Wine Reviews and musings


A Tasting Tour of Sicily’s Great Vineyards and Native Varieties - Sicily today is one of the world’s most exciting wine-producing regions. Fueled by a new generation of ambitious, quality-oriented wine producers, Sicily has over the course of the last few decades garnered critical world praise for the high-quality of its wines, wines that are modern yet distinctly Sicilian in the article»

Top Ten Italian White Wines for 2022 - Although most noted for its red wines, Italy is also a major producer of a diverse selection of white wines made with a broad array of grape varieties and produced in a variety of styles. This article reviews ten Italian white wines of character and distinction by producers throughout Italy. The wines exhibit considerable diversity in pricing, ranging from $16 to $55, but all rate extremely high on a quality-to-price the article»

My Favorite Value-priced Italian Red wines – 15 under $20 - Italy is a large and diverse wine market with every one of Italy’s 20 regions producing some quantity of wine for export. While some prestigious estates produce wines that carry triple-digit price tags, these estates represent a tiny minority of Italy’s total production. There are literally hundreds of talented and passionate winemakers producing quality wines at reasonable prices. This article reviews 15 quality Italian red wines that sell for $20 or the article»

The Perfect Case of Italian Wines to Tide You Through 2021 - This article reviews a dozen pleasurable, out-of-the-ordinary Italian wines that will give lift to your plans to escape the confining doldrums of the Covid-19 pandemic while also, hopefully, expanding your wine horizons. The 12 wines range in price from $19 to $105 and include some high-visibility wines that consistently garner praise from wine cognoscenti and the general wine-buying public alike and some high-quality but low-visibility wines that fly under the radar and don’t receive a lot of attention in the wine the article»

Eight Great, Wallet-Friendly Super-Tuscans to Help Sooth the Winter of Our Discontent - The words “affordable” and “Super-Tuscan” don't often appear in the same sentence. Super-Tuscans are rich, intense and modern wines that often carry triple-digit price tags, especially acclaimed Super-Tuscans with bold-face names like Ornellaia, Tignanello and Sassicaia. Fortunately for those of us not comfortable with mortgaging our financial future in order to purchase some “cult” or other super-popular Super-Tuscans, there are some notable Super-Tuscans available that don’t get a lot of play in the popular press and consequently offer good value for the dollar. This article reviews eight notable but relatively inexpensive Super-Tuscan the article»

Sagrantino is One of Italy’s Best Red Wines – So Why Haven’t More People Heard of It? - Montefalco Sagrantino is one of Italy’s richest and most powerful wines and when properly aged are distinguished by silky, enticing flavors and tannins. But despite these envious attributes they remain one of Italy’s least well-known wines. But the word is starting to get out and, after waiting patiently in the wings, Montefalco Sagrantino appears poised to take its rightful place on the world wine the article»

Top Winemakers of Calabria and Basilicata and Their Flagship Wines - While wines from Calabria and Basilicata are often overlooked, that may be about to change as some progressive, quality-oriented winemakers from these regions are beginning to make a mark on the international wine stage. But this is still a work in progress and it’s only going to get better. This article describes the top producers from Calabria and Basilicata and their flagship the article»

Some Wallet-friendly Italian Merlot Wines - Although Merlot is not generally thought of as being an important player in the Italian wine scene, it is in fact the third-most widely planted red variety in Italy and produces some delightful and intriguing pure varietal wines. Merlot offers up ripe, fruity aromas and complex, supple, full-bodied flavors. It also has a strong affinity for wood ageing that can augment the wine’s tannins and enhance the subtleties of the wine. As a pure varietal, Merlot – especially in the hands of a talented winemaker – is capable of producing some simply stunning the article»

Classy and Cool Italian White Wines for Summer Al Fresco Activities - Reviewed are ten Italian white wines that are ideal companions for a wide variety of outdoor entertaining and dining occasions. Some are aromatic with crisp acidities and are ideal companions for picnic-type snacks, hors d’oeuvres at a reception, any dinner where fish or shellfish is on the menu or simply as refreshing summer sippers. Other whites are more full-bodied with fruity flavors, textures and intensities that demand more substantive and/or flavorful fare like elaborate seafood dishes as well as grilled, herb-flavored white meats or the article»

