strong with a nose of violets, mushrooms, barnyard and musk and quickly ratchets up on the palate with concentrated black cherries. Displays an intense silky finish and simply the best wine I've had in a while. I discovered this wine at InVino.

Barbi Brunello di Montalcino 2003 DOCG (Fattoria dei Barbi)
Made from 100% Sangiovese grapes, this Brunello has a really interesting mix of aroma vs. palate. At first the nose reveals roasted meats, toast and ripe concentrated stewed prunes. Then you taste the intense ripe cherries, plums and spices and then a bit later chocolate, more spices and black pepper. 14% alcohol and $51 at WRFH.

Bertani Amarone Della Valpolicella 1999 DOC Italy
This is an Amarone from Veneto where the best grapes (70% Corvino Veronese, 25% Rondinella, 5% Molinara) are picked with the highest sugar content, laid on racks in dry lofts for about 4 months where they lose 60% of their water content. Concentrated as it is, here it is exposed to Noble Rot, then store in Slavonian casks for from 5 to 8 years and in bottle for 1 year.
Color is garnet/brick, aromas of cherries, leather, licorice, dried fruits, spices and raw meat. On the palate are raisins, dried raspberries, earth, mushrooms, black pepper and dried roses. It is full bodied with a smooth nutty finish that lingers nicely. (Thanks Jake!)
This is an expensive bottle of wine, around $100 if you can find it, but on a special occasion I say go for it!

Boscaini Marano Valpolicella Classico Superiore 2000
This red wine from Veneto is a Valpolicella with light weight and a pale ruby color. On the nose is a fragrant cherry with mild glycerine aromas and on the palate waves of ripe fruit. It finishes with a silkiness that leaves me with a feeling of balance and maturity. It has a very mild alcohol content of 12% and it's in the $14 range. This is a good wine to pair with pastas, pork or poultry and is an excellent value.

Cantele Salice Salentino Riserva 2003 DOC
This 85% Negroamaro 15% Malvasia Nera red wine blend from the Puglia region of Italy is ruby colored with aromatic hints of tobacco and spice and slightly bitter flavors of cherry and cedar. From The Wine Room of Forest Hills.

Cantina Di Casteggio Oltrepo Pavese Barbera 2005 DOC
Italy This medium weight ruby colored 100% Barbera is unoaked, so there's no wood influence, allowing a nose of pure mild red fruits, a palate of sour cherries, spice, white pepper, and a mix of fragrant herbs. After an hour of decanting the finish was smooth and fleeting, but after 4 hours the finish stretched out nicely. The mild tannins would hold up well to a pork or veal dish, or even barbecue. We are in the $12 range. A really nice wine from The Wine Room

Casal Thaulero Montepulciano D'Abruzzo 2006 DOC Italy
This Casal Thaulero Montepulciano D'Abruzzo 2006 red wine from Abruzzo is a nice 100% Montepulciano, ruby red in color, very dry, soft aromas with notes of sour berries. A nice deal in the $8 range, it has 12.5% alcohol.

Castello Banfi Col Di Sasso Cabernet Sauvignon Sangiovese 2006 IGT
First of all let me say that I love Italian wines. This one was drinkable, but not one of my favorites. I tried it last night after an hour of decanting, then again a day later. The color is a deep ruby, but on the purple side, medium to heavy weight. On the nose is a sort of cherry/gasoline and alcohol, and the palate has a mineral aftertaste. It reminds me of a homemade wine or one that Italy produced before the Old World Wine Renaissance. I guess I expected better after enjoying the 2005 Banfi Chianti Classico so much (See February 22, 2008 post). This one was about $10 but I can't really recommend it.

Colimoro Montepulciano D'Abruzzo 2006 DOC
This Montepulciano D'Abruzzo red wine is aged in Oak for 6 months, medium to light weight, color: cherry red, nose: chocolate, orange/citrus undertone, mouth: sour cherry, earthy, musky, silky finish, opens well. Pairs well with a pasta with mushroom sauce. Tried this one in an Italian Restaurant and it was about $30, so I imagine it can be bought in a wine shop for bet $10-15.

