The Inside Story from Italian Wine Merchants

Expert Picks: Per Linda and Canalicchio di Sopra

Two expert selections from Will Di Nunzio

will expertI admit that I take full advantage of working in the wine industry and don’t hesitate to taste the greatest wines—from Barolo to Brunello, from Amarone to grand cru Burgundy, all are incredible, and I feel very fortunate to have had these experiences I’ve had. I love all these legendary wines for different reasons.

But then I think about the rest of the wines, those from the “little guys,” the “I’ve never heard of it” wines. Perhaps these bottles are not as well rated, but they are also enjoyable in their own right. These are the wines that have given many of us in the industry a beacon to follow. They’re the ones that make us ask the big questions: What is the next best thing I can get my hands on? What else is out there that is waiting for me to try? How can people not know this? It’s amazing!

Today, I’ve chosen two wines that are simple, delicious and straightforward. These two wines that are a surprise and an unexpected joy, and so much fun: Per Linda’s 2014 Trebbiano d’Abbruzzo and Canalicchio’s 2014 Rosso di Montalcino. They exude the easy life of Italy with no pretension—just simple living and a reminder to take life one day and one wine at a time.

Per Linda 2014 Trebbiano d’Abruzzo $12.99

Is it true that you have to spend a lot of money to get good wine? This common question has two answers; it’s both yes and no because it depends completely on what you’re doing and at where your palate experience lays. I believe that the true wine connoisseur appreciates all levels of wines, including entry-level wines like this phenomenal Trebbiano d’Abbruzzo from Per Linda. If you have heard of Per Linda, you know that this estate makes very affordable and delicious wines. You also know that they are simple, easy and perfect for anything. With a full body and great structure, this Trebbiano offers some beautiful citrusy notes and a clean finish; it’s perfect for the summer months ahead and certainly a “non-bank-breaking” bottle to open whenever you feel like a good glass of white.

Canalicchio di Sopra 2014 Rosso di Montalcino $34.99

Ah, Rosso di Montalcino, one of my absolute favorites and this one comes from our friend Francesco Ripaccioli of Canalicchio di Sopra. We had the great pleasure of tasting this wine recently with Francesco, and, as usual, it is a sublime bottle of wine. Rossos are meant to be enjoyed young; they have playful fruit, but they also have tannins that are grippy enough for some great dishes like pork or turkey. Moreover, they are every bit a great Italian red as their older brother Brunello. The nice thing here is that a Rosso di Montalcino tends to be half the price and go down a lot faster. This is another wine I have at the ready in my home cellar for last minute guests. This Canalicchio bottle is quintessentially Italian.

Expert Picks: Capanna and Soldera

Two expert selections from Crystal Edgar

Crystal 2014Italian wine fans are rejoicing over the recent release of Brunello Riservas from the spectacular 2010 vintage, and with good reason! The 2010 vintage is a new benchmark for Montalcino’s iconic wine; the year produced reds with wonderful intensity, structure, and energy—utterly spellbinding these wines will leave you breathless. There’s only downside: you need patience for these sleeping beauties to awaken.

Today I present two Riserva wines that will keep you very happy and quench your Brunello desire while you wait for the 2010s to come around. In any vintage, Brunello Riserva wines are a tribute to the greatness of the vintage as well as the masterful work done in the cellar for each individual winemaker. They represent the pinnacle of the vintage and are always high in demand upon release! The wines I have selected to highlight today offer two different vintages, one classic and the other a challenge.

Capanna 2007 Brunello di Montalcino Riserva 1.5L – $189.99

Established in the 1950’s, Cappana is a producer that is slightly under the radar, but it offers exceptional quality and value. The family is true to their roots in keeping the wines traditionally styled while adding some modern technology to enhance qualities we love about a good Brunello. This ’07 Brunello Riserva will surprise you with its ability to drink well above its price point. Brambly berries meld with earth, smoke and other brooding notes in this wine from the benchmark vintage of 2007, a year that balances ripeness with structure.

Case Basse di Soldera 1991 Brunello di Montalcino Riserva $725

Gianfranco Soldera is on a level all his own and is one of the legendary producers in Montalcino, consistently creating magical wines in both good and challenging years. This 1991 is a testament to Soldera’s passion, tenacity and pursuit of excellence. Majestic, rich, and complex, the 1991 offers notes of earth, leather, game, smoke and spice that mingle with the dried red and black fruits. Now with more than two decades of maturity, this wine has added nuanced layers and shed some of its youthful tannins. It’s bewitching!

Go-To-Wine Tuesday: Talenti 2013 Rosso di Montalcino

A graceful, delicious, and elegant under $25 Rosso di Montalcino

RD8856-2My last blog post was on the 2013 Rosso di Montalcino from Collemattoni. Today I look at Talenti’s wonderful Rosso di Montalcino from the same vintage—and a delicate, elegant wine, this Talenti Rosso is very different from the more brooding Collemattoni bottling. Although both Rossos are absolutely perfect “everyday” wines to enjoy with your friends, the ’13 Talenti Rosso would work very well with some Amatriciana pasta, lasagna, ragù, grilled white or red meats.

