wine from italyWine Reviews & Musings

This section the website goes beyond Wine of the Month selections. Here you will find wide-ranging wine topics that explore what it is about Italian wine that is so compelling and memorable and keep you informed on current developments across the Italian wine scene. Some recent postings include:

Other topics covered include reviews of wines from specific Italian wineries, discussions of Italian wine varietals or wine regions, interviews with Italian winemakers, discussions of my favorite types or categories of Italian wines, Italian wine trends and markets and other wine-centric topics as the spirit moves me. View reviews and musings »

D.Cwineglass with iris flower. metro area wine bars and wine-friendly restaurants

Wine bars are popping up in the Washington, DC metropolitan area like corks from celebratory bottles of Prosecco. While there may not yet be one on every corner, new wine bars are appearing on the scene on a fairly regular basis...read more about D.C. metro area wine bars and wine-friendly restaurants »

Included is a listing of area wine bars and restaurants with extensive wine lists in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia


Where to Stay, Dine & Taste Wines in Italy

Explore travel itineraries in Italy that will appeal to intrepid souls that want to explore on their own and combine their love of travel with some wine country or vineyard tours, wine-friendly restaurants and enoteche (wine bars), or just visit interesting and historically significant places. For example, there is a proposed travel itinerary for the northeastern Veneto Treviso to Marostica and return as well as An Insider's Guide to Tasting Wines in the Piedmont: Wineries, Enoteche and Wine Shops. This section of my website should especially appeal to wine enthusiasts that love to travel and sample la dolce vita. view where to stay, dine and taste wine in italy »

Of Special Interest

The Impact of Climate Change on the Wine Industry

Climate change is beginning to affect the singular flavors that people know and have come to expect from different wines as well as the viability of longtime wine regions. To counter the effects of evolving climate change on the wine industry, grape growers and winemakers will have start making some difficult and intriguing decisions about the best way to respond. From a macro perspective, their success in this regard could well determine whether some indigenous grape varieties and/or historic wine regions become impracticable and are replaced by new or different ones.
In an interesting article titled Will We Still Enjoy Pinot Noir? published in a recent issue of Scientific American, Kimberly A. Nicholas examines the various climate-related issues facing the wine industry, what wine regions around the world will be most impacted and discusses various options and potential responses. Ms. Nichols is an Associate Professor of Sustainability Science at Lund University in Sweden and an international wine consultant...read the article»

Of Special Interest

Oldest Grapevines of the Western Mediterranean are Discovered in Sardinia

The Phoenicians and later the Romans have traditionally been credited with introducing grapevine cultivation in the western Mediterranean. But the recent discovery and analysis of ancient grape seeds found in west-central Sardinia indicates that the practice of growing grapes for the production of wines was in place earlier than originally thought. It raises raises interesting questions about exactly when, how and from whom these viticultural practices originated.

This research is based on analysis of more than 15,000 grape seeds discovered in the Nuragic site of Sa Osa in west-central Sardinia that date back approximately 3,000 years to the Late Bronze Age...read the article»



Two Hearty Italian Red Wines to Help Get You Through March’s Chilly End-of-Winter Days

Cantina Zaccagnini, “Tralcetto” Montepulciano d’Abruzzo DOC 2011 (about $13)

Montepulciano is the primary red grape variety of the Abruzzo region and accounts for nearly all of the region’s DOC red wines. Montepulciano d’Abruzzo (mon ta pul chee’ ahn no dah broot’ zo) wines generally have deep colors, soft flavors and gentle tannins... read the article »

San Cassiano, Valpolicella Superiore 2009 (about $35)

San Cassiano’s Valpolicella Superiore is produced with partially dried grapes. After about 40 days the dried grapes are vinified and then aged for two years in a combination of small (barrique) and large barrels. Mirko referred to it as a “baby Amarone” and its sweet dark fruit flavors and structure are certainly reminiscent of Amarone... read the article »