Colle Sori Montepulciano D'Abruzzo 2005 DOC
This is a red Montepulciano D'Abruzzo from the Abruzzo region of Southern Italy, where proud, hard working people work the land to produce a great value in an every day wine. This wine has colors of deep ruby with hints of purple and is somewhat reminiscent of a Morellino Di Scansano. Aromas of blackberries waft before a simple palate with lower acidity and soft tannins. Believe it or not this wine can be had for about $6 or $7.

Colosi Sicilia Rosso Nero D'Avola 2005 IGT
Colosi 2005 Sicilia Rosso is a dry red wine made from the nero d'avola grape from sicily... has a dark ruby red color, black cherry, black plum, strawberries, cassis & a smoky earthy aroma. Smooth silky finish. Great with pasta, pizza, cheeses & meats. A 750 ML bottle can be had for about 10 bucks, but it tastes like it's more like a $25.

Coltibuono Chianti Classico 2005 DOCG
This dry red Chianti Classico is a cooperative effort from a few different local producers in Gaiole In Chianti. The vinification process is done separately by each of the producers, and then aged in French oak barriques, then followed by further aging in the bottle. Right now I'm letting it decant for a few hours. Ok, I'm back... the first I thing noticed on the nose was a waft of a deep woodsy aroma, and plum. The color is a deep ruby/cranberry and is a medium weight: on the palate there is sour cherry, leather, and tobacco. This one is around $19.

Corvo Red Wine 2004 IGT Sicily Italy
This red wine from Sicily is made mainly from 70% Nero D'avola, 15% Perricone, and 15% Nerello Mascalese. The nose is a cherry but with a background aroma of horse manure. The flavors are also primarily cherry, but with a dusty, chalky, musky vinegar aftertaste. I'll have to pass on this one. I usually like Nero D'avolas so I was a little surprised by this one although it may be the blending grapes that don't appeal to me.

DaVinci Collezione Speciale Toscana Chianti 2004 DOCG Italy
This clean deep ruby red Sangiovese Chianti has aromas of ripe fresh fruits and flavors of cherry, tangy strawberry and plums. A very good deal for $11. And in case you didn't know, Davinci is made by Gallo. Wine Spectator gave this wine 86 points. I went back and had a glass the following day and have to say this wine opened beautifully, so I'll change that to a great deal for the price.

Del Cerro Vino Nobile di Montepulciano 2004 DOCG
This 2004 DOCG from Montepulciano, Tuscany, Italy is made from 80% Prugnolo Gentile (a Sangiovese clone) and a 20% blend of Canaiolo Nero and Mammolo. 80% of the grapes are aged for two years in Slavonian oak and 20% in French oak. On the nose is cherry, oak, rose and vanilla and on the palate black cherries with moderate tannins and a smooth medium finish. In the $20 neighborhood, this is a good vintage to drink now but you can also cellar it for a few years. This winner can be found at The Wine Room.

Dolcetto d'Alba De Forville 2006 Piedmont Italy
Sat at the bar at Market Table in the village on Carmine street and Bedford. This Dolcetto d'Alba, has aromas of cherries sour fruit, medium weight with dark ruby color. It has a palate of chocolate, spices, herbs and medium tannins, with a bitter finish. It wasn't one of my favorites, a little too tight and on the sour side. Wine was paired with an Italian cows milk cheese called Taleggio with dried figs in balsamic vinegar. A sharper aged cheese might have worked better.

Ettore Galasso Vittoriale Montepulciano D'Abruzzo 1997 DOC
I couldn't believe I found this beautiful red Montepulciano from the 1997 Italian vintage still in circulation. But one of my favorite wine shops (The Wine Room of Forest Hills) just recently got some in and had it on sale for about $20. The color is deep dark ruby with warmer tones around the outer rim... starting with rich aromas of ripe red fruits and bing cherries the flavors evoke cinnamon spices and a fresh acidity while leaving the palate with soft tannins and a beautiful balance. The velvety soft finish brings me back to my favorite childhood candy: Pine Brothers (they were advertised as cough drops but were candy to me) with a glycerine cherry flavor... boy, I loved them as a kid, I can remember eating them one after another.

Falangina Dei Feudi Di San Gregorio 2006
A dry white wine from the Campania region of Italy, 100% Falanghina grapes are soft-pressed to release only the first free run of the must, then fermented in stainless steel for 28 days. Color is pale but on the green side of gold. There are aromas of flowers with complex flavors of peaches and apples, a nice acid tannins balance and a mineral citrus finish. 12.9% alcohol, priced around $15. Sampled at Rosetta Wines.

