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

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

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

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.  

2015 Fontella Chianti, Italy, Tuscany, Wine Review

Looking for a great value?  Be sure to check out the 2015 Chianti's.  This one retails for $10 and is very good.  A bit modern in style and easy to drink.  Ruby in color.  The nose has black cherries and slight dry forest floor notes.  A bit of baking spices.  On the palate, there is a nice acidity here.  Cherry and black cherry fruit.  Round corners make it easy to drink on its own but of course, great for pizza and pasta.  This probably is better drunk in the next few years.  

2015 Luna Vineyards Canto, USA, California, Napa, Wine Review

This is an excellent wine.  A blend of 50% Sangiovese, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 30% Merlot with grapes from Atlas Peak and Howell Mountain in Napa Valley.  Consumed over two days, this was better on Day 2.  Purple in color.  On day one, the nose shows black cherries, slight cedar and a clove/bitters quality to it that is very interesting.  On the palate, this is not a big, bold wine.  Rather, there are plenty of concentrated fruits, mostly cherries and black cherries with a slight bitterness (again in a good way) to it.  On Day 2 (re-corked and left on the counter), this wine really open

2004 Antinori Chianti Classico Pèppoli, Italy, Tuscany, Wine Review

Another in a series of 2004 Chianti Classicos.  This is also drinking quite well.  At peak or ever so slightly past but still with freshness and life.  Ruby in color.  The nose has cherries, dried cherries, sandalwood and dry tea.  On the palate, this has lively acidity.  Nice texture.  Lots of cherries with underlying spice.  Good finish.  Food friendly.  Drink in the next three to five years.  

2004 Marchesi de' Frescobaldi Chianti Rùfina Nipozzano Riserva, Italy, Tuscany, Wine Review

This bottle retailed for around $25 on release.  At age 14 years from vintage, it is drinking quite well.  It is certainly at peak (or just past) and won't get better from here, but what a nice experience.  Ruby/purple in color.  The nose has cherries, dried cherries, black cherries, dried tea leaves, slight spice and some dried leather.  On the palate, this has vibrant cherries fruit along with some dried cherries and forest floor notes.  No tannins left.  Some layering.  Moderate complexity.  Nice acidity.  Works well with pasta, pizza and medium bodied foods.  Drink up in the next few ye

2010 Fontodi Chianti Classico, Italy, Tuscany, Wine Review

As basic Chianti's go, this is one of the best.  It is also one of the most expensive at around $30.  It is drinking quite well right now but needs a bit of air still.  Purple in color, ruby at the rim.  The nose has black cherries, tea leaves, dust and spice.  On the palate, this has a lovely texture.  Juicy black cherry fruit with underlying bits of damp forest floor.  A nice backbone of acidity.  Deep and complex, it unwinds in the glass.  Nice finish.  This works with a wide variety of foods.  Still about 3 to 5 years from peak I would think and it will be good for a while after that. 

2006 Tenuta San Guido Bolgheri Sassicaia Sassicaia, Italy, Tuscany, Wine Review

Wow.  Great wine.  Pop and pour, this got better or at least kept opening up all night.  Purple in color with a ruby rim.  Gorgeous nose of cassis, cigar box, nutmeg, and cherries.  On the palate, this has great layering that unwinds in the glass.  Cherries, cassis, earth and tobacco.  A nice backbone of acidity helps it work well with foods.  Delicious but complex.  If still youthful, not too far from peak but at least a couple of decades of life left.  Long finish.  

2012 Casanova di Neri Brunello di Montalcino, Italy, Tuscany, Wine Review

This was drinking quite well although it has years left.  Purple in color, ruby at the rim.  The nose is very nice with black cherries, cedar, chocolate and cigar box.  On the palate, this is youthful but ageing well.  Layers of cherries, black cherries and tobacco.  A nice back bone of acidity.  Good finish.  This can be drunk along but shines with food.  Obviously Italian food but really a wide variety.  Probably about 5 years from peak and should be there for 8 to 10.