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.

2007 Emidio Pepe Montepulciano d'Abruzzo, Italy, Abruzzi, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2007
Score: 
95
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$200.00USD

The vast majority of wines from Abruzzi are quaffable/forgettable inexpensive red wines.  This is neither of those.  Emidio Pepe is one of the great producers of wine in Italy.  His red and white wines are both expensive and sublime.  They can age for decades.  This 2007 is just beginning to hit full maturity.  Deep ruby in color, mostly clear and bright.  The nose is complex with cherries, black cherries, baking spices, slight tarragon, and tar.  Dull bodied.  A strong streak of acidity (this is Italy).  Full bodied.  On the palate, layers of cherries and black cherries with underlying tar

2010 Fontodi Chianti Classico Gran Selezione Vigna del Sorbo, Italy, Tuscany, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2010
Score: 
97
Grade: 
A+
Current Price: 
$90.00USD

One of my evil guilty pleasures is to put this on the table with non wine geeks and see if they drink it.  Usually, they don't, but the ones who do are impressed.  Some will just see that it is a Chianti and think it can't be any good.  This is possibly the best that Chianti offers and certainly one of the top wines that Italy offers.  Although expensive, given that, it is priced fairly.  At age 10, this is still young and needs more air though with a few hours, it drank well.  Deep garnet with purple streaks, mostly opaque and bright.  The nose is great with black cherries, cherries, black

2016 Produttori del Barbaresco Barbaresco, Italy, Piedmont, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2016
Score: 
94
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$40.00USD

From one of the best Co-Ops making wine anywhere in the world, this is their base level Barbaresco.  And, as they seem to do a few times every decade, they nailed it in 2016.  Ruby in color, clear and bright.  The nose is great with cherries, spices, forest floor and slight mint.  On the palate, this has a lovely lush texture.

2012 Lunarossa Borgomastro Colli di Salerno IGT, Italy

Vintage: 
2012
Score: 
88
Grade: 
B+

This is a wine from Campania in south/central Italy.  It is made 100% from Aglianico grapes.  Deep purple in color, opaque and bright.  There is a lot of Brettanomyces yeast on the nose giving it a heavy barnyard scent.  This will often be different in different bottles, but given the level in the bottle I had, it will be problematic for some.  I am relatively tolerant of the scent but it made it difficult to get anything else on the nose.  Luckily, it was a bit cleaner on the palate.  Black cherry fruit of an earthiness.  Nice texture.  Good acidity.  Moderate finish.  This will work bette

2016 Castello di Ama Chianti Classico Gran Selezione San Lorenzo, Italy, Tuscany, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2016
Score: 
95
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$45.00USD

What a great vintage 2016 ha turned out to be for Chianti in general and this one in particular.  Not the cheapest Chianti, but this is outstanding.  Deep ruby/purple in color, mostly opaque and bright.  The nose is great with cherries, black cherries, sandalwood and tea leaves.  Medium bodied.  Great balance.  Lovely acidity.  Spry.  On the palate, lots of lush black cherry fruit with underlying forest floor.  Clean.  Deep.  Long finish.  This will continue to mature for another five to eight years and drink well for a decade after that.  A nice match for pasts of all kinds.  

2017 Tenuta San Guido Bolgheri Sassicaia Sassicaia, Italy, Tuscany, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2017
Score: 
95
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$200.00USD

This showed well despite its youthfulness but its best days are certainly ahead.  A blend of 85 % Cabernet Sauvignon 15 % Cabernet Franc.  Inky purple in color, opaque and bright.  The nose has cassis, cedar, and spice.  On the palate, plenty of cassis fruit.  Very firm tannins.  Lots of depth but its hard to see the bottom.  Tight but does show a lot of fruit with a very nice texture.  It is delicious today but would recommend 8 hours of air if opening.  This should continue to mature and improve over the next decade or more and drink well for ten to fifteen more after that.  Right now it

2015 Agricola San Felice Chianti Classico Gran Selezione Il Grigio, Italy, Tuscany, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2015
Score: 
90
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$35.00USD

There are so many truly great values in 2015/2016 Chiant's that this one was a bit disappointing.  That is a bit harsh, as this is an excellent wine.  But for the price and pedigree, more was expected (which is perhaps a bit unfair).  Purple in color, ruby at the rim, mostly opaque and bright.  The nose has cherries, slight coffee and a bit of forest floor.  Medium bodied.  On the palate, ripe fruit.  Not the level of acidity that I come to expect in chianti, but some.  Light tannins.  Cherry fruit with underlying dust and earthiness.  Good finish.  Perhaps this is a bit shut down at this p

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