Valpolicella Superiore Wines: A Step-up in Quality - Valpolicella Superiore wines are very different from regular Valpolicella. The Superiore designation indicates that the Valpolicella wine has been aged for at least one year in wood and has a minimum alcohol level of 12 percent and is a more complex and intriguing wine. They will generally have a darker hue, more prominent bouquets and evolved flavors and greater texture than regular Valpolicella and are well worth the small difference in the article»

The Great Red Wines of Lebanon’s Chateau Musar - Chateau Musar is, hands-down, Lebanon’s most famous and celebrated winery. Established in 1930 it has consistently produced high quality wines despite the economic and political turmoil associated with Lebanon’s tumultuous civil war. It has in fact developed a cult-like following among those-in-the-know for the high quality of its wines as well as with those that favor its non-interventionist, natural approach to the article»

The Allure of Italy’s Sun-Kissed Passito Wines - Passito is an Italian word for sweet, dessert-style wines made by the appassimento drying process where the grapes are partially dried in the sun so they lose water, shrivel and become full of concentrated sugars and flavors.
It’s a daunting and time-consuming process but one that pays big dividends in the form of lusciously sweet and concentrated wines that make for a special treat at holiday celebrations or as a way to end any dinner or formal gathering. Because of their concentration, alcohol and high natural acidity, passito wines are long-lived wines that will continue to evolve and gain additional complexity and depth of color for years after the article»

A Review and Comparison of Some Really Super Super-Tuscan Wines - The Super-Tuscan movement came into being in the late 1960’s when some visionary producers crafted a new type of red wine that defied regional traditions and regulatory requirements. Utilizing non-traditional varieties or innovative vinification protocols - or both - these innovative producers crafted some truly remarkable wines that quickly caught the attention of wine critics and enthusiasts alike. Today, they are generally recognized as some of Italy's best - and most expensive - wines.
This article reviews and compares seven notable Super-Tuscan wines from the 2009 through the 2011 vintages. All the wines were excellent but varied considerably in terms of structure and style that reflect the flexibility and diversity inherent in the Super-Tuscan the article»

Sicily’s Nero d’Avola Wines: Getting Better and Better - Nero d’Avola is one of Italy’s most important indigenous red varieties. Named after its historic birthplace around the town of Avola in southeastern Sicily, it is most widely planted in Sicily and accounts for the largest share of red wines produced on the island and is the primary grape in the majority of Sicily's best red wines. The thick-skinned, late-ripening Nero d’Avola varietal is ideally suited to Sicily’s hot, dry climate and typically produces full-bodied wines packed with dark fruit flavors. It has often been compared the article»

A Tasting and Comparison of Value-priced Chianti Classico Wines - Chianti Classico is Tuscany’s most famous and well-known wine. These wines are typically red blends made primarily of Sangiovese grapes from Tuscany’s Chianti Classico zone with residual amounts of other traditional or non-native red varieties.  In general, Chianti Classico wines are medium-bodied, with floral and tart cherry aromas, firm and very dry with discreet tannins and a lively streak of acidity. With their relatively modest price tags they are one of the wine world’s great value wines, especially when compared with other fine wines today. They are also one of the world’s most food-friendly wines.
Six relatively inexpensive wines ranging from $20 to $30 are reviewed here. Regardless of price all of the wines ranked high on a quality-to-price basis and all are available in major U.S. the article»

A Dozen Must-try Italian Wines for 2018 that Provide an Escape from the Ordinary - This article reviews a dozen pleasurable, out-of-the-ordinary Italian wines that will give fillip to your plan to escape the ordinary and expand your wine horizons in 2018.
So how does a wine qualify for a place on this short list of “must-try” wines? First, the wines have to be enjoyable and rewarding on their own with delicious aromas and flavors and some depth and complexity. Second, they should have a special touch of interest whether it be from a not-especially-well-known variety or not-well-known wine region or some special innate flavors or a touch of nuance or complexity that make them stand out from the the article»

