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.

NV Calafè Greco di Tufo Kami, Italy, Campagna, Greco di Tufo, Wine Review

Score: 
88
Grade: 
B+

This was my second time trying this wine.  The first time was on it's own, but this time was in a blind tasting of Sparkling wines (mostly Champagnes) and it did not fare as well.  It showed fine, but was the groups and mine's last place wine.  That could be because it was so different as this is made from Greco di Tufo while most were made from Chardonnay or that it had less acidity than the others.  Blind tasting offers some levels of objectivity and then introduces other prejudices.  Context when drinking wine is very important.  In any event, this is light yellow gold in color.  The nos

2009 Cantine del Notaio Aglianico del Vulture Il Sigillo, Italy, Basilicata, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2009
Score: 
94
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$65.00USD

This was smoking good.  My first time trying this although I have had this winery's lower end offerings before.  My understanding is that this wine is made in the same method as Amarone.  The grapes are dried out on straw mats prior to being crushed, but the wine is fermented (mostly) dry.  This is a robust and delicious wine.  Purple in color.  The nose has black cherries, cherries, tobacco, slight  roasted herbs, anise and smoke.  Full bodied.  Dry.  On the palate flavors of black raspberries, black cherries over burnt forest floor.  Great texture.  Complex and layered depth.  Good acidit

2010 Cantine del Notaio Aglianico del Vulture La Firma, Italy, Basilicata, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2010
Score: 
92
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$43.00USD

From the arch in the Italian boot.  This wine is consistently a great value.  It does takes some time to mature, so finding the 2010 was a treat.  Made from the Aglianico grape.  This is deep ruby in color.  The nose has black cherries, smoke, slight anise and a nice minerality.  Full bodied.  This is ripe with nice black cherry fruit.  Underneath is a nice smoky minerality.  Very nice texture.  Good acidity.  Long finish.  This is a tasty wine that will work well on its own (not common for Italian wines) or with food (the way Italians drink wine!).  It might improve a bit more but should b

2015 Cantine del Notaio Aglianico del Vulture Il Repertorio, Italy, Basilicata, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2015
Score: 
90
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$40.00USD

This is a very nice wine made from the Aglianico grape in southern Italy (think the arch of the foot).  Aglianico can be one of the more tannic grapes.  It often needs a lot of cellaring to come around but also can be quite long lived.  Purple in color, slight ruby rim.  The nose is nice with black cherries, black pepper, roasted herbs, and slight anise.  On the palate, this has strong tannins.  Bright black cherry fruit with good acidity.  This will need at least five years to show much and better to give it ten.  It should be good for another ten to fifteen, at least, after that.  It is v

2015 Ruffino Chianti Classico Riserva Ducale, Italy, Tuscany, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2015
Score: 
88
Grade: 
B+
Current Price: 
$18.00USD

This is such an underrated bottle of wine.  It gets so easy to dismiss Chianti and especially those that are not the top bottlings of good producers.  This is a really good bottle of wine and its available for under $20.  Ruby in color.  The nose has cherries, tea leaves, char and slight anise.  On the palate, this is medium bodied with light tannins.  A nice backbone of acidity.  Flavors of cherries with some underlying forest floor.  Good finish.  This should be good for the next ten years.  It went great with pasta and will work with most foods.  A great pizza wine.  

2004 Renato Ratti Barolo Marcenasco, Italy, Piedmont, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2004
Score: 
91
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$56.00USD

This is in a great place right now.  Ruby in color with slight browning.  The nose has cherries, slight raspberries, slight tar and slight forest floor.  Medium bodied.  Tannins are mostly resolved.  On the palate, nice cherry notes with some forest floor underneath.  Good acidity.  Nice finish.  This is at peak.  it should be consumed over the next five to seven years.  It goes great with pasta and cream sauce and will work well with meat based dishes too.  

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