Two fine italian wines to start off the new year 2015

Tenuta Sant'antonio, "Scaia" corvina rosso 2011 (about $12)

This is a classy and enjoyable red wine from the Sant’Antonio winery in the Veneto region of northern Italy. It is made exclusively of Corvina grapes harvested from 3 to 10-year-old vines in Tenuta Sant’Antonio’s vineyards. It is fermented and matured in stainless steel tanks - no oak barrels or casks are utilized in the production of Scaia ... read the article »

garofoli, "grosso agontano" rosso conero docg riserva 2008 (about $27)

While the white wines of the Marche region of Italy have a well-deserved international reputation, the region also produces some excellent but not especially well-known red wines. Prime among these is Rosso Conero, an aromatic, rich and full-bodied red wine made from the Montepulciano grape that can with some ageing achieve distinction ... read the article »


A Self-guided Wine Tour of Southern Tuscany: Where to Dine, Sip and Buy Wine in Montepulciano and Montalcino

Montalcino and Montepulciano are two engaging hill towns in southern Tuscany (i.e., Tuscany south of Siena) with distinguished pasts and embellished with historic architecture and Renaissance art. But Montalcino and Montepulciano are also prominently known for their wines - Vino Nobile for Montepulciano and Brunello for Montalcino - and both cities and their environs are filled with cantine, enoteche (wine bars), world-famous wineries and wine-friendly restaurants.

This article provides a self-guided tour of wineries in the Montepulciano and Montalcino areas that welcome visitors for tours and tastings. Also presented are listings of local wine shops that have wines available for tasting by the glass and wine-friendly restaurants...read the article»


Twelve Great Wines From Southern Italy Worth Splurging On

Wines from southern Italy have historically been overlooked in favor of the better-known and popular wine regions of northern Italy - mainly Tuscany, Piedmont and the Veneto. However, southern Italy has a rich winemaking heritage and is considered the birthplace of Italian wines. With its warm Mediterranean climate, rich volcanic soil and abundance of ancient native grape varieties, vineyards have dotted southern Italy’s landscape for thousands of years ...read the article»


a selection of pizza-friendly italian wines

Finding a wine that goes well with pizza can be an intimidating challenge. What glass of red wine with pizzamakes the choice of a wine so daunting is that there is no such thing as a “typical” pizza. Pizzas, like people, come with all sorts of personalities and styles. Pizzas may have thin or thick crusts and range from...read the article»


Italy's Best Merlot Wines

Merlot is not a wine that readily comes to mind when discussing Italian wines. In a country populated with hundreds of different indigenous wine varieties and numerous attention-getting and popular wines such as Barolo, Barbaresco, Brunello and Chianti Classico, to name a few, Italian Merlot doesn’t rise to the level of wide popular recognition.

However, Merlot wines have increased in popularity in recent years with increased production of both blended wines as well as 100 percent Merlot wines. ...read the article»

Unexpected Pleasures – More Fine Italian Wines From Off the Beaten Path

In a previous posting on this website, I reviewed some noteworthy Italian wines that merit attention but are not particularly well known in this country. Italy is a complicated wine country with a rich and varied wine culture. Every one of Italy’s twenty regions grows grapes and produces wines and the country can lay claim to hundreds ...read the article »

Top Ten Affordable Super-Tuscan Wines

The words “affordable” and “Super-Tuscan” don't often appear in the same sentence. Super-Tuscans are big, rich, intense and modern wines that often carry triple-digit price tags, especially acclaimed Super-Tuscans with bold-face names like Ornellaia, Messorio, Solaia, Tignanello or Sassicaia ...read the article»

The perfect $5,000 Italian wine cellar

In a previous posting I formulated a proposed personal wine cellar that consists entirely of Italian wines and costs approximately $1,000 at current retail prices. Now, I’m going to up the ante and look at what one can buy in the way of Italian wines for $5,000.