The Remarkable Wines of Salento - The Salento area is located in southern Puglia, in the “heel” of the “boot” that comprises geographic Italy. It has a sun-drenched, Mediterranean climate with dramatic landscapes of gently rolling hills dotted with vineyards and olive groves as well as  historic buildings and great food. It also has a thriving wine industry that is gaining increased attention and respect for producing flavorful wines from primarily local varieties such as Primitivo, Negroamaro and Susumaniello. Significantly, there has in recent decades been a dramatic shift away from the hastily-made, rustic wines of Salento’s past towards more structured wines with good aromas and flavors that exhibit a strong sense of the article»

A Tasting and Comparison of Some of the Best Aglianico Wines - Aglianico is one of southern Italy’s best red grape varieties. It shares some characteristics with the Nebbiolo variety of the Piedmont region used to produce the renowned Barolo and Barbaresco wines. Aglianico wines have long had enthusiastic fans in Italy but are just now starting to receive the critical international acclaim and recognition they deserve. I recently had the pleasure of tasting six Aglianico wines that ranged in price from $40 to $51 and were from producers in both the Campania and Basilicata regions of Italy. It was a wonderful opportunity to taste and compare some highly-rated Aglianico the article»

Wines of the Colli Berici DOC - Colli Berici is a DOC of the Veneto wine region in north-eastern Italy. A number of very respectable and interesting red, white and rose wines are produced here but generally go unrecognized outside their local market area. But that may change soon. Marketing initiatives in combination with improvements in wine quality and just plain word-of-mouth endorsements have increased the visibility of Colli Berici wines beyond their traditional market area. The entry of established, marquee-name producers from northern Italy and elsewhere has also raised the profile of Collie Berici wines in recent years the article»

A Tasting of Top-End California Cabernet Wines - I know, California Cabernets have little to do with Italy or Italian wines. But you need to branch out every once in a while, explore new venues and different wines. So in that ecumenical spirit I recently attended a small group tasting of top-rated California Cabernet wines that range in price from $55 to $133. Of the six wines tasted, the clear favorite is Francis Ford Coppola’s 2013 “Archimedes” which retails for $86.

All in all, it was a wonderful group opportunity to taste some highly-rated, expensive wines that might otherwise strain an individual’s the article»

Top Producers from Puglia and Their Must-Try Wines - Puglia’s star continues to rise in the Italian wine firmament. Heir to a winemaking tradition that has its roots in ancient Greek civilization, Puglia has always been one of the most exuberant viticultural areas of Italy. However, for much of modern history rough, rustic wines that were consumed locally or shipped the article»

Twenty Amazing Chianti and Chianti Classico Wines Under $40 - Chianti and Chianti Classico wines are known throughout the world and are generally available at all price points. Listed here are 20 amazing Chianti and Chianti Classico wines all under $40 in price. These wines have with their balance, structure, richness and, yes, elegance made an indelible impression on me and are worth searching out on wine shop the article»

My All-time Favorite Inexpensive Italian Wines - 15 Wines Under $15 - Good tasting, quality wines needn't be expensive. Here are my all-time favorite inexpensive Italian wines, the wines that consistently have the highest quality-to-price ratios of the many I’ve tasted over the years. No matter your income status, this list of 15 Italian wines should be useful for all wine enthusiasts in search of real wine the article»

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 the article»

The Modern Classical White Wines of Campania - The Campania region has long been recognized as the source 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 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 some quality-oriented producers have 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 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 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. 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 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 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 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 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. After anywhere from three to six months the semi-dried grapes are gently pressed and the juice fermented until it reaches the desired level of sweetness and alcohol 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 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 iover the past several decades and in the process has recharged the entire Italian wine the article»

Fifteen Favorite Italian Red Wines Under $20 - Italy is a large and diverse wine market with every one of Italy’s 20 regions producing some quantity of wine. While some well-known estates produce wines that carry triple-digit price tags, these estates represent a tiny minority of Italy’s total production. There are hundreds of talented and passionate winemakers producing quality wines that showcase their region’s diverse terroirs and native grapes at reasonable prices. This article reviews 15 quality Italian red wines that sell for $20 or 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 in central Puglia that holds great promise. The zone takes its name from the octagonally-shaped 13th century castle lying south of the city of Andria 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 the article»

