Top Ten Italian Red Wines - 2016

I tend to taste and drink a lot of wine over the course of a year. I am in a few tasting groups, sometimes the wines are consumed at various local wine store tastings and a number drunk with friends and family.

2010 Giacomo Grimaldi Barolo, Italy, Piedmont, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2010
Score: 
86
Grade: 
B
Current Price: 
$52.00USD

This was a bit disappointing but an example proving that you often get what you pay for.  This was $30 on release, from a great vintage.  It seemed like a no brainer, and it's ok.  Hopefully, it will still improve a bit as it is young.  Light ruby in color.  The nose has some cherries and baking spice.  On the palate, the cherries continue.  Pretty one dimensional.  Medium tannins.  Good acidity.  It needs food and will go with just about anything.  Overall, the wine is a nice wine, that will work at the dinner table and was not expensive.  But, there is nothing I taste to suggest Barolo. 

2007 Vietti Barolo Castiglione, Italy, Piedmont, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2007
Score: 
92
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$55.00USD

This is the basic Barolo from Vietti although don't forget about their Perbacco which is a Nebbiolo that is a spectacular value.  This is in a good place right now if still a bit on the young side.  It was around $53 on release and can still be found for close to that.  If opening soon, give it a decant of a few hours.  Lighter ruby in color with hints of orange.  The nose is great with gorgeous cherries, tar and roses.  Complex and deep.  It is not quite as expressive or complex on the palate.  Perhaps that is something that further cellaring will bring.  It does have lovely fresh cherries

2017 Vigneti Zanatta Vermentino di Sardegna Orion, Italy, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2017
Score: 
88
Grade: 
B+
Current Price: 
$15.00USD

This is an inexpensive easy white from Sardinia.  Light gold/green in color.  The nose is more about minerals and smoke but there is some lime.  On the palate, this has a nice, slightly oily texture.  Nice mineral drive lime with good acidity.  Nice finish.  This makes easy drinking on its own but also works well with light foods.  A nice party wine.  

2004 Il Poggione (Proprietá Franceschi) Brunello di Montalcino, Italy, Tuscany, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2004
Score: 
93
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$65.00USD

Pop and pour, this wine is in a great place right now.  Ruby in color with some garnet swirls.  The nose is great with cherries, slight funk, and tea leaves.  On the palate, this has great acidity.  Lots of cherries with some dried cherries over some forest floor flavors.  Good finish.  This is past its time as a fruit bomb though it has plenty left.  It is developing some lovely tertiary qualities.  Of course, it needs some great pasta or other Italian foods on the dinner tables.  

2004 Bruno Giacosa Barolo Vigna Croera di La Morra, Italy, Piedmont, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2004
Score: 
94
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$125.00USD

I was looking for a nice Barolo to take to a friends dinner party.  This was in the cellar and I neglected to check my own notes for this wine.  It was just as tight as a bottle opened last May.  It really needs time and to be decanted.  That said, with some vigorous swirling it did open up and provided an enjoyable experience.  Ruby in color.  The nose takes some time but eventually show some cherries, roses and slight tar.  On the palate, this has tight layering which has cherries, earth and slight forest floor notes.  Nice acidity.  Good finish.  Went very well with some stuffed Portabel

2009 Braida (Giacomo Bologna) Barbera d'Asti Bricco dell'Uccellone, Italy, Piedmont, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2009
Score: 
94
Grade: 
Current Price: 
$64.98USD

Always a treat to try one of the most iconic Barbera's made.  And, to get a chance to try one with ten years on it is a real treat.  The wine did not disappoint.  Deep ruby in color.  The nose has cranberries, slight sour cherries and a very interesting mint note.  This is a big fruit wine (especially for Barbera) with nice cherries and red currants.  There is also a strong backbone of acidity that helps this work so well with food.  Deep and some complexity, it still seems like it could go another decade with no problem.  This can handle the hearties of meat dishes but is lively enough for

NV Martini & Rossi Prosecco, Italy, Veneto, Wine Review

Score: 
87
Grade: 
B
Current Price: 
$10.00USD

Everyone knows this label but how many people have actually tried it.  This was served to a group of casual wine lovers and proved to be very popular.  Very, very pale silvery gold in color.  Almost like water.  The nose is nice but it did take about 20 minutes to open.  Minerals, slight peach and slight ginger ale.  On the palate, this is dry with nice minerality.  It starts out tight but picks up on the mid-palate.  Slightly sour in a good way on the long finish.  It really begs for some salty food.  For $10, this is a nice value.  

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