Two Warm Red Italian Wines to Help Allay the Chill of Winter’s Approach

Wine for november - Under $20

Odoardi, Savuto DOC Rosso 2012 (about $14)

The Odoardi family migrated to Calabria, Italy’s southernmost mainland region, in the 15th century. While generations of the Odoardi family have worked the land here for centuries, it wasn’t until the late 1990’s that the Odoardi family began producing their own wines from estate-grown grapes.

Today, the Cantine Odoardi consists of 675 acres of which 175 acres is under vine in the Savuto and Scavigna DOC regions in southern Calabria. The Savuto DOC is one of only 12 DOC’s in all of Calabria and the appellation stretches along the hills facing the Tyrrhenian Sea between the cities of Cosenza and Catanzaro.

Calabria is a mountainous region and the estate’s vineyards are located at different altitudes, ranging from sea level to over 2,000 feet above sea level. The effects of the hot Calabrian climate are mitigated by the diverse mountainous climate as well as refreshing breezes from the nearby Tyrrhenian Sea.  

Savuto DOC Rosso wines are blended wines with the primary variety being Gaglioppo. Gaglioppo is the main red grape variety of Calabria and this indigenous grape variety has been used in producing wines here for centuries. It is known for producing soft red wines with shy tannins and good acidity. Typically, Gaglioppo-based wines are full-bodied and robust with fragrant aromas and pronounced blackberry and plum flavors.

Odoardi’s 2012 Sa2012 Savuto Rosso from Odoardi wineryvuto Rosso is an interesting blend of 45 percent Gaglioppo and 25 percent Aglianico with the remaining 30 percent consisting of varying amounts of 3 other indigenous red varieties. The wine is aged for 4 months in steel tanks and 3 months in the bottle prior to release.

The wine is dark, the color of India ink, and has enticing dark fruit aromas with a touch of kitchen spices in the background. It is rich with ripe plum, raisin and dark fruit flavors. Odoardi’s 2012 Savuto Rosso is full-bodied and juicy with earthy overtones and a long, pleasant finish - the perfect wine to allay the chill of approaching winter.

This well-made wine from southern Italy is on wine shop shelves for under $15 which I think is a real bargain. The Savuto Rosso is a pleasure to drink by itself but it also is a great companion for the dinner table when hearty dishes like stews, roast pork loin or meat-based pasta dishes are on the menu.

Wine for november – over $20

Igino Accordini, “Le Bessole” Amarone della Valpolicella Classico DOCG 2007 (about $38)

The Accordini family has cultivated wine grapes in the foothills around Cariano Veneto in the Veneto region since the early 1800’s. But it wasn’t until the late 1970’s when Guido Accordini began managing the family estate that the family began to bottle their own wines under the Accordini label. As part of this initiative Guido also began a program of expansion and modernization, acquiring additional vineyards and updating the estate’s wine-making facilities. Today the Accordini winery has approximately 88 acres under vine and can boast of a modern, up-to-date winery.

Unique to the Valpolicella area in the Veneto region, Amarone (more formally known as Amarone della Valpolicella) is one of Italy’s premier wines. Amarone is made from native grapes that have been slowly dried before vinification. The drying process increases the grapes’ sugar content so that the end result of the vinification process is a powerful, long-lived and complex wine chock-full of rich dried fruit and raisiny flavors.

Accordini’s Amarone is a cru wine from the estate’s Le Bessole vineyard2007 Le Bessole Amarone della Valpolicella from the Accordini winery. and is made from 70% Corvina, 20% Rondinella and 10% Corvinoni, the last a relatively new grape variety. The grapes are dried on racks for 120 days, vinified with a long maceration on the skins and then aged in a combination of kegs and barrels for three years.

The wine has a deep garnet color with intense dark fruit and kitchen spice aromas with a wonderful and complex mixture of velvety dark fruit, prune and coffee-like flavors. However, Accordini’s Amarone isn’t overdone or syrupy. It has good structure with soft acidity and tannins. While not a sweet wine in a technical sense, its concentration and richness imparts an impression of sweetness.

Amarone wines tend to be very expensive so it’s a rare treat to find a well-made, quality Amarone such as this priced under $50 let alone under $40. For those who love big red wines with high quality-to-price ratios, this wine is for you.

Accordini’s 2007 “Le Bessole” Amarone pairs well with hearty cold-weather dishes like roasted or grilled meats and winter vegetables. It also goes well with stewed fruit, nuts or aged cheeses. But it is also wonderful when simply served by itself while relaxing with family and friends after a hearty holiday meal.

This wine should be opened 2 to 3 hours before serving and is best when presented in big "balloon-type" glasses.


©Richard Marcis
November 6, 2014

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