The ancient city of Verona is at the confluence of the vast plains of northern Italy and the foothills of the Alps, surrounded by vineyards producing both white and red wines. Today, we will take a look at some of the reds — from the simple and light to the denser and more-alcoholic ripassos and amarones.
2011 Inama carmenere "pui…" ($20). Stefano Inama is known for his soaves, but he also makes this pleasurable red with 30 percent of it merlot to, as he says, "civilize" it. Lots of plummy fruit with a hint of creamy oak. Takeaway: A very satisfying wine if not an especially complex one.
2011 Bolla Bardolino ($8). Very light cherry soda flavors with a touch of dry spices in the finish. Takeaway: A practice wine, or one to be served chilled instead of beer with a Margherita pizza.
2011 Bolla Valpolicella ($8). Very bright fruit, a little gamey in the finish, some green-stem flavors. Takeaway: Another beginner’s wine for a college student’s budget.
2009 Sant’Antonio "Monti Garbi" Valpolicella superiore ripasso ($19). A very dark wine with plummy and black raspberry flavors. Some citrus rasp. Long on the palate, medium body, light tannins. Takeaway: A nice bridge between basic Valpolicella and amarone.
2009 Bolla Valpolicella ripasso classico superiore ($17). The same basic flavors of plums, raspberries, prunes, but not quite the strength or length. Takeway: Ripasso lite.
2009 Sartori amarone della Valpolicella ($42). A big wine, but a rounded, complex one with considerable sophistication. Let it air in a decanter for a while to unleash the ripe, rounded flavors. Takeaway: Avery nice wine that has the intensity of a port but without the alcohol or density
2010 Bolla "Creso" Italian red wine ($14). An enjoyable cabernet sauvignon that is still coming together, even after considerable airing. Lots of purple fruits that quickly down shift on the palate to a tight, tannic finish with some pleasant bitters edge and a little coda of cream. Takeaway: Give it a few more years in the bottle.