The following is a compilation of old reviews I have done on the wines of Italy.
2003 Oriel Taralula, Toscana: This wine is 100% Sangiovese. It is the typical spicy Italian wine, that which goes so well with Italian food. But, it rises above the usual Chianti's and Sangiovese in being more complex and with a longer finish. It is a superior wine, that would complement any table. But, again at $35, it is more a special occasion wine than a usual table wine.
2004 Il Borgo Montepulciano D'Abruzzo: This was one of my new buys from Best Cellars and sells for about $9. I had tasted this at the shop and enjoyed it. It was said to be a good wine for having with pizza. And they were right. It has fruit up the front, cherrys and some darker berries as well, but gets more spicy on the finish. The finish is not too short though not very long either. Though at $9 you do not expect a real long finish. It does have a smooth taste and a pleasant nose. It goes very well with food, especially Italian food. This is a wine I would recommend as a very good value.
2004 Sensi Chianti: I had this wine at dinner over the weekend. It costs $20 at the restaurant and it seems to retail for about $15 so the markup was very low for a restaurant, making it a decent value. The Chianti was tasty, alot of cherry flavors, light, and smooth. It lacks complexity but then you don't really expect much from a young Chianti. It went very well with my Italian food and everyone at the table who drank it enjoyed it.
Inferno "Al Carmine" Caven, Lombardy: This standout red wine ($26-28) is made from the Nebbiolo grape, the same varietal used for the expensive Barolos. It was a dark, rich and fruity wine. Well balanced with hints of pepper and leather. A definite Drink and Buy, and a good substitute for the more expensive Barolos.
2005 Fattoria La Rivolta, Taburno Falanghina: This wine ($19) is made from Falanghina, an indigenous Italian grape that I had never tasted before. There was a strong citrus flavor with a crispness rather than sweetness. There were some unique undertones though which separates this from other whites like a Sauvignon Blanc. If you are a white wine fan, this is definitely something different to check out.
2001 Oltrepo Pavese, Bonarda: I crossed the sea from Argentina to try an Italian Bonarda ($13) and it is said that there is a significant difference between Bonardas from Italy and Argentina. After trying this one, they might be right. This Bonarda had a very funky, earthy taste that was not pleasant. I had previously had a bit of earthiness from the Argentine Bonardas, but nothing to this extreme. And the extreme put me off. It was also quite mouth puckering. It also had a short finish and little complexity. Although the overpowering earthiness may have just clouded my palate. I will try other Italian Bonardas, but this one is definitely not a Drink or Buy.
2005 La Caplana Gavi di Gavi: A white wine ($14) made from a blend of indigenous grapes. A very good wine that was fruity, not too dry and without any bitterness. Interesting flavors unlike many other whites. I am not a big fan of whites but thought this was well worth the price.
2004 Il Conte Marinus Sangiovese/Montepulciano blend: This was one of my favorite wines ($15) of the tasting. It was full-bodied, smoky, and spicy with a long finish. A great wine with pasta or beef.
2004 Prendo Pinot Noir: This Italian wine ($16) is very different from other Pinot Noirs, being a cross-breed between French and California styles. It was fruity without being overly jammy. It was not as subtle as a Burgundy but not as in you face as a California. An interesting change of pace.
2005 Fondo Antico Grillo 'Parlante', Sicily: This white wine ($13) was crisp, fruity and a pleasant drink.
2004 Cantina Numa 'Tolenus': Another excellent value wine ($10). A meaty and hearty wine, best with food.
2001 Marina Cvetic Montepulciano, Abruzzo: A complex wine ($27) with a very long finish. A smooth drinking wine that would go very well with Italian food.
2005 Feudo Maccari 'Renoto', Sicily: Another very good value wine ($12). A complex and spicy Italian wine.
2003 Flavio Roddolo Dolcetto D’Alba: The wine ($16) has a nice, fruity aroma, very enticing. It is a lighter wine with a nice smooth taste. And it did make my mouth water! It was a bit of a strange feeling, as few other wines do that. I don't know why it made my mouth water but it certainly did. It had a decently long finish and good berry flavors. It went well with the cheese. Overall, it was a very good wine and a definite Drink & Buy.
2005 Villa Rosa Poggio ai Rovi: This is from the Chianti region of Tuscany and thus has a lot of Sangiovese in it. But it is not technically a Chianti. It is an inexpensive wine ($12) but one with much value. It is an easy, drinking wine with much cherry flavor up front but a spicy finish. It is a great food wine but you could drink it on its own as well. I very much enjoyed this wine and heartily recommend it as a Drink & Buy. I also note that this wine was imported by Adonna Imports. I have posted about them before as I have found their wines to be excellent. I was at the Wine Shop of Reading recently and found they had several wines from Adonna Imports that I had not tasted before. I bought a couple and this was the first one I tasted. I definitely look forward to the other, as well as trying the others at the store.
Vernaccia di San Gimignano: A white wine ($19) made primarily from the Vernaccia grape, a grape new to me. This was an exceptional wine, with a more exotic taste than many other whites. It was not too sweet and had nice fruit on the palate. It actually had the structure and complexity of a red wine. A definite Drink and Buy.
Pante Rei, Barbera d'Asti: This was probably my favorite wine ($20) of the tasting. A lush, smooth red with a long finish and just a superb taste. I had several tastes of this wine and was impressed with each and every one. Highly recommended!!!
Maraia Barbera Monferrato: Another Barbera ($10) and an excellent value for the price.
2005 Patrizi Moscato D'Asti: This is a sweet dessert wine. The Moscato had a bit of fizz to it, like a subtle sparkling wine. It also has very low alcohol. For its price, about $10, it is a good value for a dessert wine, some of which can be very pricey.
Torre Rosazza Pinot Grigio: I generally am not a fan of Pinot Grigio, finding many too bland, but this wine ($20) was wonderful. Crisp and fruity!
Nero D'Avola Zsola Mazzei: Smooth, easy drinking wine ($30) with a long finish.
Rivera il Falcone: A more subtle wine ($30) with much flavor.
Caprai Montefalco Rosso: Probably my overall favorite wine ($26) at the tasting. A lot of fruit and spice with a long finish.
Fonterutoli Badiola: A very spicy wine ($16) and a good value.