2017 San Leonino Governo All'uso Toscana Sangiovese IGT

2017 San Leonino Governo All’uso Toscana Sangiovese IGT

SAN LEONINO

2017 GOVERNO
ALL’USO TOSCANA 
SANGIOVESE IGT

2017 San Leonino Governo All'uso Toscana Sangiovese IGT
Governo is a wine type favored by sommeliers looking for a value-priced Sangiovese with greater depth, richness, and X-factor. Producers make it using similar methods to Amarone, but instead of Valpolicella’s mix of grapes, they use Sangiovese. To make it, winemakers add partially dried grapes back into already fermented Sangiovese, igniting a secondary fermentation, which creates a more profound, more vibrant, and often smoother wine.  
 
Tuscany is where winemakers first developed Governo in the 14th century. It was often a method used by vineyard workers who got paid with the poorest quality grapes in the vineyard. They found that if they added partially raisinated grapes into the already fermented Sangiovese, they could make a deeper, richer Sangiovese that was easier to sell. 
 
San Leonino’s 2017 Governo is 100% Sangiovese and comes from the All’Uso Toscano region in Tuscany. It’s a classically styled wine, with penetrating cherry fruit intertwined with spices, and liquid floral.  
 
SAN LEONINO
2017 GOVERNO
ALL’USO TOSCANA 
SANGIOVESE IGT
 
Your Price: $19.99
 
 
“Intense notes of ripe cassis, cherry, licorice, cedar and spiced oak dominate on both the nose and palate. 100% Sangiovese.”
2018 Castello Romitorio Rosso Di Montalcino Italy

2018 Castello Romitorio Rosso Di Montalcino Italy

CASTELLO ROMITORIO

2018 ROSSO DI MONTALCINO
MONTALCINO, ITALY

2018 Castello Romitorio Rosso Di Montalcino Italy
Rosso di Montalcino from a great producer can offer immense value, and provide one of the purest and most vivid interpretations of Sangiovese Grosso grape. Rossos require only one year of age before release, which often results in a fresher and more vibrant Sangiovese that can also be enjoyed young. Castello Romitorio Brunello gets monster scores, and they fashioned their Rosso from younger vines on the Estate. And, they made it with the same exacting standards that make their Brunellos so great. At about 1/2 the price of their Brunello, the value is abundant.
 
Castello Romitorio has Italian history embedded in its DNA. The Estate dates back to the Middle Ages, and through time, transitioned from a temple to a fortress, a monastery, a castle, a Manor House, and now, lucky for us, a winery… 
 
Located northwest of Montalcino’s town, the vineyard has soils composed of clay and Albarese, from which fossils and shells emerge, evidence of an ancient coastal seabed. Their 2018 Rosso is robust, vibrant, and unleashes a flurry of concentrated red and blue fruits, rose garden, and intriguing spice. 
 
CASTELLO ROMITORIO
2018 ROSSO DI MONTALCINO
MONTALCINO, ITALY
 
Your Price: $29.99
 
 
“The 2018 Castello Romitorio Rosso di Montalcino takes time to blossom in the glass, yet it is totally worth the wait. A pretty and understated display of cherry and strawberry mixed with dusty earth, roses and hints of undergrowth opens nicely. Soft, silky textures flood the palate with ripe red and hints of blue fruit, sweet yet perfectly contrasted by saline-minerality, along with hints of fine tannin that slowly mount toward the close. The finish is remarkably long, as notes of dried wild berries, blueberry skins and hints of violet florals linger.” 91 Points
 
 
“Limpid garnet color, translucent. Appetizing nose so typical for Sangiovese: the tangy aroma of Marasca cherry. With increasing bottle age, this cherry fruit turns from fresh and crisp to mellow and dried, in the young wines the fruit is pristine, varying in intensity with each vintage. The body is sinewy and bone-dry: not a prettified, mollified Sangiovese but a wine as rugged as the land. There is fine, bright acidity and a lovely tannic grip. This has impact but is not heavy. A little age sits wonderfully on this rustic charmer: bottle age will give you scents of leather, wild thyme and polished wood.” Anne Krebiehl MW
2016 Ciavolich Divus Montelpulciano D'Abruzzo

