We hope you’re enjoying a lovely summer thus far. This is the season when tomatoes are turning red, strawberries are appearing and there is more basil and mint than anyone knows what do with! This conjured up images of the great food markets of Italy and the rows upon rows of gorgeous field tomatoes, citrus of all kinds, huge eggplants, waxy beans, peppery lettuces. And then the cheeses. And the oils. And the wines. Oh, the wines! What a paradise for foodies!
So, here are some of our most exciting wines from Italy, but this only scratches the surface. We represent twenty Italian winery partners, and more than 30 wines available from Italy daily, in addition to 250 other wines from around the world.
Questions? Feel free to call me. I’m always happy to “talk wine”: 647 955 8872 or [email protected]
. I hope to hear from you.
Prosecco Superiore DOCG
Brut “Refosso” 2016
$22.95 per bottle, cases of 12
“A beautiful Prosecco with extremely fine bubbles giving the wine a creamy texture. Beautiful aromas and flavours of sliced melon and lime. Some green apple, too. Medium to full body and a fresh finish. Drink now.”
92 points, JamesSuckling.com, Oct 2017
Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG is simply “first-growth” Prosecco terroir. Steep hillsides wrinkled by ancient glaciers and rivers provide well drained, mineral-rich soils in which the Glera grapes find their character.
Hand-harvested and fermented in specially designed tanks, Zardetto’s “Refosso” 2016 is a complex, structured and mineral-inflected Prosecco, but as one expects, the wine is bright and fresh and easy-drinking as well.
Alto Adige Pinot Grigio 2016
$20.95 per bottle, cases of 12
Tiefenbrunner’s Pinot Grigio is a classic! In fact, it’s been one of our company’s best selling wines for decades. What makes it so good?
For over 150 years the Tiefenbrunner family have been farming in vineyards in Entiklar, Kurtatsch and Margreid in Italy’s Alps. When you grow grapes on mountain slopes, the soils are thinner, the UV rays are more intense, the winds are cold, and the days are long. These factors combine to produce intense, thick- skinned fruit, which in turn makes incredible wine.
The wine is a sunny sand-yellow in colour, with an open bouquet of green herbs, ripe pear, and melon. Fine chalk, lemon, and quinine on the palate. The fruit exhibits a wonderful impression of ripeness throughout.
It is fermented in stainless steel and ages on its lees (spent yeast cells) for four months before bottling. This builds harmony and richness while balancing against the natural acidity of this alpine fruit.
Lis Neris “Gris” Pinot Grigio 2015
$52.95 per bottle, cases of 6
Years ago while in Verona, a dinner of full-blown wine geeks became instantly more interesting when someone ordered an old “Gris”, and I was immediately captivated. I knew then that we just had to bring these wines to Ontario. That week we met with the owner Alvaro Pecorari, and we’ve been partners ever since.
“Gris” is a one-of-a-kind, barrel fermented, barrel aged Pinot Grigio culled from a vineyard of the same name, located outside of San Lorenzo, in Italy’s Friuli region.
Hand-harvested fruit is fermented in barrel, and then rests on the lees for 11 months in that same barrel. The battonage is frequent – that’s the stirring of the lees. This produces a rich, creamy, fresh, complex Pinot Grigio, unlike any you’ve probably tasted.
“Riper style of Pinot Grigio with sliced cooked apple and peach character. Some spice. Full body, layered and intense. Flavourful finish. Nice subtle phenolic texture giving it form. Drink now.”
93 points, JamesSuckling.com, Oct 2017
“A fine example of this rather exploited variety. This has great finesse, concentration and a great balance. Fruit characters of ripe apple, pear drop, quince and peach on the nose and fleshy palate. There’s a hint of fruit sweetness and pristine acidity with lots of lees weight, making it a very complex and highly enjoyable Pinot Grigio. Still drinking well, and has the concentration to last well for at least another couple of years.”
90 points, Decanter magazine, Oct 2017
Rosso di Toscana IGT 2016
$21.95 per bottle, cases of 12
Altesino is simply one of the top wineries producing Brunello di Montalcino. Their Brunellos are extremely collectable (ask me about the 2012!), and their “everyday” Tuscan red doesn’t fall far from that tree.
This wine is predominantly Sangiovese (Brunello) and the balance Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. The wine is fermented in stainless steel, then aged for 8 months in these tanks and then three more in aged barriques before bottling.
It is notably sophisticated for what is essentially an easy-drinking table wine, with plenty of morello cherry fruit mingling with old leather. While this would be excellent poured beside something as epic as Bistecca alla Fiorentina, it would also be perfect with porchetta sandwiches, or veal cutlets, or cold meats and cheeses. Is it too early for lunch?
Chianti Colli Senesi “Titolato Colombaia” 2015
$22.95 per bottle, cases of 12
Due to the world class quality of his wines, the late Riccardo Falchini was one of Tuscanys most respected winemakers. Following Riccardo’s guiding principles, sons Michael and Christopher produce the region’s finest Vernaccia di San Gimignano and Chianti Colli Senesi and award winning “Super Tuscans”. Falchini planted their first vineyard in 1968 and today boasts the finest and most modern equipment and techniques in the area.
The wines of Colli Senesi or “Sienese Hills” has brighter acidity and more floral character than its Chianti Classico cousins, due in part to the elevation of the vineyards and day-to-night temperature changes. So, this wine shows itself as really aromatic, elegant and poised. This makes for one heck of a house wine!
