2 Well-Priced Italian Wines For Casual Autumn Dining


Perticaia Trebbiano Spoletino 2015 ($20)

Sometimes, fate simply intervenes: Just before a fall picnic featuring local cheese and Virginia's latest crop of apples (Black Twig is a favorite variety), I received a bottle of the 2015 Perticaia trebbiano, tossed it into the picnic cooler, and hoped it would work with the food I had selected. I was not disappointed. Green-gold in the glass, with a lusciously round mouth feel, the wine tasted of pear, tropical fruit, and honeysuckle, with a soft, lightly citrusy, acidic finish. More importantly, it was a luscious counterpoint to a creamy local blue cheese, a Caramont Farms goat cheese, and a double-crème raw-milk French brie, all served on crisp slices of apple. The wine stood up well to assorted salumi as well. Aged just six months in stainless steel, this clean, fresh, 100-percent trebbiano is a high-value winner and well worth searching out.

Nipozzano Vecchie Viti Chianti Rufina Riserva 2011 ($29)

One of my go-to wines from the house of Marchesi di Frescobaldi, this smooth-drinking chianti goes with almost anything Tuscan, from luscious chicken liver crostini to lasagne to grilled veal chops or steak. With a refreshing, well-balanced acidity, the wine cuts through richness and enlivens dishes like these in a way that heavier wines might not. It is made to be paired with food. It is, however, an old-vine riserva, more complex and elegant than a wine aged less than its 24 months. The seductive nose promises complexity with notes of cherry, vanilla, and a bit of tobacco and earth in the savory smooth tannin finish. A very good value indeed.