The Dozen Vol. 25 No. 06 Wine

The Dozen – Northern Italian Wines & Beyond

Some great wines, mainly pricey cellar selections, but with a few great-for-the-price choices.


And so, we are back in Italy, as we often are, because it has so many great wines.  With one exception, these twelve are from the island of Sardinia (Sardegna) or areas in the north such as Bolgheri and Barolo.  It’s also a great group for exploring styles and varieties.

Pull up a corkscrew and enjoy being able to drink without first taking off a mask.

2020 Surrau “Limizzani” Vermentino di Galluria ($14). Crisp with lots of lively spritz and floral-green, Sauvignon-like flavors.

2019 Surrau “Sciala” Vermentino di Gallura Superiore ($27). Softer and rounder than the Limizzani, with a spicy spritz and tart green fruits to go along with a kick of apple.

2017 Pio Cesare “Piodilei” Langhe Chardonnay ($48).  Tart apples and mellow wood flavors along with some aperitif-style herbal notes. Nice depth and complexity.

2019 Le Macchiole “Paleo” Tuscan Bianco ($87). Light, elegant, smooth with creamy green fruitiness and a well-integrated, toasty finish.

2020 Fiol Prosecco Extra Dry Rosé ($24). A big mouthful of bubbles with clean, fresh cherry and candied fruit flavors.

2019 Surrau “Naracu” Cannonau di Sardegna ($16). Nicely structured Grenache – lean, tart, and tannic, but with dark cherry fruitiness.

2017 Surani “Heracles” Primitivo di Madura ($19). Our one wine from the south, this well-priced red can certainly hold its own with the northerners – absolutely delicious with rich but not heavy blackberry and cherry fruitiness, mild tannins, and good acidity. It would do well with hamburgers or fine cheeses.

2019 Surrau “Surrau” Isola dei Nuraghi ($27). Medium weight, crisp, with tart red fruit flavors.

2019 Le Macchiole Bolgheri Rosso ($34). A Bordeaux blend with 10% Syrah, it has nicely integrated red fruits and wood flavors. It is lightly tannic but a little short on the palate.

2017 Pio Cesare Barolo ($82). Pio Cesare can always be counted on to deliver classic Barolo – lovely richness of texture with flavors of tobacco, dried fruits, bacon, and other savory notes. Still very tight and tannic.  There is also a 2017 Pio Cesare Serralunga d’Alba Barolo that is not easy to find in the U.S.  It is similar to the standard Barolo, but more cherry fruitiness and dried spices, although with the same great structural characteristics.  Either would go great with a bloody steak.

2017 Le Macchiole “Paleo” Bolgheri ($117). Quite tart and crisp – a Cabernet Franc with lots of raspberry flavors, good oak notes, and dusty tannins.

2017 Le Macchiole “Scrio” Toscano ($169).  Syrah is getting more interest from Tuscan growers, and here it is of soft texture with no rough edges – muddled dark cherry and other fruits with some earthy chocolate notes.

Prices listed are generally SRP or from As more wineries are now shipping direct-to-consumer, check the winery website if you can’t find a bottle in your retail store.

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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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