Fattoria Del Cerro Vino Nobile di Montepulciano 2004 DOCG
This 2004 DOCG from Montepulciano, Tuscany, Italy is made from 80% Prugnolo Gentile (a Sangiovese clone) and a 20% blend of Canaiolo Nero and Mammolo. 80% of the grapes are aged for two years in Slavonian oak and 20% in French oak. On the nose is cherry, oak, rose and vanilla and on the palate black cherries with moderate tannins and a smooth medium finish. In the $20 neighborhood, this is a good vintage to drink now but you can also cellar it for a few years. This winner can be found at The Wine Room.

Fattoria dei Barbi Toscana Brusco dei Barbi 2006 IGT
Fattoria dei Barbi uses a patented technique of fermentation developed by Giovanni Colombini to make this Sangiovese Tuscan red wine. The process involves the extensive soaking of the grapes with their pomace which results in an intensity of flavors, softness, color, and complexity.

The initial fermentation lasts 10 days, transforming the sugars to alcohol. Then the stainless steel vats are sealed, the temperature dropped and the wine left in contact with the skins, continuing to ferment slowly. After three months the skins are then removed and the wine remains in the stainless steel vats until bottling.

The color of this wine is a ruby red with aromas of raspberries and spices while on the palate are earthy autumnal tones of underbrush. There is a smoothness in the tannins and a good balance overall with a finish that's full circle back to red berries. 13.25% alcohol and $13.99 at The Wine Room of Forest Hills.

Fattoria di Bibbiani Poggio Vignoso Chianti 2005 DOCG Italy
Fattoria di Bibbiani Poggio Vignoso Chianti 2005. This red wine from Bibbiani is made from 85% Sangiovese, 10% Canaiolo and 5% Malvasia. Nice clean clear ruby color with typical Chianti aromas of cherry and earth with flavors of intense cherry and flowers. Being in the $10 price range, this wine is a really good everyday wine.

Firriato Chiaramonte Nero D'Avola 2005
Nero D'Avola, the most important grape in Sicily, typically exudes exotic flavors and aromas... well, this one delivers in spades. The first thing I notice is that this 100% Nero D'Avola is ready to drink without decanting and has a flavor profile reminiscent of a much higher priced wine. It is full bodied, with a deep opaque purple color, and a bouquet of very ripe plums and spices. The tannins and acids are nearly perfectly balanced to leave you with a silky finish that lingers on the tongue. The grapes are hand picked, partially maturated in barriques for 7 months, and aged another 6 months in oak barriques, with an alcohol content of 14%. I have to admit this is my new favorite Nero D'Avola (Colosi is now my #2, but to be fair it's a lot less expensive). We had this by the bottle for $36 at In Vino Wine Bar, but it can be found retail for about $20, a bargain in any case. It paired well with a 3-mushroom ravioli in a cream sauce and a Lasagna, but would also go well with roasted pork, game or steak. Best to drink with good friends or family.

Forte Canto Negroamaro Salento Rosso 2005 IGT tast...
This dark red wine from Monteroni di Lecce in Puglia was my first taste of a Negroamaro, which means "black bitter". I was caught by surprise (knowing it never touched wood) at how intensely flavorful this was. It's made from 100% Negroamaro grapes and grown in a red clay, sandstone and limestone soil, macerated in stainless steel vats on skins for 12 days, then straight to the bottle for 3 months. Again, it's not barreled and it's unfiltered, which really gives it weight. On the nose & palate are cola, blackberry, cherry pie and ripe plum. I'd decant this for at least an hour to get the full blast. This retails for about $14 and is well worth it.

Fourplay Rosso 2005 Sicily ItalyItaly
This dry red wine from Sicily is 25% Frapatto Nero, 25% Nerello Cappuciccio, 25% Nerella Mascalese and 25% Nero D'avola. Color is ruby red with medium to heavy weight and on the nose is soft cherry and a fruity chocolate. The palate has a complex, spicy smoothness with slight sour notes on the back of the mouth

Galarej Barolo 2004 DOCG
This Barolo is made from 100% Nebbiolo grapes with colors of deep garnet and a nose of cherries, raspberries, herbs and spice. There's a full, rich, ripe palate of dark berries and leather, along with a warm, smooth finish that reverberates an earthiness. 13.5% alcohol content and $45 at The Wine Room of Forest Hills.

