fine italian wines for july, 2010

Wine for the Month of july — under $25

Zenato, Lugana San Benedetto 2008 (about $14)

This white wine is one of my favorites and I keep coming back to it year after year. It is my “go-to” white wine for the summer. It is from a trusted producer that takes pride in producing quality but inexpensive white wines that are consistent from vintage to vintage.

This wine is crafted entirely from a special variety of Trebbiano grapes (called Trebbiano di Lugana) sourced from the Zenato estate’s vineyards in San Benedetto, a village just a little inland from the southern shore of dazzling Lake Garda on the Veneto - Lombardy border in north-central Italy. The grapes are fermented and aged for 6 months in temperature-controlled steel tanks and then spend a few months in the bottle prior to release for sale.

This is a wonderful expression of a Trebbiano wine. No wood is used in either the fermeZenato, Lugana San Benedetto 2008ntation or aging — what you taste is the pure fruit without competing extraneous flavors. A dry, delicate wine with good peach and pear-flavored fruit but with sufficient acidity to keep it refreshing, zesty and food friendly.  It has citrus notes on the finish. Wonderful with dishes such as a herb-basted roast chicken, most fish dishes and salads. Also goes well with appetizers, especially if they involve goat cheese or shellfish. It’s one of my top choices for an enjoyable summer sipper.

Where can I buy this wine? – available at MacArthur Beverage, The Wine Specialist, Calvert Woodley, Pearson’s and Wells Discount Liquors (Baltimore City).

Wine for the Month of july — over $25

Tenuta Sette Ponti, "Crognolo" 2007 (about $35)

The Sette Ponti estate lies fifteen miles northwest of the city of Arezzo in the heart of the Chianti zone. The name Sette Ponti translates as "seven bridges" and refers to the seven bridges crossing the Arno River on the road from Arezzo to Florence.

Crognolo (pronounced cro nyoh’ loh) is a blend of 90 percent SangiovesTenuta Sette Ponti, Crognolo 2007e and ten percent Merlot sourced from 25 to 35 year old vines. This stylish Super-Tuscan blend merges the austerity and structure of Sangiovese with the suppleness and fruit-forward flavors of Merlot to yield a firmly structured yet elegant wine. It is a full-bodied wine with firm but elegant tannins and a long, fruity finish. In case you’re wondering, Crognolo is named after a wild bush that grows wild on the Tenuta Sette Ponti estate.

The 2007 vintage was another good year in Tuscany and while the ’07 Crognolo can be drunk now, it will only improve with additional bottle age. Crognolo wines have been the darlings of the Wine Spectator’s tasting panels in recent years and the ’07 garnered a 93 rating from the Wine Spectator last year as well as the number 30 spot on their top 100 wines of 2009. This is a very good Super Tuscan at a very reasonable price.

Where can I buy this wine? Available at (Gaithersburg), MacArthur Beverages, The Italian Market (Arlington) and Schneider’s of Capitol Hill.

Note – prices indicated are averages of generally available retail prices and will vary from store to store. While in stock at time of writing, stores may sell out of the selections so availability is not guaranteed.  It is best to call to check on price and availability before making the trip.

©Richard Marcis
July 2, 2010


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