Azienda Agricola Talenti was established in 1980, when the founder Pierluigi Talenti decided to buy property. He had fallen in love with Montalcino in the 1950s, when he had decided to leave the mountains of his native Emilia-Romagna for the sweet and sunny hills of Tuscany. The estate is situated in the southern area of Montalcino, not far from the small medieval borough of Sant’Angelo in Colle, and Pian di Conte, the seat of the Talenti winery, is a beautiful building of antique origins that looks on the gentle valley of the Orcia River.

The winery owns about 21 hectares of vineyard, 16 of which are dedicated to Montalcino’s main grape varietal: Sangiovese Grosso. Pierluigi Talenti personally selected the estate’s vines, and their resulting wines have great character and personality, reflecting perfectly the typicity of Sangiovese Grosso and the wonderful Montalcino terroir.

Bright ruby color, this Rosso is absolutely splendid in the glass. It’s very classic in its style, with beautiful aromas of dried flowers and red fruits, but also lighter secondary notes of leather and tobacco. Dried cherries lift into the soft, perfumed finish. I really love it, and I hope you will enjoy it too! Priced at under $25 a bottle, this Talenti Rosso gives a beautiful window into the 2013 vintage—and a terrific, graceful alternative to the darker Collemattoni Rosso di Montalcino.

Expert Picks: Talenti and Capanna

Two expert selections from Garrett Kowalsky

Garrett_8.6.14_72dpiBurgundy and Pinot Noir, Rioja and Tempranillo, Barolo and Nebbiolo and, of course, Montalcino and Sangiovese Grosso. Indisputably great wines, these are some of the most renowned, respected and sought-after pairings of region and grape. Hundreds of years of winemaking experience has shown that these combinations bring their respective parties to great heights and produce wines of great grandeur. Today, I’m celebrating Montalcino and Sangiovese Grosso. The history of this place and that grape have been woven together for well over a hundred years, and Brunello and Rosso di Montalcino have become hot ticket items over the past decade or so. I’ve chosen one wine to drink now and one to hold for a bit, but both sure to make you smile.

Talenti 2013 Rosso di Montalcino $24.99

Over the past year, everyone has been loading up on 2010 Brunello, and rightly so. It’s a wonderful move that guarantees great drinking in the years ahead, but how about now? Talenti is year in and year our one of IWM’s best value Brunellos and the estate’s Rosso is no different. At $25 it drinks like a wine that costs 50% more. Harvested from the youngest of the vines on the estate it is ripe, vivacious and has a hint of herbs that adds balance and complexity. Drink now until 2020.

Capanna 2010 Brunello di Montalcino $54.99

For more than a half century, Capanna has been a part of the Italian winemaking landscape, and in that time has shown itself as a standard bearer for traditional Brunello that is elegant yet racy with an acidic backbone that breathes life and style into the bottles. Like all good Brunellos, there is more than just fruit, a touch of tobacco and earth to truly round this wine into form. This ’10 bottling is yet another great example that Brunello is the place to be when you want a $100 wine but would prefer to pay half of that. Drink now to 2025.

Expert Picks: Michel Niellon and Poggio di Sotto

Two expert selections from Garrett Kowalsky

Garrett_8.6.14_72dpiIt’s very easy to read an article or watch a clip on television and learn about the “biggest” or “flashiest” names in wine. While the connectivity of the wine world ensures you’re always on top of the latest and greatest, these wines are not the only bottles deserving of your attention. Palate subjectivity is king when it comes to choosing wine, and there is an endless supply of great vino out there. Below you will find two producers that consistently give me the chills with their celestial offerings. I know this because I’ve tasted many of these producers’ wines, experienced them again and again, and most importantly, they were so good that I remembered them.

Michel Niellon 2012 Chassagne-Montrachet Les Vergers 1er Cru $79.99

Michel Niellon is a small family-owned domaine currently helmed by the third generation of the family. Niellon’s vineyards show an absurdly high vine age, which leads to low grape yields and intense, dense, concentrated wines with a cornucopia of flavors. The style of this Chassagne-Montrachet Les Vergers is mineral laden, but it’s a powerful wine and closely trails Caillerets in terms of desirability. An absolute delight, this ’12 bottling will “wow” you now if you give it about an hour of aeration before enjoyment. Drink now until 2025.

Poggio di Sotto 2011 Rosso di Montalcino $99.00

All you have to do is talk to me about for five minutes or so and you’ll find out how much I adore Poggio di Sotto Brunellos. They are elegance and class embodied, but they still maintain all that is rustic and unique about Italy. Given how great the Brunellos are, it’s easy to overlook just how darn good the estate’s Rosso di Montalcino is. I was reminded of this recently as we opened a bottle of the ’06 that belonged to a colleague of mine. At nine years old, this “Rosso” is better than the majority of the Brunello made in 2006. While we do not have any ’06 left, I know the ’11 Poggio di Sotto Rosso offers more of the same beauty. Drink now to 2024.

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