But it’s not just a matter of going out and buying wine until you’ve reached the $5,000 limit ...read the article »

Sgroppino - A Refreshing Venetian Treat

I was first served this drink after dinner with my wife, Julie, and a few friends at a small, family-run restaurant on Campo San Margherita in Venice last year. Dinner was delightful and as we began to tuck into our desserts, the waiter - who I believe was the owner - without any prompting, simply announced that he was going to serve us one of Venice’s most famous digestivi...read the article»

An interview with giovanni zullo of tenuta viglione in puglia

Puglia (or Apulia as it’s known outside of Italy) is the region located on the Adriatic coast in southeastern Italy, in the “heel” of the “boot” that comprises geographic Italy. Because of its warm Mediterranean climate and relatively flat, fertile plains, wine has been produced here for thousands of years and in prodigious quantities. Puglia’s economy is heavily dependent on wine production ...read the article»

travel itinerary for matera: Exploring Southern Italy’s Hidden Gem

Matera is one of the most unusual, interesting and singular tourist destinations Matera cathedral at summitin Italy. While located in the off-the-beaten-track region of Basilicata in southern Italy, Matera is internationally famous for its extensive and ancient cave dwellings, known as sassi, that were inhabited as far back as ...read the article»


Refosco - northern Italy's hidden wine gem

Refosco dal Peduncolo Rosso is both the name of a grape as well as the red wine produced from that grape. Both the grape and the wine are popularly known as “Refosco” although technically it is only one sub-variety of the extended Refosco grape family. It is grown principally in the Friuli-Venezia-Giulia region in northeast Italy and the nearby Venezia and Treviso provinces . ...read the article»


Franciacorta Wines: Quality Italian Bubbly to Celebrate the New Year – or Any Time of Year

Italy offers discriminating wine lovers an astonishing array of super sparkling wines with which to celebrate the New Year or just to enjoy any time of year for that matter. One doesn’t need a special occasion to enjoy a festive sparkling wine. Any excuse will work like “it’s Saturday, let’s celebrate” or ...read the article»


Cheery Italian Sparkling Wine for Summer Festivities

A charming and refreshing but lesser known option in the Italian sparkling wine lineup is Brachetto d’Acqui. Like most other Italian sparkling wines, Brachetto d’Acqui (bra ket’ tah dahk’ qui) is produced in the cooler regions of northern Italy, in this case the Piedmont region in northwestern Italy. This seductive red sparkler is just waiting to be discovered by the American wine public. This delicately sparkling, light ruby-colored wine is characterized by pronounced red fruit aromas ...read the article»


Taking it Outdoors: Ten Great Value-priced Italian Wines for Al Fresco Dining

No doubt about it, summer is almost here and your thoughts are turning to moving your dining outdoors. And whether it’s relaxed snacking on your patio, hors d’oeuvres for a summer garden party, grilling ribs or steaks or a picnic in the park, there is a great, inexpensive Italian wine that’s perfect for the occasion.

Listed below are ten Italian wines – reds and whites as well as a rosé - that are ideal companions for a wide variety of outdoor entertaining and dining occasions. Some are light and fruity...read the article»


Prosecco, Figs and Serendipity

It was serendipity that escorted us to the cantina, er, farm last year while traveling in the Veneto. It was early afternoon on a brilliantly hot day in early summer and we were leisurely driving in our rented Fiat to Asolo after visiting Villa Barbaro, the magnificent 17th century Palladian estate in Maser...read the article»

An Eclectic Guide to Rome’s Best Wine Bars

To be honest, I don’t know if these are the best wine bars in Rome. There are a lot of wine bars (or enoteche) in Rome and I Winebar in Romehaven’t the time or financial resources to sample all of them. Rather, these are simply the ones I have enjoyed the most during my several trips to Rome in recent years and that best meet my criteria for a really quality wine bar experience.read the article »