Gran Sasso Montepulciano D'Abruzzo Colline Teramane 2004 DOCG
To me many of the Montepulciano D'Abruzzo around today are are usually in the blander category of red wines, so to find one with full-body like this at such a great value is a pleasure. Something this wine has going for it is the vintage... 2004 which was a very good year in Italy. There's a lot going on here, a rich wine with deep ruby colors, a fragrant herbal nose, rich ripe concentrated berries, dark fresh ripe fruit, oak, vanilla and spice. On the palate you'll find a creamy ribbon of preserved fruit/jam flavor and chewy dark berries. There is a nice balance of acidity and texture, ripe tannins and a long supple finish. Alcohol by volume is 13.5%. Found this beauty at The Wine Room of Forest Hills.

La Montecchia Fior D'arancio Vino Spumanti Dolce Colle Eugenei DOC 2007
From the Colli Eugenei D.O.C. in the Veneto region of Italy and made from 100% Orange Moscato grapes, this sweet sparkling Spumante floats on floral notes and gives the essences of citrus and pears.

Luigi Cecchi & Figli Bonizio Sangiovese Di Maremma IGT 2005
This dry red Sangiovese from Maremma in southern Tuscany brings an earthiness, a fistful of fertile soil, and a primordial essence of the region to the nose of the wine drinker. There are also hints of leather, black fruits and a palate of ripe cherries with full flavor and a good acidity. Opens nicely to become a really good everyday wine with a Chianti attitude in the $10 range from The Wine Room of Forest Hills. Paired nicely with a panini with portobello mushroom, avocado and melted chimay cheese and a side of cucumber vinaigrette.

Luigi Giusti Lacrima Di Morro D'Alba 2004 DOC
This gem from Le Marche region of Italy is a deep ruby with tones of purple and a medium to medium-heavy weight. The ancient Lacrima grape gives this red dry wine a floral bouquet rich in violets or lavender and hints of vanilla. On the palate there is a flow of red fruits, soft and silky tannins and mild acidity. Works well with garlic chicken and asparagus and for the $16 price tag this is a great value. Recommended to me by The Wine Room.

Lungarotti San Giorgio Rosso Umbria 2001 IGT
This could be classified as a SuperUmbrian and made from 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Sangiovese and 10% Canaiolo, aged in barrique for 1 year, 3 years in bottle and unfiltered.

Deep purple in color and opaque with full body and a syrupy texture, this red shows an enticing bouquet of licorice, tobacco, smoke, black cherries and violets.

As it opens flavors emerge ranging from spices to plums, to vanilla, to menthol, to chocolate, to white pepper, to cassis. All this contributes to a very complex style, intensifying with strong tannins but nicely balanced, while morphing into a REALLY long finish with black cherries going on forever.

Not sure on price, this bottle was a gift, but I think it's in the $50 range.

Marchesi Di Barolo Sarmassa 2000 DOCG Italy
This Sarmassa single vineyard uses 100 % hand picked Nebbiolo grapes to make this Barolo aged in Slavonian oak. Color is garnet red, aroma is sour cherry, violets, licorice and slight vegetal notes. Palate is complex... sour cherry and plum, with concentrated raisin and a long finish.

Marchesi de Frescobaldi Riserva Castello di Nipozzano Chianti Rufina 2004 DOCG Italy
The grapes are 90% Sangiovese with the remainder a mix of Malvasia nera, Colorino, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon from one of the original Chianti regions, Rufina. Dark ruby color, 13% alcohol, not very intense on the nose but aromas are cherry and leather with slight tannins and good acidity and spices. The Frescobaldi family has been around since the 11th century and the story goes Michelangelo exchanged paintings for wine. Pairs well with roasted meats and aged cheeses. This red wine is #57 on the Wine Spectator's Top 100 list for 2007 and received a 91 rating for the 2004 vintage ... that being said, a $15-20 price tag is not a bad deal at all.