Produttori Del Barbaresco
“Montestefano” Riserva DOCG 2013
$91.95 per bottle, cases of 6
Only in exceptional years does the Produttori del Barbaresco bottle its single-vineyard Riservas. These wines are rare and collectable. They are also outstanding value for the quality.
Montestefano is a limestone and clay vineyard, with soils rich in calcium with sandy veins and it produces a Barbaresco that displays intense spicy fruit, tight, powerful tannins and a long finish.
“New leather, camphor, forest berry, dried rose and culinary spice are some of the aromas you’ll find on this exceptional red. The firmly structured, poised palate doles out juicy cranberry, crushed raspberry, white pepper and star anise framed in tightly-knit, refined tannins while bright acidity provides energy and balance. Drink 2020-2033.”
96 points, Wine Enthusiast, March 2018
“A dark, brooding wine, the 2013 Barbaresco Riserva Montestefano comes across as quite virile today, with huge tannins and equally imposing dark fruit. Smoke, leather, licorice and game add to an impression of raw, almost unrestrained, power. There is not a whole lot of finesse here at least not now. The Montestefano is a wine painted in broad brush strokes that emphasize power over elegance. Then again, that is Montestefano. Readers should be in no rush to open the 2013.”
95+ points, Antonio Galloni, vinous.com, Oct 2017
“Montessu” Isola dei Nuraghi IGT 2015
$32.95 per bottle, cases of 6
Sebastiano Rosa, who is the talented hands behind Tenuta San Guido (Sassicaia) is making some really exciting wines in exotic Sardinia.
TThis wine is built around Carignano, which is my new favourite red varietal. It brings the weight and fruitiness that Cabernet and Shiraz fans look for, but lacks lock-down tannins of Cabernet and has a bright, citrusy acidity, which makes it a great blending partner for other varietals.
“This is a dense and rich red with smoked wood, dried bark, tea and ripe fruit. Very flavourful. Full body. Intense. Velvety tannins. Drink in a year or two.”
93 points, JamesSuckling.com, Oct 2017
“A stylish, fresh red, with spiced black raspberry and black currant fruit and accents of green olive, dried thyme and sweet smoke, finely meshed with long, supple tannins. Medium- to full-bodied, this shows good focus and length. Carignan, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. Drink now through 2027.”
92 points, Wine Spectator, Sept 2017
“This is the estate’s second wine, which is a tad less formal than the top-shelf Barrua. The 2015 Montessu represents a hearty blend of 60% Carignano with equal parts Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Syrah. It ages in oak for up to one year. The wine reveals an inky blackish appearance with spots of ruby brilliance that shine from within. Cabernet-like aromas of dark fruit, spice, grilled herb and black olive are immediate and recognizable. The wine is layered and soft in terms of texture, and it grips the palate with firm intensity.”
91 points, Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate, Dec 2017
Chianti Classico Riserva Gran Selezione
“Vigna del Sorbo” 2014
$85.95 per bottle, cases of 6
One of the greatest reds that we offer is the Vigna del Sorbo – an absolute skyscraper of a wine. Powerful and long, its tannins are very present and at the same time almost imperceptible, woven into a tapestry of fine acidity and dark, earthy red fruit.
This 100% Sangiovese comes from four-decades-old vines in the southwest-facing Vigna del Sorbo vineyard. The fruit is fermented by indigenous yeasts in stainless steel tanks and then the wine ages for about 28 months in Troncais and Allier barrels.
“A powerful, structured wine, the 2014 Chianti Classico Gran Selezione Vigna del Sorbo won’t be ready to drink for a number of years, much less be at its best. In recent years, the Sorbo has been much more forward, but the 2014 is decidedly austere and ungiving. Graphite, smoke, black cherry, plum and licorice notes infuse the dark, mysterious finish.”
95+ points, Antonio Galloni vinous.com, Jan 2018
“I tasted this wine as a preview about eight months ago, and it has fleshed out considerably since then. The 2014 Chianti Classico Gran Selezione Vigna del Sorbo impresses for the depth and the intensity of the fruit. The bouquet is shapely and round with dark cherry nuances, blackberry, grilled herb and sweet spice. You also get a lingering moment of strong firmness and power on the close. This wine does the vintage proud.”
94 points, Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate, Oct 2017
Flaccianello della Pieve IGT 2014
$141.95 per bottle, cases of 6
If you know of a Tuscan wine that receives more consistently high scores and critical acclaim than Flaccianello, while staying below $175, I’d like to know what it is.
Italian wine fans all know the “big names” – Ornellaia, Sassicaia, Solaia, etc… but I don’t want to shell out $175 or more for Tuscan Cabernet. If I’m drinking Tuscan wine, I want Sangiovese and I want bang for my buck.
“The 2014 Flaccianello della Pieve will probably drink well a bit earlier than the Vigna del Sorbo, as it has more midpalate creaminess, softer contours and a slightly more immediate personality. Even so, the translucent finesse of the vintage is very much in evidence. A rush of black cherry, plum, tobacco, licorice, chocolate and spice infuses the sweet, creamy finish. The 2014 spent 18 months in oak (less than was once the norm), 80% of it new.”
96 points, Antonio Galloni, vinous.com, Jan 2018