Italy offers a fabulous cross-section of wines, many of them made from grapes that have been grown for centuries in their home regions.The wines tasted here illustrate the range of what’s available, from barbera in the north to nero d’Avola in the south, and from grillo in Sicily to pecorino in the Marche.
La Bastarda Pinot Grigio 2015 ($9). A soft and creamy pinot grigio from Sicily with some white cheese notes and a crisp finish.
Tasca d’Almerita Regaleali Bianco 2015 ($11). A well-structured blend of indigenous Sicilian grapes, similar in weight and flavors to a chardonnay.
Tasca d’Almerita Regaleali “Cavallo delle Fate” Grillo 2015 ($16). Light with piquant notes of ripe gooseberries and a fragrant spiciness.
Ciù Ciù “Merlettaie” Offida Pecorino 2015 ($19). From the Marche, this white has a cheesy/whey flavor that is quite nice with some barrel notes, good acidity, and a lingering floral finish.
Marchesi Fumanelli Terso Veneto White Wine 2014 ($40). A little sweet and fruity, a little tangy and a little tight — needs decanting, perhaps.
Il Bastardo Toscana Sangiovese IGT 2015 ($8). A quaffing wine, light and tangy — one that would be perfectly at home at a table in a sunlit piazza.
Tasca d’Almerita Regaleali Nero d’Avola 2014 ($11). Nicely balanced with dark fruitiness and a long finish.
Ciù Ciù “Bacchus” Piceno Rosso 2015 ($14). A tart, drink-now red; a little like a wine-of-the-harvest with its red raspberry freshness.
Tasca d’Almerita Regaleali Lamùri Nero d’Avola 2014 ($18). Creamy and spicy with dark berry flavors and lots of minty eucalyptus.
Castello di Gabiano La Braja Barbera d’Asti 2015 ($23). Perfumed nose with cherry flavor, lean body, and tangy finish. (Note that there are two different producers with very similar names — this one, from Piedmont, spelling “Gabiano” with one “b,” and Castello di Gabbiano (two “b”s) in Tuscany, below.
Castello di Gabbiano Chianti Classico Riserva 2013 ($25). Nice granularity, tangy, and lightly gamey with notes of green olives.
Cavalli degli Dei Chianti Classico 2013 ($24). Lovely nose, which is a good combination of cherry and raspberry fruits with a pleasant sangiovese raspiness in the finish.
Cavalli degli Dei “Le Redini” 2013 ($30). Enjoyable with an earthiness to go along with the cherry flavor and finishing raspiness.
Fumanelli Valpolicella Classico Superiore 2013 ($30). Quite gamey, lean, and tight — definitely a food wine.
Castello di Gabiano “Adornes” Barbera d’Asti Superiore 2010 ($40). Good body and structure with rounded cherry fruit, nice barrel flavors, and a tangy finish.
Cavalli degli Dei “Cavalli Collection” 2012 ($60). Smooth and elegant with dark cherry flavor backed up by wood cask notes and well-integrated tannins.
Tasca d’Almerita Regaleali Rosso del Conte 2011 ($64). A very nice wine of moderate age with a minty nose; dark, rich, rounded flavors; lip-smacking tannins; and a crisp finish.