Italy's Greatest Wines for a "Magnifico" Wine Cellar

Suppose you have virtually unlimited discretionary income and want to stock your wine cellar with only the greatest Italian wines. Here the emphasis is solely on quality and price is not a constraint – you want the best of the best Italian wines. Since there are a lot of really good wines in Italy from which to choose, I limited the number of selections to what I consider to be the thirty-five best wines that Italy has to offer - regardless of price. The competition for a spot in the top 35 Italian wines is toughread the article »

a tasting of red wines from sardinia

The island of Sardinia (Sardegna) lies off the west coast of central Italy. With its rugged mountains, rocky coasts and dazzling beaches accentuated by enigmatic pre-historic stone structures, Sardinia has long been a popular destination for Italian and other European tourists. However, Sardinia is not particularly well known to most Americans and not on the American travel industry's radar screens.  For most Americans ...read the article »

best italian white wines for summer sipping

When it comes to versatility, food-friendliness and outright summer sipping pleasure, it is hard to beat a white wine, especially one from Italy. People generally want to take a simpler approach to life during the hot months of summer. Formal dinners give way to simpler, buffet or even picnic-type get-togethers where formidable red wines would be out of place. Rather, these types of get-togethers call for crisp and refreshing white wines that can be served either by themselves for refreshing sipping, as aperitifs or as accompaniment to luncheons or other light summer fare...read the article »

amaro - the better italian bitter

The Italian liqueur, Amaro (ah ma roh), is one of my favorite after dinner drinks. Ever since I was first served this liqueur after dinner at a restaurant in Bologna, I have been hooked on them, or at least most of them (more on this later). However, on those occasions when I have served them to guests, response to them has been what might charitably be described as mixed. There is a wide range of styles ...read the article»

Mirto and the Bounty of Sardinia

Whenever my friend Andrea schedules a return visit to his native Sardinia, I try to remember to ask him to bring back a bottle of Mirto for me and to give him some cash to cover the cost. It’s one of my favorite after-dinner drinks and since it’s difficult to find in the U.S. his courtesies in this regard are always appreciated.

Mirto is a liqueur unique to the islands of Sardinia and Corsica. It is made ...read the article»

The Subtle and Bubbly Charms of Prosecco

Prosecco is easily Italy’s most popular sparking wine. Light, refreshingly effervescent and inexpensive, it is an integral part of most luncheons, weddings, birthday parties and other celebrations throughout Italy. It is also a popular before-dinner drink (aperitivo), not only in the Veneto region in northeastern Italy - which is Prosecco’s traditional home - but throughout the ...read the article»

Aperol – An Italian Summertime Elixir

Aperol is an Italian liqueur made by infusing orange peel and oranges with a subtle blend of bitter and sweet herbs and spices.  With its low alcohol content, intriguing aromas of orange and tangerine, complex bittersweet taste and its vivacious bright orange color, Aperol may well be the perfect summertime refresher. It is refreshing, vibrant and convivial ...read the article»

Chinato - the Better Barolo

The Italian liqueur, Chinato, or as it’s more formally known, Barolo Chinato, originated - not surprisingly, given its name - in the Piedmont region in northwestern Italy. Chinato (key’ not toe) is still produced in the Langhe area of the Piedmont, the same area where Nebbiolo grapes are grown for the production of the celebrated Barolo wines, Italy’s “king of wines.” Barolo Chinato can trace its roots back to the late 19th century...read the article»

My Favorite Piedmont Restaurants worth a visit When Touring the Wine Roads of Northern Italy

Traditionally, where you find good wine in Italy you also find good food and restaurants. The Piedmont region is no exception to this rule. Its array of world-class wines is matched by the quality of its food and restaurants - it's a foodies' paradise. Listed are ten of my favorite, must-visit restaurants in the Piedmont ...read the article»



Italian wine corksBest Italian Wines of the month

I taste quite a few Italian wines every month. While some are just OK, many are good and some are really great wines. In the spirit of sharing my wine experiences with you, each month I will select two as my favorite Italian Wines of the Month: one under $20 and the other over $20.

