January 2021 The Dozen

Let’s Do Italian!

Reviews of Italian wines that pair with will Italian and other cuisines.

Before someone kills me for using the term “ethnic” as applied to food – even though anthropologists use the word all the time without it being demeaning or derogatory – or tells me that there is no such things as “Italian” food, I will admit that there is no one taste of wines from Italy that is indicative of all of them.

Further, the late, great Marcella Hazan once told me when I was in her Italian cooking class that there was no such thing as a national “Italian cuisine” but rather only very narrowly defined regional cuisines (although the word “Italian” always cropped up in her cookbook titles). The same thing, of course, applies to Italian wines.

And yet, say the words “Italian reds” and most of us start salivating for the tart taste of Sangiovese or Sagrantino and all those other tannic wines that carry a hint of raspiness in their finish which you won’t find in Bordeaux or Burgundy. Or say “Italian whites,” and visions of enticing floral fruitiness floats through our brains.

Anyway, enough winesplaining. Let’s start up 2021 by drinking Italian.

2019 Cultus Boni “Colmaia” Organic Sangiovese Toscana IGT ($13). Lean with raspy, tart cherries and a somewhat short finish.

2018 Sant’Antonio “Nanfre” Valpolicella Superiore ($14). Rounded cherry and black raspberry fruitiness with some spiciness in the finish.

2016 Il Feuduccio “Fonte Venna” Montepulciano d’Abruzzo ($15). Bright red and purple fruits with a lot of fresh acidity.

2017 Sant’Antonio “Monte Garbi” Valpolicella Superiore Ripasso ($20).  Good intensity with medium body, cherry and black raspberry fruitiness, a hint of cream with good tannins and acidity.

2018 Badia a Coltibuono Chianti Classico ($22). Still tight and a little young with “warm” flavors of concentrated fruit and mild tannins.
2016 Masciarelli “Marina Cvetic” Montepulciano d’Abruzzo ($27). A little puckery with lots of acidity, dark fruits and pleasant bitters around the edges.

2015 Masciarelli “Marina Cvetic Iskra” Montepulciano d’Abruzzo ($34). Here, more barrel notes and a bit of a cake-y flavor to go along with the dark fruits and lots of acidity – very nice food wine.

2016 Badia a Coltibuono Chianti Classico Riserva ($37). An elegant wine with good integration of fruit, barrels and tannins with a very inviting mouth feel.

2015 Reversanti Barolo ($38). Somewhat light for a Barolo, but with enjoyable tart cherry flavors and a long finish.

2016 Sant’Antonio Amarone della Valpolicella ($47). Solid, somewhat complex flavors of dried red fruits, light smokiness, walnuts, a little chocolate and earthiness.

2015 Badia a Coltibuono “Montebello” Toscana IGT ($62). A delightful blend, very complex with both ripe and tart cherry flavors, some chalkiness and some raspiness – a lot going on in this wine, and all of it is good.

2015 Sant’Antonio “Campo dei Gigli” Amarone della Valpolicella ($65). Lovely, spicy, old-barrel flavors with plenty of dusty tannins.


Prices listed are generally SRP or from wine-searcher.com.

Photo credit:  Storiès / unsplash.com

Roger Morris writes about wine, food and travel for The World of Fine Wine, Drinks Business, Meininger's Wine Business International, Wine Enthusiast and other publications in the U.S. and Europe.

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