The famous "Sagra dell'uva" (Feast of the grapes) in Marino, a village in the southern hills of Rome. In the end of the video you can see the traditional "wine fountain"...
Sadly we are used to many horrible waterish Chianti that invade the wine market...many bad wines that are spoiling the name of (probably) the most famous Italian wine in the world. For luck it's also possible to find nice, elegant Chianti wines which have nothing in common with those straw-covered bottles that you can find in the souvenir shops...
That's the case of Tenuta Sant'Alfonso, the basic Chianti of Rocca delle Macìe winery. Vintage 2005 has a nice, inviting ruby red...a fresh note of juicy, "crunchy" berries is coming to our nose, together with pepperish spices in a background of a balsamic perfume. Tasting is dominated by freshness and acidity...that's exactly what we would expect from a Sangiovese (the vine of Chianti), but with a component of roundness which donates the necessary balance to the wine.
Let's try it with a typical lasagna made with a juicy heavy meat sauce...
Price in Italian wine stores: 12 euros
Price abroad: about 20 USD
Colterenzio is an association of winemakers, in the region of Bolzano, not very far from the border with Austria. We are in a mountains region and weather here is different from any other part of Italy. The high difference betwen the lowest and the highest temperature in a 24h period represents a perfect micro-climate for a difficult vine like Pinot Noir.
Pinot Nero Cornell 2004 has a bright ruby red...elegant nose with a balsamic note,mixed with a delicate perfume of red flowers and spices such as coriander and cumin...splendid acidity in the mouth, together with adeguate roundness and a sapid note which makes the persistence longer...
I'd match it with pork steaks spiced with fennel seeds.
Price in Italian wine stores: 23 euros
Price abroad: about 35 USD
Conti Zecca is an awsome winery located in the extreme South-East of Italy,a zone of Apulia region called Salento. If you are travelling around there, a visit to the wonderful vinyards of this winery is a must, after visiting the gorgeous Baroque churches of Lecce.
Even if their top wine is Nero, (Negroamaro 70%, Cabernet Sauvignon 30%), today I'd like to introduce you their Terra Riserva, a mix of Negroamaro and Aglianico varieties of grapes. This wine represents for me the perfect example of good relaction betwen quality and price that you can easily find in many of southern italian wines...
Terra Riserva 2004 is showing up an elegant garnet red which invites us to a large,fine bouquet of mature black berries, dried roses, sweet spices and toasted coffee. Silky tannins and long persistence in the mouth.
Try it with long-cooked beef meat, together with Digione mustard.
Price in Italian wine stores: 14 euros
Price abroad: about 20 dollars
Le Vigne di Zamò is an important winery located in Friuli, a region next to the border with Slovenia, famous for its elegant and mineral white wines, which are probably, the best ones in Italy. Today's wine is Ronco delle Acacie, their top wine, made with Chardonnay (60%), Tocai Friulano (35%) and Pinot Blanc (5%). Vintage 2005 is characterized by a bright golden colour but what is surprising us the most is the intensity and finesse of perfumes...yellow flowers (broom, mimosa), tropical fruit, williams pear, pineapple and a gentle note of minerality (I'd say a flintstone) which takes us all along the tasting...strong, round body and an extraordinary harmony among all the components of the wine...
You can try this with marinated salmon but complexity of the wine suggests us even a match with white meats...like Thanksgiving turkey.
Price in Italian wine store: 22 euros
Price abroad: around 40 USD
Another great red from Southern Italy...this time we are in Cirò Marina - Calabria. Librandi winery since many years is keeping the quality of regional wine production very high...the winemaker of this winery is Donato Lanati, one of the best and most famous in Italy, who fights since years, for wines which can express personality and identity of their own territories...
Their best wine is called Gravello (Gaglioppo 60%, Cabernet Sauvignon 40%), whose vintage 2005 is not disappointing the expectations...dark wine...in the color (deep,dense rubin) as much as in the nose...fine recalls of mature blackberries, plums, balsamic herbs are very recognizable...tasting is characterized by silky elegant tannins and by a wonderful balance betwen roundness and mineral note in the end...
Great match with roe deer meat
Price in Italian wine stores: 24 euro.
Price abroad: around 32 euros (northern Europe)
Verdicchio is an indigenous variety from the region of Marche, central eastern Italy, where it finds the best territory to express its potential. We have an example of how elegant and fine a Verdicchio can be in this San Sisto Riserva 2004, produced by famous winery Fazi Battaglia with grapes coming from a single vineyard...a straw/golden yellow creates fat tears on the glass...that gives us already an idea that the wine has a quite high level of alcohol and residual sugar...in the bouquet we can distinguish refined notes which didnt completly develop yet: toasted wood, cinnamon, tobacco but also a delicate nuance of yellow flowers and tropical fruit, mixed together with an enveloping enamelled note...round and warm entrance to the mouth...then we feel acidity and a nice final sapid note...
This wine has a properly round body, too heavy to match with a delicate lobster or shrimps...I'd rather suggest a risotto with porcini mushroms...
Price in Italian wine stores: 16 euro
Price abroad: ?
Probably it's true...this wine is not the most typical red wine from this region...I mean that it does not express really the territory where it comes from. Mater Matuta is a Syrah 85% and Petit Verdot 15% and it's made thinking about a modern way of drinking wine...rounder, softer, maybe easier to understand and not so loved by Italian (or French) traditional producers...lets say that its made with an eye to the market...American and Australian way of drinking, influenced by certain type of press like Wine Spectator, started loving wines with full round body, that dont necessary need to be matched with any food and give you an easy, complete satisfaction...
After this necessary introduction we must admit that Mater Matuta reaches picks of elegance and complexity that not so many red wines produced in the zones around Rome can reach...From the deep rubin, until the muscular, elegant body, with soft, gentle tannins, passing through extraordinay fine notes of mature cherries, sweet spices, tobacco and leather...I would actually underline also a very persistant backtaste which takes us with its graphite and balsamic notes....
We already said that this wine is "enough to itself" but it would be even better to match it with some guinea fowl, cooked with laurel leaves.
Price in Italian wine stores: 25/30 euros
Price abroad: around 33 euros