9 Italian Red Wines — 6 at $20 or Less
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It is well-known that Italy is geographically shaped like a hip boot, which perhaps helps explain Italian fashion artistry with assorted footwear.
With this collection of red wines, we start at the top of this boot and sip our way down until the toe is empty.
2011 Elena Walch Alto Adige lagrein ($20). Lagrein is the Alto Adige’s class red indigenous grape, and this wine has rounded, dark cherry fruit, moderate body, and a typical shot of cleaning acidity. There are nice notes of smoke and balsamic.
2011 Castel Sallegg Alto Adige "Bischofsleiten" Lago di Caldaro classico ($19). This one features the region's other classic grape — the much more forthcoming schiava — with sweet cherry tastes and a hint of pinot noir-ish finishing pungency. Light and delightful.
2012 Cantina de Soave "ReMidas" Veneto IGT corvina ($10). Blueberry and elderberry aromas followed by a good fruitiness, mainly black raspberries, a light body, and light tannins. A good wine for everyday drinking.
2010 Corte Rugolin Valpolicella ripasso classic superior ($21) A smooth and silky wine — not too serious — with dark fruit flavors, some tannins, and a little balsamic.
2012 Salchetto "Obvius" rosso di Montepulciano ($19). Nice. Simple. Cherry flavors. A good pasta wine.
2007 Salchetto Salco Toscana vino nobile di Montepulciano ($50). A very nice wine that should be better — the ingredients are there, but the complexity is lacking. Nevertheless, it has classic flavors of dark black fruits, medium body, citrusy acidity, and the ability to match food well.
NV Angelini Marche pergola rosso ($14). Here, "pergola" refers to the grape and not the trellis method. It’s soft and fragrant — muscat-like flavors combined with red raspberry — with some savory notes mixed in.
2007 Angelini Colli Pesaresi sangiovese riserva ($22) Pungent aromas with ripe sangiovese flavors of dark cherry and a tangy finish with modern tannins. Easy drinking.
2012 Tascante "Buonara" Sicilian IGT ($20). Although there is a mulberry-like fruitiness in the foreground, this finish is more like an earthy pinot noir — the grape variety is carricante — with good acidity and notes of salinity and chalkiness.
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