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Easter brunches and dinners are not necessarily heavy meals which places the wines of Italy at an advantage in creating a balance at the table. Of course, all this is predicated on how much one drinks. Typically, the white wines of Northern Italy are light in body, delicate in the fruit profile and flinty or mineral infused to create a sense of complexity. This is why everyone loves them, or should. The reds of Northern Italy can go either way; Barolo and Barbaresco come from the same general area as Dolcetto and Barbera and there is a world of difference between the two groups. Of the reds we will sample, Barbera would seem the better choice for an Easter brunch and Rosso di Montalcino for dinner. The whites are good any time and would serve well as an apéritif.
2006 Rocca delle Macie Orvieto Classico, Umbria
Regular price 11.99; Our price 8.99
This delightful white wine from the heart of the Classico dell’Orvietano in Umbria is a blend of 50% Trebbiano Toscano, 20% Verdelho, 20% di Grechetto-Drupeggio, and 10% Malvasia Toscana (probably more than you needed to know). The color is pale straw with green reflections. The wine is quite fruity and fresh, showing some elegance and finishes dry with a slight note of bitter almonds in the aftertaste.
2006 Canaletto Muller Thurgau, Trentino
Regular price 9.99; Our price 8.50
Muller-Thurgau is grown primarily in Germany (where it is planted more than any other grape). Wine made from this grape is usually dry to semi-dry and is lightly aromatic. Muller-Thurgau is a variety that was created in the late 19th century as a cross between Riesling and Sylvaner. It is early maturing and can grow well in cool climates, which makes it a good candidate for growing in Trentino which is located in the foothills of the Alps The wine has peach-like aromatics and is fruity in the mouth. It is light and refreshing and shows crisp citrus flavors in the finish.
2005 Cantine Riondo Spago d’Oro Pinot Grigio, Veneto
Regular price 11.95; Our price 8.99
This Veneto version of Pinot Grigio is light and fruity, showing textbook qualities we associate with the varietal: flowers, and fruit, with the typical mineral strain much in evidence. It is dry, with good acid and has a moderate length.
2004 Tenute dei Vallarino Barbera d’Asti, “La Ladra”, Piemonte
Regular price 14.99; Our price 7.99
Tenute dei Vallarino is part of Fratelli Gancia, one of the grand old houses of Italian sparkling wine. Its perfumed fruit coincides with complex minerality and is actually complex in a classy way. It has good body and texture, plenty of succulent black fruit and is balanced with refreshing acidity.
2007 Fontanafredda Barbera d’Asti, “Briccotondo” Piemonte
Regular price 11.99; Our price 9.99
The wine was aged partly in new barrels made of oak from Allier, and partly in large Slavonian oak casks. It stayed in wood for around five months and was bottled in late spring. The nose is packed with black fruit, especially blackberries and plums, with slight spicy overtones hinting at black pepper and cinnamon. Sweet, soft tannins come together in a closely-woven texture that merges with the fruit, while a crisp freshness provides a long, tasty finish. It received a 90- points rating and a “Best Buy” designate from Wine Spectator magazine. Wine & Spirits Magazine also gave it a 90-point rating.
2004 Fattoria Pinino Rosso di Montalcino, Tuscany
Regular price 24.00; Our price 15.95
Rosso di Montalcino is produced from the same grape as Brunello, Sangiovese Grosso. In is produced with a much shorter period of maturation and is ready for drinking only two years after the vintage. This wine is harmonious, elegant and spicy and a perfect match to a large variety of meals. It can be enjoyed while young and does not necessarily have to be aged, although it matures well with increasing age and the tannins become even more elegant. Great price, but limited stock.