2011 Poliziano “Lohsa” Morellino di Scansano ($15). Pleasant, exotic, savory aromas almost of garrigue with dried blackberry and fresh huckleberry fruits mingled together. Very enjoyable wine from the emerging Tuscan coastal areas of Maremma.
9 Italian Red Wines
2010 Jacopo Biondi Santi “Braccale” Toscana IGT red wine ($18). An interesting and enjoyable combo of flavors — dark cherries, barrel notes and a hint of balsamic or red vermouth.
2010 Silvio Nardi rosso di Montalcino ($23). Ripe, full flavors of cherry, black raspberry and cassis, yet it is not over-extracted. Moderately lean finish. Quite nice.
My Pick of the Litter: 2008 Banfi brunello di Montalcino ($55). Lightish body but with firm flavors of dark cherries, tobacco, a hint of caramel and some creaminess. A delightful, complex wine that is not overpowering in its tannins.
2008 Silvio Nardi brunello di Montalcino ($54). Good intensity of ripe fruit, but lots of dried-herb savoriness and sangiovese tanginess.
2007 Silvio Nardi “Manachiara” brunello di Montalcino ($77). This single-vineyard brunello is dark and brooding and very savory with lots of attractive wood notes, blueberry moodiness and raspy tannins.
2011 Da Luca Romagna sangiovese superiore ($11). Although they don’t get the headlines that Tuscan sangios do, sangiovese wines from Romagna are often bargains with a slightly different taste profile. This one has dark cherry flavors and typical varietal raspiness in the finish with light tannins. Not complex, yet a very nice wine.
2010 Sartori amarone della Valpolicella ($41). Not a particularly complex wine, but one that has its basic profile — intense but not concentrated dark cherries with a hint of pencil lead — down pat. For a big wine, a very good sipper.
2010 Sant’Antonio “Selezione Castagnedi” amarone della Valpolicella ($45). A real mouthful and a very satisfying one — tight, savory with lots of herbal notes, intense and powerful, yet still lean on the palate. Flavors of cherries, a touch of violets and a few raisiny notes.
2010 Sant’Antonio “Monti Garbi” Valpolicella superiore ripasso ($19). I’m not sure that the ripasso process — using some leftover skins from amarone fermentation for the new fermentation — adds much here. The wine is lean with cherry flavors and hints of green stemminess.
2012 Stlto Terre di Chieti IGT merlot ($10). From Abruzzo, this easy-drinking merlot has a gamy-like fruitiness of cherries and raspberry, chalky minerality and very light tannins.