Monte Antico Toscano 2004 IGT
This red wine by Italian wine specialist Neil Empson and winemaker Franco Bernabei is made from 85% Sangiovese, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Merlot. Aged in oak barrels for a year and in bottle for 6 months, this ruby red medium weight wine is 12.5% alcohol, on the nose are black cherry, chocolate, spice, earth, leather and plums. It's well balanced and on the palate are spice and cherries. This wine is a great deal at about $10.

Norie Negroamaro Salento 2005 IGT
From the Puglia region of Italy comes this full bodied 100% Negroamaro with deep heavy purple colors painted on a canvas of smokey aromas and heavily textured bittersweet chocolate. All topped with a warm syrup of black cherries and a bitter but pleasant finish. Had this by the glass at In Vino.

Palazzo Della Torre Allegrini IGT 2003
This is a blend from Verona consisting of 70% Corvina Veronese, 25% Rondinella and 5% Sangiovese. Color is ruby red, medium to heavy body. Nose: Black currant, alcohol, lemon rind, grapefruit. Bing cherries on the Palate. Finish: Fresh cut wood on back of tongue. Ripasso style: 70% of grapes are vinified and 30% is left to dry for 4 months, then vinified and refermented with the first batch, to get a more rounded wine. (Also known as Baby Amarone because of the Ripasso style vinification.)

This wine was on the Top 100 Wine Spectator list for 5 years in a row ( I believe 2000-2005) and it's well worth the $16 price tag.

Planeta Nero d'Avola La Segreta 2005 Sicily Italy
This purple/ruby medium weight red wine from Sicily has a unique freshness. The blend is mostly Nero d'Avola with Merlot and Syrah. There are aromas that jump out at you like raspberry, green olives with notes of prunes and toasted cocoa. It has fresh tannins and even acidity.

Rocca Delle Macie Campomaccione Morellino Di Scansano DOC 2006
Blend is 90% Sangiovese, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Merlot. Rocca Delle Macie Campomaccione Morellino Di Scansano DOC 2006 is a ruby red, dry, full-bodied wine from Tuscany with ripe red fruit and chocolate on the nose, and a fresh smooth palate with a good finish. 13% alcohol and $7.99.

Rocca Delle Macie Chianti Classico DOCG 2004
Rocca Delle Macie Chianti Classico is made from 90% Sangiovese, 5% Merlot, and 5% Canaiolo, the grapes for this Chianti Classico are selected and picked by hand. The must undergoes maceration over the grape skins for 12-14 days. Following the alcoholic and malolactic fermentation, the wine is then aged in Slavonian or French oak barrels for a period of 6 to 10 months and refined further in the bottle for about one month. It is full bodied, warm robust with flavors of cherries and a nose of spice, jam and wood. 13.5% alcohol. Picked up a half bottle (375 ML) for about $7.99 at The Wine Room. What a great little bottle of wine.

Rocca Delle Macie Roccato 1997 IGT Supertuscan Italy
Rocca Delle Macie was started by Italian film star Italo Zingarelli, and is now run by his son Sergio. Their attention to quality and detail put them at the forefront of Italian wines. This dry red Super Tuscan Italian wine is made from 50% Cabernet Sauvignon and 50% Sangiovese Rosso. They're barriqued separately, the Cabernet for 15 months and the Sangiovese for 12 months. Then put into 3000 litre French oak barrels for three months and finally in bottle for 1 year. It is a full bodied deep garnet ink color, almost opaque after 11 years. There is an earthy elegance on the nose with oak, and toast from so much time in those barriques. On the palate are currants, minerals, even tannins and a nice long finish. This vintage was one of the best in 100 years in Italy. Wine Spectator gave this a 97. This wine really, really made my day.

Rocca delle Macie Rubizzo Sangiovese di Toscana 2006 IGT
This dry red wine from Rocca delle Macie is made from 95% sangiovese and 5% merlot grapes from Chianti Colli Senesi. I remember the region from my trip... the soil was turned after the harvest and was very chalky. Wine has a ruby red color, intense nose (reminds me of an Amarone) from what must be really ripe grapes... palate has sour cherry, berries, even a slight orange zest. Paired nicely with an Organic Blue Cheese from Union Square Market. Also will pair well with pastas and spicy foods. I believe this one was $11. Found this one at The Wine Room in Forest Hills.