Since I’m a value-focused wine consumer, many of my monthly wine selections, especially the under-$20 selections, will be quite easy on your wallet. However, every so often I have a chance to taste a really pricey wine that I think is truly outstanding and I will include it in my over-$20 Wine of the Month selection. Think of my two monthly selections as the best Italian wines for the month on a value-to-price basis.

In recent months the under-$20 monthly wine selections included:

In recent months the over-$20 monthly wine selections included:

I want to emphasize that I’m independent and have no financial incentive to push any particular wine. Any review or recommendation is strictly determined by personal choice for reasons of merit and/or general interest. I buy my wines the same way most of you do — that is, I pay the full retail price at local wine stores. While I do have some favorite wine shops, I visit at least two different wine stores a week to assess their pricing and wine selections.

Top Six Most Recently Viewed Postings

  1. Moscato d’Asti - Italy’s Fizzy and Fun Gift to the World
  2. Amaro - the better italian bitter
  3. Italy's Best Merlot Wines
  4. Ripasso Wines - For Those Who Love Big Reds But Can’t Always Afford Amarone
  5. twelve great wines from southern italy worth splurging on
  6. The Subtle and bubbly charms of prosecco  

Of Special Interest

Fruit of the Ancient Vine: An Evening Lecture with Wine Tasting

The Smithsonian Associates is hosting an evening program titled Fruit of the Ancient Vine. The featured speaker is Dr. Piero Mastroberardino, head of the distinguished Mastroberardino winery in Campania, Italy, who will discuss his winery’s role in the recovery and commercial success of some of Campania’s ancient grape varieties. He will also discuss his winery’s initiatives to research and reintroduce grape growing and wine production as it existed some 2,000 years ago in the ancient city of Pompeii.
Dr. Mastroberardino will discuss the process of cultivating these varieties today and share stories of the ancient varieties and how wine was produced and enjoyed in ancient times.
A tasting of selected Mastroberardino wines will follow the lecture.
The lecture and wine tasting will be held on Monday, April 13, 2015 from 6:45 to 8:30 p.m. at the Smithsonian Institution’s Ripley Center in Washington, DC. Additional information and ticket purchases for this event are available at the Smithsonian Associates website.  
This program is presented in collaboration with the Scientific Methodologies Applied to Cultural Heritage (SMATCH) organization.



Forty Great Italian Wines Every wine enthusiast should try

Italy is one of the oldest and largest wine producing countries and today produces some of the most celebrated wines in the world. Since Italy has an astonishing array of grape varieties and wine styles it can make the task of selecting its best wines a daunting task. Despite the challenges, it’s both interesting and worthwhile to try to identify what wines are really the best among the many that Italy produces ...read the article»


Marinella Camerani and the Wines of Corte Sant’Alda

Corte Sant’Alda is a relatively new winery in Italy’s Veneto region that has within its young life risen to the top ranks of Valpolicella and Amarone producers. The winery dates back to 1985 when its owner, Marinella Camerani, decided it was time to change her life style and moved to her family’s country house near the hamlet of Mezzane de Sotto northeast of Verona. She started to ...read the article»


It’s Tasting Time for the 2011 Amarone della Valpolicella Wines

Each year at the end of January, Verona Italy hosts the wine extravaganza Anteprima Amarone (or Preview of Amarone). This two day event is dedicated to celebrating the release of the newest vintage of Amarone, the most celebrated wine of the Veneto region. This year, the event celebrated the current release of the 2011 vintage of Amarone wines and was held over a two day period...read the article»


Wine-Friendly Italian Restaurants Worth a Visit after Touring the Piero di Cosimo Exhibit at the National Gallery of Art

The largest retrospective ever of art by the Italian Renaissance master Piero di Cosimo is at the National Galllery of Art in Washington, DC now through May 3rd, 2015. The exhibition provides a comprehensive perspective of the artist’s oeuvre, from the sacred to the secular, from landscapes to portraits and from the beautiful and serene to, well, the bewildering and bizarre and is one of the most anticipated exhibitions of 2015.
Since viewers will need some post-gallery sustenance, this article also reviews some wine-friendly Italian restaurants worth a visit after touring the National Gallery's Piero di Cosimo exhibit ...read the article»


