Cin cin! A Toast to Italian Wine

Posted by    |    April 26th, 2011 at 5:50 am

Map of Italian Wine Picks

Today Kate and I are traveling from the crowded streets of Rome to Florence in the heart of Tuscany! Tuscany is known for its rich history in art, rolling landscapes and, of course, its wine! When planning our trip, Kate and I had our heart set on reserving at least one day to enjoy a wine tour in Tuscany. We decided to skimp on accommodations on this stop and splurge on a killer wine expedition through Chianti and Montalcino.

Italy is one of the world’s foremost wine producers and is responsible for one fifth of the world production of wine. Italy also leads the world in wine consumption –something that I will be contributing to in a big way while I’m here!

Before I left I asked Francois at La Cave Warehouse to put together a list of some super special Italian wines for Lower Oak Lawn readers. Though Francois specializes in French wines, he obliged and came up with six stellar recommendations and tasting notes for wines from some of Italy’s best wine producing regions.

While I’m out exploring Italian wine country this week, you can head in to La Cave and let Francois hook you up with a few Italian treats of your own to try!

Italian Wine Picks

1Casale Dantello, Pinot Grigio 2009

Casale Dantello Pinot Grigio is a light golden color wine with a full body, dry flavor. It has a pleasant aftertaste with a long finish for a Pinot Grigio. This wine is a perfect complement for hors d’ oeuvres and fish dishes and forms an excellent accompaniment for soups and white meats. Drink now – 2013.

Price: $10.99/bottle, $59.50/6 bottles, $112.20/12 bottles

2Cantine Due Palme, Selvarossa Riserva 2005

The Salice Salentino Selvarossa Riserva 2005 is a Gambero Rosso Tre Bicchieri (“Three Glasses”). Wines receiving the Tre Bicchieri award are considered the best in Italy. Angelo Maci has elevated this winery to be the benchmark for the Salice Salentino denomination. The wine is a dark, purple-tinged ruby. There are evident violets on the nose, followed by tobacco, blackberry fruit and spice. The palate is clean, balanced and lightly balsamic, with a long, deep finish revealing cardamom, damson and plum. Very smooth and long. Drink now – 2015.

Price: $24.99/bottle, $135.15/6 bottles, $255/12 bottles

3Farnese, Casale Vecchio Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 2008

The name Farnese is one of Italy’s most illustrious. Over the last 4 centuries, the Farnese wines – albeit encompassing a wide range of the finest terroirs and microclimates throughout Abruzzi – have achieved top reputation for complexity and consistency. A rich, full, fruit-packed Montepulciano d’Abruzzo that undergoes malolactic fermentation in barrique, where it sojourns a further 6 months. Ruby red with garnet hues; the bouquet is intense, fruity, persistent, with notes of dried flowers, spice, licorice and Marasca cherries. This is a full-bodied wine that can be either enjoyed now or aged 3-4 years.  Drink 2010 -2014.

Price: $18.99/bottle, $102.70/6 bottles, $193.80/12 bottles

4Damilano, Barolo Cannubi 2003

If Piedmont had a Grand Cru classification system like the one in Burgundy, the Cannubi vineyard would surely be considered one of the few true Grand Cru vineyards in the Barolo area and also among great Italian wines. This wine is a deep red-ruby color with slight orange hues and has an intense aroma of vanilla and licorice. It is dry and good-bodied with a warm and elegant texture. The finishes are fresh and persistent. Perfect for grilled red meat as well as raw milk cheeses such as cheddar and provolone. 100% Nebbiolo. Drink now -2015.

Price: $79.99/bottle, $432.50/6 bottles, $816/12 bottles

5Allegrini, Amarone della Valpolicella 2003

Allegrini represents the highest expression of Valpolicella wines, with passion for elegance, commitment to excellence, and a long heritage in refined winemaking. Year in, year out, Allegrini wines garner critics’ top ratings, from Gambero Rosso and Robert Parker to The Wine Spectator (93 points) and Wine Advocate (95 points).

As a prime example, the impressive 2003 one della Valpolicella has an opaque purple color with intense aromas of pepper, black cherries, blackberries and truffles. It is full-bodied, super-rich, jammy and complex. The grapes for this wine were dried for four  months prior to being crushed and fermented, giving the wine its voluminous raisin and prune flavors. It is super-ripe, voluptuous and extremely long on the finish. Drink: 2007-2020.

“A modern style wine, with densely packed plum and berry on the nose, with light licorice and eucalyptus notes. Full-bodied and tight, with a core of crushed black fruit, firm tannins and a long, long minerally finish. Very closed now, but should be fantastic after a year or two. Best after 2006.” James Suckling

Price: $89.99/bottle, $486.50/6 bottles, $918/12 bottles

6San Fabiano, Calcinaia, Cellole 2003

Oenologist Carlo Ferrini – the genius credited with creating some of Tuscany’s most famous wines has been named “Wine Maker of the Year” by Gambero Rosso, Italy’s most revered wine authority – has contributed substantially to San Fabiano ascendancy to the elite.

The Cellole is a refined and wonderfully structured Chianti Classico Riserva that is brick red and displays impressive aromas of crushed cherries with hints of cinnamon and tanned leather. Full bodied with lush silky tannins, a solid core of ripe black fruit. Lasting longer than a minute, the caressing finish is accented by rosemary and tobacco. Enjoy with grilled veal chop with balsamic glaze, mushrooms, truffle pastas or risottos, grilled steak and lamb with rosemary or venison tenderloin in a pomegranate sauce.  (GR 2 )  Drink now – 2013

Price: $41.99/bottle, $227/6 bottles, $428.40/12 bottles

La Cave Warehouse
1931 Market Ctr. Blvd. #129
Dallas, Texas 75207
(214) 747-9463