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.

2013 Pakravan Papi Montescudaio Campo del Pari, Italy, Tuscany, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2013
Score: 
90
Grade: 
A-

Reason to check out the sales bin at grocery stores and talk with the managers.  This is an Italian (Tuscan) Merlot marked down from $45 to $30.  Is it amazing?  No.  Is it a nice value and a chance to try a new wine?  Yes.  Purple in color.  The nose has plums, slight chocolate and cherries.  On the palate, this is not real ripe.  Plums, black cherries with underlying hay and dry forest floor.  Decent acidity.  Nice finish.  Food friendly.  Easy drinking with a bit of depth.  

2017 Ottella Lugana Le Creete, Italy, Veneto, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2017
Score: 
90
Grade: 
A-

This is a wine made from the Trebbiano grape on the shores of Lake Garda from the Lugano DOC.  Light golden in color.  Lovely nose of tropical fruit, slight grassiness and underlying minerality.  Very Sauvginon-like.  On the palate, this is round and slightly oily.  Velvety.  Very nice texture.   NIce acidity.  Just a bit of lemony fruit with good minerality.  Nice finish.  Very food friendly and a crowd favorite.  

2010 Giuseppe Rinaldi Barolo Tre Tine, Italy, Piedmont, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2010
Score: 
93
Grade: 
A

This was pop and pour and it needed more air.  Of course very young, but still, this was excellent.  Ruby in color.  The nose has cherries, floral notes and slight tar.  On the palate, this is tannic.  Fresh acidity cuts across the tannins though revealing nice cherry fruit.  Showing some tight layering already. Great mouthfeel.  Of course, this begs for some hearty food.  Even more, another ten years in a good cellar should show some improvement.  

2013 Fontodi Syrah Case Via Colli della Toscana Centrale IGT, Italy, Tuscany, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2017
Score: 
93
Grade: 
A

One of the best Syrahs from Italy (not exactly a great compliment) and from one of the best wineries in Tuscany.  Inky purple in color.  The nose has a slight aquarium note and one wonders how long this has sat on a warm shelf (if at all).  Mostly, that is a question because these often don't sell without encouragement from a shop owner or sommelier.  On the palate, it seems much fresher.  Nice acidity.  Black cherry fruit.  Light tannins.  It takes some time but opens in the glass.  A unique expression of Syrah, the vineyards are warm but the profile is a bit cooler.  There is some depth. 

2013 Altesino Brunello di Montalcino, Italy, Tuscany, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2013
Score: 
91
Grade: 
A-

Ruby in color, clear and bright.  The nose is dusty with cherries and a slight root beer note.  Strong tannins!  Sour cherry fruit on the palate.  Good acidity.  Some depth.  Despite the youth and tannins, this has a lovely elegance to it.  This really demands food.  It will work with a wide variety of pasta dishes with or without meats.  Should continue to improve for a few years and be good for another 15 after that.  Retails for $65.  

2014 Villa Pillo Borgoforte Toscana IGT, Italy, Tuscany, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2014
Score: 
88
Grade: 
B+

This Super Tuscan blend has Sangiovese, Cabernet, Cabernet Franc and Merlot.  It retails for $15 which is a fair price.  The nose is dusty with cherries.  This is a relatively simple wine but good and easy drinking.  There is a bit of an under ripe vegetal note but not bad.  Good acidity.  This would work nicely with pizza or pasta or at a local Italian place.  

2013 Cantine Bonacchi Brunello di Montalcino Molino del Piano, Italy, Tuscany, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2013
Score: 
93
Grade: 
A

2013 was a more traditional year in Brunello lending itself to more elegance and less full bodied wines.  Whether that is good or bad is in the eye of the beholder or drinker.  Ruby in color.  The nose has cherries, dried cherries with an underlying sandalwood.  On the palate, this is soft but complex.  Nice cherry and dried cherry fruit.  A bit of tea leaves.  Of course, great with Italian foods but will work nicely with beef dishes too.  This is a very pretty and elegant wine.  Just lovely but don't expect a big wine.  

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