Best Italian Wines of 2014 from Wine Spectator and Wine Enthusiast Magazines

Wine Spectator and Wine Enthusiast magazines recently released their picks for the 100 best wines from around the world released in 2014. These are two of the world’s most prestigious wine-centric magazines. Both magazines are highly regarded and their selections for the world’s best wines of 2014 include a number of Italian wines. It is interesting to look at exactly which Italian wines made the lists...read the article»


Italy’s Best Wines – Gambero Rosso’s 2015 Tre Bicchieri Award-Winning Wines

Gambero Rosso recently announced the winners of its coveted Tre Bicchieri awards for 2015. Tre Bicchieri (“Three Glasses”) wines are Italy's most highly rated wines based on an intense and comprehensive panel tasting process. The entire results of the panel tastings are published in Gambero Rosso's Vini d'Italia which is generally recognized as the gold standard for ..read the article»


Five Tips to Enhance Your Wine Tour of Tuscany’s Chianti Classico Region

The Chianti Classico wine region in central Tuscany is Italy's most popular wine destination. The area’s rolling hills are dotted with numerous wineries surrounded by sweeping vineyards. Visiting these wineries and tasting their wines can be interesting and informative as well as a lot of fun.

But to get the most out of your time in Chianti Classico country it’s worthwhile following some simple rules. This article discusses five simple guidelines that will make your wine tour of the Chianti Classico region more enjoyable as well as informative...read the article»


A Wine Tasting Road Trip Through Tuscany’s Chianti Classico Region: Siena to Castellina and Greve

With its numerous wineries, wine bars (enoteche in Italian) and wine-friendly restaurants the Chianti Classico region in central Tuscany is a paradise for wine enthusiasts whether they be novices or wine savants.

The first of a two-part series, this article presents a proposed wine-tasting road trip through the Chianti Classico region, exploring the enoteche, wine-friendly restaurants and famous wineries in and around the cities of Siena, Castellina and Greve...read the article»


A Wine Tasting Road Trip Through Tuscany’s Chianti Classico Region: Panzano to Radda and Gaiole

This article is the second of a two part series on a self-guided wine-tasting road trip through Tuscany’s famed Chianti Classico wine region. This article resumes where the previous article left off - in the city of Greve-in-Chianti - and continues the wine tour itinerary by exploring the wine-destination cities of Panzano, Radda and Gaiole-in-Chianti...read the article»


The Modern Classical White Wines of Campania

The Campania region has long been recognized as the home of some of highly-regarded red wines. Flavorful and full-bodied, these red wines are some of Italy's best. But the Campania region is also the source of some of southern Italy’s most textured and complex white wines ...read the article»


Marsala Wines - Once Famous, Now Awaiting Rediscovery

Marsala was once one of the most popular fortified wines in the world. It gradually fell out of favor but a small cadre of producers has worked hard to restore Marsala to its former glory. Despite dramatic improvements in quality, market acceptance has not kept pace and Marsala is just waiting to be rediscovered...read the article»


Unsung, Affordable Red Wines from Southern Italy - Ten under $20

While it’s Italy’s great red wines from the north - renowned wines like Brunello di Montalcino, Barolo, Barbaresco, Amarone and Super-Tuscans - that garner the greatest attention in the wine world, they also tend to be expensive and out of the financial reach of many consumers. But there is a growing recognition that wines from various regions south of Rome - an area generally known as the mezzogiorno or “southern” Italy - have improved dramatically in quality ...read the article»


a tasting of barbera Wines

Barbera is an unusual grape variety. It is an early-maturing variety and its juice has a dark ruby color with high acidity, wonderful berry-like aromas and flavors and discret tannins.  It is a vigorous, hardy variety that adapts well to different climates and soils and is grown in many parts of the world such as Brazil. Argentina, Australia and in several areas of the U.S....read the article»