The Winning Wines of Umbria - White wines play a significant role in Umbria today with white wines constituting 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 the article»

Dolcetto Wines - Hiding in Plain Sight - Dolcetto is an early-ripening grape and like many such 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 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 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 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 wines I’ve most enjoyed over the course of the year and that retail for $20 or less 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 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 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 full 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 full 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 full 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 full 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 full article»

Best Value Italian Wines of 2011: Ten Italian Wines under $20 - Here are the best value Italian wines of 2011, the wines that have the highest quality-to-price ratios of all those I’ve tasted in 2011. This list of my favorite value wines includes both red and white wines and should be a useful list for Italian wine cognescenti in this period of diminshed expectations full article»

Amaro - the Better Italian Bitter -The Italian liqueur, Amaro, 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 full 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 full 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 full 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 full article»

Brachetto d'Acqui: A 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 full 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 full 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 full 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.

How did the term “Super-Tuscan” come into being and what exactly does it mean or signify? To answer this you have to full article»

Unexpected Pleasures - More Wines From Off the Beaten Track - 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 full article»

Top Italian Wine Values: Twelve Great Italian Red Wines Under $12 - Italy is a complicated wine country that produces a lot of wine each year, both red and white. Some of Italy’s wines are well known and highly-regarded by the international wine community. They also are frequently quite expensive. But a lot of Italian wine comes from less well-known varieties grown in regions other than Tuscany or the Piedmont that are generally less familiar to American consumers.

Listed below alphabetically by producer are twelve noteworthy red wines that generally retail for $12 or less. These are wines of some character and distinction at wallet-friendly prices. Even though I’ve listed a vintage year for each wine full article»

Tasting of Pre-release 2005 Barolo and 2006 Barbaresco Wines - I recently had the opportunity to taste some of importer Neil Empson’s fine line of Barolo and Barbaresco wines from the 2005 and 2006 vintages, respectively, which have not yet been released for sale. Empson imports wines from around the world but specializes in Italian wines. The company has a stable of remarkable, quality-oriented producers of Barbaresco and Barolo in its line-up that includes Einaudi, Marcarini, Poderi Colla Conterno Fantino, Ca’ Rome’ and Bongiovanni. Below are my notes on the wines tasted recently full article»

My Favorite Italian Red Wines of 2008 - I have had the pleasure of tasting a lot of wines, particularly Italian wines, over the course of the year 2008. While a few have been at best, uninteresting, most have been pretty good and some have been absolutely outstanding and whose tastes have lingered long after the bottles have been tucked away. In the spirit of the new year I want to share with you my top ten favorite Italian red wines for 2008. This obviously is no small task given the thousands of wines full article»

Wines to Drink While Watching the Election Returns - Rather than pairing the wines with food that might be appropriate, pair wines with the platforms and personalities of the candidates. This discerning article on what wines would pair well with the individual candidates for the nation’s highest political office should be of interest to those trying to decide what wines to serve on election night full article»

The Better Barbera - Barbera is the Rodney Dangerfield character of the wine world — that is, it gets no respect from the general wine-consuming public. Although widely available, Barbera wines are not especially well known in the U.S. and are often overlooked in favor of Italy’s more popular Nebbiolo - and Sangiovese-based red wines full 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 tucking into our desserts, the waiter without any prompting, simply announced that he was going to serve us one of Venice’s most famous digestivi full article»

Unexpected Pleasures — Fine Italian Wines From Off the Beaten Track - Italy produces a dizzying array of wines. With grapes growing in virtually every nook and cranny of this boot-shaped country, Italy produces more wine than any other country in the world. Moreover, with its geographically diverse terrain ... read full article»

Best Italian White Wines Under $20 - White wines in Italy are generally overshadowed by red wines. This is not difficult to understand given that Italy’s most internationally famous wines (i.e., Barolo, Barbaresco and Brunello di  Montalcino) are red full article»


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