Rubesco Rosso Di Torgiano DOC Lungarotti 2004
Made from 70% Sangiovese and 30% Canaiolo, the blend that is classically indigenous to the Umbrian region, this ruby red wine (from the fantastic 2004 vintage) is aged in oak for 10-12 months and in bottle for another 12. The bouquet starts with red fruits and an earthy/mushroom undertone that opens up with violets and oak. There are cherries on the palate with black fruit, medium tannins and is really a well balanced every day wine. This wine paired wonderfully with, of all things, a Cuban sandwich, but would also go well with a roast, cheese or in a red sauce (to give it a little kick). The good people at The Wine Room introduced me to this wine and also suggested pairing it with pizza. It is 12.5% alcohol and goes for around $15. This one is a hit!

Ruffino Modus 2005 IGT
From Toscana and made from a blend of 50% Sangiovese, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon and 25% Merlot, this well balanced red wine has garnet tones, aromas of raspberries, blackberries and plums, and beautiful velvet tannins accented by flavors of vanilla and a subtle smokiness. In the $23 range retail, contains 13.5% alcohol and is a very fine wine for the money.

Sartori di Verona Pinot Noir 2006 IGT
This 100% Pinot Noir from Sartori di Verona, Provincia di Pavia is a deep ruby with a bluish tint, aromas of bing cherries, chocolate and spices spring from a Venetian fountain of cherry vanilla gelato. With a good bright finish, and painted with a palate of berries, this Pinot has fine mouthwatering tannins.

Winemaker's notes:

Area of production: Provincia di Pavia

Vinification: Soft pressing of the grapes is followed by a vinification for 12 to 15 days. Fermentation at controlled temperatures in small capacity tanks is followed by oak aging for approximately 12 month

Characteristics: Bright ruby color with violet reflexions; alluring bouquet with black cherry jam, cloves, and chocolate accompanied by spice notes and vanilla. Elegant balance and roundness of the various components in the mouth, enhanced by good acidity. Light almond notes on the finish and good length.

Food Matchings: Ideal with roast lamb, grilled salmon, and poultry dishes

Sella Mosca Marchese Di Villamarina 2000 Alghero
This estate bottled red wine from the Alghero region of northwestern Sardinia is made with 100% Cabernet Sauvignon grapes and aged in small Troncais oak barriques, then in traditional casks for over 4 years. Color is ruby red with a palate that is full and complex. The deep berry aromas are intense but even, along with an earthy cherry and toasted oak. The long soft finish is like herbs on a warm breeze. This wine is outstanding! Tasting was done at Accademia di Vino on 63rd st & 3rd Ave, NYC.

Squinzano Negroamaro Vinicola Resta 2004 DOC
Squinzano Negroamaro Vinicola Resta 2004 DOC
A great litle wine bar/restaurant called InVino, on the lower east side, is where I tried this red wine from Apuglia, (the heel of the boot) Italy. Some of the grapes come from the territory of Squinzano, and Novoli (Lecce) and some from the territory of San Pietro Vernotico and Torchiarolo (Brindisi). Soil composition: sandy and clay: 95% Negroamaro, 5% Black Malvasia from Brindisi and from Lecce. Vinification: in stainless steel containers. Aging: in oak barrels. Color: Deep purple/red. Aroma: complex with lingering blackberry jam, cola and a hint of barnyard. Palate: balanced, velvety, harmonious, cherry, fruity and mild licorice. Good structure, fine tannins. Really delicious wine with a long finish. Works well with red meats.

"I like those gritty, dirty, earthy southern wines..." growled Angus, one of the owners of InVino, after a swig of this wine.

I had this wine by the glass, so I'm not sure what a bottle would go for retail... but I'll check... OK, found it for $15, that's not bad at all.

Straccali Sangiovese Di Toscana 2004 IGT
This Straccali Sangiovese Di Toscana 2004 IGT is a 100% Sangiovese red wine made from grapes from various locations in Tuscany, Italy. There's barnyard on the nose with black cherry and oak with cinnamon, and mild flavors of fruit and good balance. This is an inexpensive, but decent everyday wine, I believe it was $6.