The Renaissance of Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Wines

Vino Nobile di Montepulciano does indeed have a noble and storied heritage. The wine is named after the ancient and scenic hill-top town of Montepulciano whose soaring Renaissance architecture enlivens the landscape of southeastern Tuscany. These wines have been admired for centuries and were held in such high regard that they were reputedly reserved for the tables of Tuscan nobility...read the article»


Break out of the Routine This Year: Six Out-of-the-Ordinary Italian Wines to Expand Your Wine Horizon

There are many finely-crafted and pleasurable wines from Italy on wine shop shelves that simply get overlooked because they’re not particularly well known and consequently outside the typical wine purchaser’s comfort zone. This article reviews six pleasurable, out-of-the-ordinary Italian wines that will give fillip to your plan to escape from the ordinary and expand your wine horizons this new year...read the article»


Italy’s Best Wines – Gambero Rosso’s 2014 Tre Bicchieri Winners

Gambero Rosso recently released the recipients of its coveted 2014 Tre Bicchieri awards for quality Italian wines. Tre Bicchieri (“Three Glasses”) wines are deemed to be the best in Italy. The 2014 Tre Bicchieri awards were announced over the web in stages by region beginning in early October of this year. It is an exhausting review and selection process. This year, approximately 60 wine experts ...read the article»


Morellino di Scansano - Tuscany’s Other Sangiovese Wine

Morellino di Scansano is a Sangiovese-based red wine produced in the area around the ancient village of Scansano in Tuscany’s Maremma region. The area's rich volcanic soil and dry, hot weather makes it a prime area for growing wine grapes. The sea breezes from the nearby Tyrrhenian Sea also promote large day-night temperature swings which, counter-intuitively, are beneficial ...read the article»


Value-priced Italian Red Wines for Fall Festivities

Here are some inexpensive red wines from Italy to accompany your fall activities, whether they involve participating in tailgate parties with friends, taking advantage of the outdoor grill before winter sets in or just chilling out watching the leaves change color. And you don’t necessarily want an austere and complex wine. Rather, something flavorful, easy to drink and not too expensive will do the trick...read the article»


Passito Wines for a Sweet End to a Grand Meal

Passito is an Italian word for wines made by the appassimento process whereby grapes are partially dried on straw mats or pallets in airy rooms or barns in order to concentrate the grapes’ flavors and sweetness prior to vinification. As the grapes shrivel and lose water they become full of concentrated sugars and flavors ...read the article»


Eight Organic Italian Wines You’ve Got to Try

Organic wines and environmentally friendly wineries in Italy - as well as elsewhere - are in vogue now. Formerly the domain of small, artisanal, off-the-grid wineries, the movement has expanded, evolved and become generally accepted in a way that could not have been forecast or even imagined a few decades ago. Today, any number of producers tout their organic or eco-friendly credentials as much if not more than the quality of their wines. Even establishment organizations such as Gambero Rosso...read the article»


More value-priced super-tuscan wines

I enjoy touring Tuscany and visiting wineries in that beautiful part of Italy. Wines from the Chianti region are among Tuscany’s most famous while the Brunello di Montalcino wines from southern Tuscany are some of the best Italy has to offer, prized for their structure, elegance and longevity.

