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It is instructive to sample the red wines of the Piemonte next to that of Toscana because the grapes are completely different. While Piedmont concentrates on Nebbiolo, Barbara and Dolcetto, Tuscany concerns itself primarily with Sangiovese. All other grapes are considered minor and take a small part in blends.
2012 Rubentino Chianti, Tuscany
LIST PRICE 12.00; OUR PRICE 9.99
The Chianti blend from this sub region of Tuscany has evolved over time, adapting to shifts in consumer preference and advances in vineyard technology. There was significant controversy when the Chianti appellation laws officially sanctioned the red Bordeaux varieties Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot for use (up to 15 percent) in Chianti wines. Purists viewed this change with a mix of suspicion and regret, while others welcomed the dark-fruit aromas and depth of color the Bordeaux varieties bring to Chianti. The typical wine made from this blend shows aromas of red fruits, violets, dried herbs and bitter cherries.
2008 Rubentino Chianti Riserva, Tuscany
LIST PRICE 18.00; OUR PRICE 14.99
This Rubentino Riserva, has been aged in barrel a minimum of three years (the minimum for Riserva is two years), and is blended from 90% Sangiovese and 10% Canaiolo grapes. So while you get the same light, tart, zesty tomato and pepper notes of a true Sangiovese, this wine has more depth, more elegance, and a bit more tannin and boldness to it. It is perfect with any sort of red-sauced Italian meal, and will pair well with steaks. Look for elements of black pepper, charred wood, cherries, earth tones, herbs, tart cherry and tomato.
2012 Govone Barbera d’Alba, Piedmont
LIST PRICE 14.00; OUR PRICE 11.99
The Govone Winery is situated on the left bank of the Tanaro River in Piedmont between the cities of Asti and Alba and is overlooked by the magnificent 18th century Savoy royal palace. It was founded in 1957 by a handful of local winemakers and has since grown significantly to over 200 associate producers who cultivate vineyards over an area of 300 acres. This Barbara undergoes maceration lasting 8 to 10 days in stainless-steel vats. After fermentation, the wine is stabilized allowing all impurities still present to filter down before bottling. The wine has a bouquet of fresh berry fruits and a dry delicate flavor with slight tannin overtones. It is a perfect accompaniment to white and red meat dishes, wild game and cheeses.
2010 Govone Barbaresco, Piedmont
LIST PRICE 28.00; OUR PRICE 24.50
The Nebbiolo grape in Piedmont has two personalities—the dark, brutish wines of Barolo and the elegant, striking wines of Barbaresco. The wines are often light in color, but filled with tart berry flavors mixed with flavors of dry earth, spices, and potpourri. The fermentation is 15 days in stainless steel vats at controlled temperatures of 80 to 95°F. The wine is aged for 2 years in oak barrels then bottle aged for another year. It has a gentle floral and fruity bouquet with slight woody aromas. The flavor is well structured dry, full-bodied and well-balanced. It is a perfect accompaniment to meals including beef, wild game and aged cheeses.
2009 Govone Barolo, Piedmont
LIST PRICE 40.00; OUR PRICE 35.00
Like the Barbaresco, the grapes spend 15 days in stainless steel vats at controlled temperatures. The wine is aged for 3 years in oak barrels then bottle aged for another year. It shows a floral, fruity bouquet with some wood/cedar aromas. It has a robust dry, full-bodied, lingering flavor with a perfect balance of acidity and tannins. It goes well with beef and lamb dishes, pasta with rich creamy sauces, wild game and aged cheeses.
2010 Ricci El Matt Bonarda, Piedmont
LIST PRICE 15.00; OUR PRICE 13.50
The Bonarda grape is something of an exception in Piedmont yet should be considered because it delivers delicious fruit. This baby is definitely of a higher alcohol level at 14.5%. Spending 12 months in stainless steel, it shows floral, spicy and fruity blueberry aromas. On all counts it’s an enticingly fleshy, easy quaffing wine with a nice balance of sweetness (4grms residual sugar) countering a pleasingly dusty, tannic bite.