Tenuta Greppone Mazzi Brunello Di Montalcino Riserva 1999 DOCG
This vintage was one of the best of the 90's decade (a close second behind 1997, the best in 100 years) in all of Italy. After fermentation it was aged in oak for over 40 months and in bottle for at least another eight. The Brunello grape is a close relative of the Sangiovese and the color is a deep ruby red with 14% alcohol. This is a big wine with full body and intense earthy aromas of herbs, tree bark, vanilla and figs. On the palate there are deep dark black fruits, licorice and husky but balanced tannins with a long nutty finish. A beautiful wine like this should be savored and that's exactly what I'm doing.

Tenuta Mormoraia Chianti Colli Senesi 2006 DOCG
San Gimignano is an old walled city in Tuscany that I was lucky enough to visit during my cycling trip in 2006. Here is a beautiful red wine from that region called Tenuta Mormoraia Chianti Colli Senesi 2006 DOCG. Grown in the clayey soils of the Colli Senesi hills around San Gimignano, these Sangiovese grapes yield a wine that is a deep ruby red in color. According to Vincent from Vinifera (who graciously provided sample tastings of this gem), Chianti Classic's forest undertones contrast with Colli Senesi's rolling hills type of dryer, austere, earthier and more powerful profile. On the nose is a beautiful ripe cherry aroma, and on the palate is tobacco, a slight minerality and spice with very soft tannins. Sampled this delicious red wine with Keith at In Vino.

Terre di Bo Barolo 2003 DOCG
This dry red Barolo wine is made from the Nebbiolo grape, near Alba in the Piemonte region. Color: ruby red, medium weight, Nose: pepper, plum, green apple, smoky, leathery. Palate: plum, very dry but with a bite, astringent, tannic, 13.5% alcohol.

Tormaresca Neprica 2006 IGT Puglia
The name Neprica is a neat little combination of Negroamaro, Primitivo and Cabernet grapes (40%, 30% and 30% respectively). Dark, clear ruby red in color, this red wine from Puglia, Italy has cola and licorice on the nose with flavors of velvety dark spicy chocolate pudding and ripe blackberries. I feel like summer is here when I drink this wine and I'm happy for it. I'm falling in love with the Negroamaro grape.

Torre Quarto Bottaccia Nero Di Troia 2005 IGT
This 100% Nero Di Troia (black grape of Troia, also known as Uva di Troia) is indigenous to the Puglia region of Italy, and makes for a wine with very earthy mineral undertones. The color is dark ruby with copper around the edges, medium to heavy weight, on the nose are super ripe cherries, with extremely balanced flavors. This is a proud wine with elegance and sophistication and improved within an hour of decanting. A big thank you goes out to the guys at In Vino for the recommendation

Vigna Traverso Schiopettino 2005 Colli Orientali del Friuli DOC
From Friuli, Italy comes the Schiopettino grape once thought to be lost to extinction from the Phylloxera epidemic of the 19th century. On the nose are waves of chocolate, oak, cherries, and dried fruits set against a palate of concentrated sour cherries with a balanced acidity and dry finish. Sampled this at In Vino Wine Bar... $13 By the glass.

Vigneti La Selvanella Chianti Classico Riserva 2003 DOCG
This 2003 Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG is produced by Fattorie Melini and made from 100% Sangiovese Grosso, grown in "La Selvanella" vineyards in the heart of Chianti. After a long maceration period, the wine is kept in Oak casks for 30 months. It's big and fruity with a medium to heavy weight and coloring of deep cranberry red. It has bing cherry, leathery vanilla, and raspberry on the nose. Palate is complex with a jammy grenadine, toasted almonds and a hint of cinnamon. The back of the bottle says this wine can be laid down for more that 15 years, although to me it's ready now. But if there's a chance it could improve with age, this one's a winner, and it's in the $20-25 range retail or on line. Pairs well with red meats or game. Loved it! First tried this wine at Alberto's restaurant in Forest Hills.

Zeni Teroldego Rotaliano DOC
The Teroldego is a swaggering grape with the gusto of the Trentino region of Italy. This tasting was also offered by Vincent from Vinifera at In Vino. With deep colors and full flavor, this one has backbone! Aromas of black currant, bright cherry, cedar, wood and violets are a preview to flavors of earth, mushrooms and spicy minerality. (I didn't catch the vintage year)