But another category of Tuscan wine - called Super-Tuscan - has received considerable critical acclaim from critics and consumers alike over the past several decades and in the process has recharged the entire Italian wine scenet...read the article»


Fine Italian Restaurants To Visit in New York After Touring the Frick's Piero Della Francesca Exhibit

The first U.S. exhibit of paintings by the early Italian Renaissance artist Piero della Francesca is at the Frick Collection in New York now through May 19, 2013. This is a rare opportunity to view some of the work of one of the earliest and greatest Italian Renaissance painters. Since viewers will need some post-gallery sustenance, this article reviews some wine bars and wine-friendly Italian restaurants worth a visit after touring the Frick’s Piero della Francesca exhibit...read the article»


What I’m Drinking Now - the Pleasurable Wines of Puglia

Puglia can lay claim to 29 DOC wine zones of which more than half (16) are located in the southern-most part of Puglia in what is called the Salento peninsula, the fertile, flat and sun-drenched tip of the “heel” of the “boot” that comprises geographic Italy. Puglia also has 4 DOCG wine zones of which 3 are in the Castel del Monte wine region, an up-and-coming wine area that holds great promise. The zone takes its name from the octagonally-shaped 13th century castle lying south of the city of Andria...read the article»


The Wines of Mount Etna: From High-altitude, Volcanic Vineyards Come Wines with Attitude

Among Italy’s numerous and vibrant wine regions, the Mount Etna region in northeastern Sicily seems an unlikely site for producing any wines let alone quality wines. Mount Etna is an active, fearsome volcano that has erupted from time to time, sometimes savagely, for thousands of years. Nonetheless, it is one of Italy’s hottest wine regions, so to speak, and vintners are now scrambling to purchase vineyard property in the region ...read the article»


The Winning Wines of umbria

White wines play a significant role in Umbria today and constitute the bulk of the region’s total wine production and wine exports. But it is Umbria’s dry red wines that have garnered the most attention in recent years. The Sangiovese-based Torgiano Rosso Riserva wines from the Torgiano area and the Sagrantino-based wines from the area around the ancient hill town of Montefalco are wines of character and distinction that garner rave reviews from wine critics and consumers alike ...read the article»


Dolcetto Wines - hiding in plain sight

Dolcetto is an early-ripening grape and like many similar varieties produces wines that are soft, fruity and acidic with mild tannins. As such, they generally do not benefit from long bottle ageing. Dolcettos are very popular in Italy, particularly in the Piedmont region, and many use it as their everyday, go-to wine. It is a fixture at their daily dinner tables and for entertaining close friends ...read the article»

Wines I Would be Happy to Find Under My Christmas Tree This Year

“What would I like to find under my tree on Christmas day?” you ask. Well - surprise! - I would really be happy and pleased to find a good bottle of Italian wine! And it wouldn’t have to be a really expensive bottle from a boldface-name producer. I would be pleased to just receive a good bottle of wine that showed some care and thought on the part of the giver...read the article»


Ripasso Wines - For Those Who Love Big Reds But Can’t Always Afford Amarone

Ripasso is a red wine from the Valpolicella zone which is located north of Verona in the Veneto region of Italy, which is also the home of the world famous Amarone wines. Ripasso wines are generally less well known than Amarone wines even though the two wines share some of the same features and flavor profiles. Ripasso wines are rich, full-bodied and have some of the same aroma and flavor contours as Amarone wines. They are more approachable and less expensive than Amarone wines so they can be enjoyed regularly while saving the Amarones for those special occasions...read the article»

Best Value-Priced Italian Red Wines - Twelve Wines Under $20

It’s that time of year when we start seeing numerous “best of” lists. You know what I mean - lists enumerating the best of this or that for the year such as favorite restaurants, movies, music, etc.
So, in the spirit of the season, I have assembled a list of my favorite value-priced Italian red wines for the year. Specifically, presented here are the twelve best red wines I’ve tasted over the course of the year that retail for $20 or less...read the article»

Moscato d’Asti - Italy’s Fizzy and Fun Gift to the World

Moscato d’Asti (mos scah’ toh dah’ stee) is a lightly sweet and gently effervescent wine from the Piedmont region in northern Italy. While it is a festive and fun wine, it does have a sense of place and style that help explain why it ranks so high as one of Italy’s favorite wines.

Moscato d’Asti is related to - and often confused with - Asti Spumante. Both are DOCG wines made with the same grapes grown in the same general area. However, they are quite different ...read the article»

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