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.

2012 Catabbo Molise Tintilia del Molise Riserva, Italy, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2012
Score: 
88
Grade: 
B+
Current Price: 
$30.00USD

This is a Riserva (the 2013 regular version is reviewed separately).  Frankly, this was not as good as the regular and cost $10 more.  Now, that may be a vintage thing and I don't have a lot of experience with this grape (Tintilia) or region (Molise).  Purple in color, ruby at the rim.  The nose has boysenberries and smoke.  On the palate, this has some boysenberries but not a lot.  A slight bitter note on the finish.  Some acidity.  Its a fine wine that is drinking well right now but not the value the regular bottling is.  Perhaps it is just in an awkward phase and needs time.  

2013 Catabbo I.A.C. Molise Tintilia del Molise, Italy, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2013
Score: 
90
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$20.00USD

Every year I get invited to a St. Joseph's day celebration by a friend who is originally from Molise.  It's a BYO event at a local hall with hundreds of people, tons of homemade food and a lot of fun.  I try to bring appropriate wines.  There are not a lot of wines made in Molisse and available here in the US.  This one retails for about $20 and is really good and a bit different.  Tintilia is the name of the grape.  I liked this vintage slightly more than a 2011 I had a couple  of years ago.  Purple in color.

2014 Aeris Wines Etna Bianco Superiore, Italy, Sicily, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2014
Score: 
94
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$70.00USD

This is an Italian white from Kevin Harvey.  If that name sounds familiar, he is the owner of Rhys in Santa Cruz, California and a maker of wonderful Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs.  This is his first vintage and is made from the Carricante grape, a white grape indigenous to Sicily.  The wine itself is delicious.  Light golden in color.  The nose is reminiscent of a Hermitage Blanc.  It is very waxy with lemon curd.  There is also a slightly smokiness to it.  On the palate, this has great acidity.  The wine is fresh with lots of energy.  The lemon curd carries thru but there is also a nice und

2007 Domenico Clerico Barolo Pajana, Italy, Piedmont, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2007
Score: 
93
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$105.00USD

This is at the beginning stages of being ready to drink.  It probably should have been decanted, but, so it goes.  Deep ruby (dark for Barolo) in color.  The nose is really interesting with cherries, soy sauce, slight tar and anise.  On the palate, this has firm tannins.  Black cherry and cherry fruit with a nice char underneath.  Good acidity.  Long finish.  This worked quite well with a pasta dish (duh).  It should easily go another decade and closer to two.  While at one time this was a very modern Barolo, at least this vintage seems a bit more restrained or perhaps the oak and tannins h

2006 La Rasina Brunello di Montalcino, Italy, Tuscany, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2006
Score: 
90
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$140.00USD

This was purchased on release ($30) and stored.  It is drinking well now and a good value if not trying to source it now.  Ruby in color.  The nose has cherries, tea leaves, spice and slight roasted herb.  On the palate, this has nice acidity and begs for food.  Went great with Eggplant Parmesan.  Lots of juicy cherries with a slight raisin note.  Good finish.  Probably at peak but still has some time left.  

2007 Passopisciaro Sicilia Passopisciaro, Italy, Sicily, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2007
Score: 
92
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$0.00USD

Very nice showing for this wine which seems to be at the younger side of peak right now.  Grown on the side of Mount Etna and made from Nero Mascalese.  It drinks very much like a smoky Pinot Noir.  Garnet in color.  The nose has cherries and underlying char.  On the palate, wispy tannins.  Lots of cherries with depth and concentration.  Great acidity.  Long finish.  This is a very interesting wine that demands contemplation but is also quite tasty.  Will work great with pasta, veggies and medium and lighter foods.  

2014 Cantine Fina Caro Maestro, Italy, Sicily, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2014
Score: 
89
Grade: 
Current Price: 
$25.00USD

This is a Bordeaux blend from Western Sicily.  It a nice affordable wine that is enjoyable and will hold and improve a bit for a few years in a good cellar.  It is a modern, internationally styled wine, but still has a certain continental quality to it.  Purple in color.  The nose has nice cherry fruit with a bit of spice and slight cedar.  On the palate, there are some tannins.  Nice cherry fruit.  Good acidity.  Nice finish.  Easy drinking and will work with a wide variety of foods.  It won't get much better, but perhaps a bit.  It should be drunk by 2025.  

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