2016 Ciavolich Divus Montelpulciano D’Abruzzo

CIAVOLICH

2016 DIVUS 
MONTELPULCIANO D’ABRUZZO

2016 Ciavolich Divus Montelpulciano D'Abruzzo
If you love Italian reds and enjoy finding great value, you should know about the Montepulciano grape, which is the second most widely planted varietal in Italy. According to Jancis Robinson, the variety likely originated in Tuscany and is related to Sangiovese. Revered for producing deeply colored wines with supple fruit, natural acidity, and muscular tannins, Montepulciano may become your new favorite value grape. The very best come from the village of Abruzzo, and at $23, the Ciavolich 2016 Divus is a remarkable example of just how great they can be. 
 
The Ciavolich Estate sits in the Abruzzo Hills and faces the Adriatic Sea, and they made Divus from the oldest vines on the property. The 60-70 year-old vines grown are in calcareous clay soils and planted on a Tendone system, where the grapes are trained overhead, which is beneficial for frost protection.  
 
The 2016 vintage was a solid one in Italy, and they harvested the grapes under ideal conditions. On the palate, the wine is incredibly elegant and offers supple fruit, with really interesting licorice and black pepper notes. 
 
CIAVOLICH
2016 DIVUS 
MONTELPULCIANO D’ABRUZZO
 
Your Price: $23
 
 
 
“Black raspberries, citrus, licorice and bilberries make for a beautiful nose. While the medium-bodied palate certainly isn’t the most concentrated for Abruzzo, it is all about elegance, purity and finesse. Drink now.”  92 Points
2014 Fattori Valpolicella Ripasso Col De La Basita

2014 Fattori Valpolicella Ripasso Col De La Basita

FATTORI

VALPOLICELLA RIPASSO
2014 COL DE LA BASITA 

2014 Fattori Valpolicella Ripasso Col De La BasitaIn the same way that Brunello drinkers gravitate towards a Rosso di Montalcino, and Barolo fans look to a Langhe Nebbiolo, Amarone aficionados will often pursue Valpolicella Ripasso when seeking value. Amarone and Valpolicella Ripasso are both made with the same grapes, and the key difference is Ripasso, which translates to re-pass, is made with a second pressing of the dried grapes used for Amarone. They’re not quite as extracted as Amarone, but they fall deliciously in-between regular Valpolicella and Amarone, and they’re also a fraction of Amarone’s price…      

To make Valpolicella Ripasso, you start with the grapes used in Valpolicella, primarily Corvina, Rondinella, and Molinara. The grapes are harvested late, and once picked, the tops of the clusters are dried for roughly 120 days. The first fermentation and pressing of the dried grapes are used to make Amarone, and these once-pressed grapes are “re-passed” into the tanks of partially fermented Valpolicella to increase body, depth, and color. 
 
Fattori’s 2014 Col de La Basita Valpolicella Ripasso arose from 5 acres of vines grown on a plateau in Basita, in well-drained shaley clay and sub-alkaline rock. The wine is remarkably expressive and oozes ripe red fruits and enchanting elegance.    
 
FATTORI
VALPOLICELLA RIPASSO
2014 COL DE LA BASITA
 
 
“Fattori’s 2014 Valpolicella Ripasso Col de la Bastia is a convincing red wine that offers lasting power and momentum. It shows solid aromatic determination with dried fruit, raisin, prune and dried cherry. The wine also offers an openly savory side with leather, tobacco and a touch of smoked pancetta. Pair this wine with pasta all’Amatriciana.” 88 Points
2015 Il Borro Toscana Tuscany, Italy

2015 Il Borro Toscana Tuscany, Italy

IL BORRO

2015 TOSCANA
TUSCANY, ITALY 

2015 Il Borro Toscana Tuscany, Italy

The Ferragamo’s are icons in the fashion industry with a heritage of creativity and utmost quality. They’ve carried those same hallmarks that brought them success in their luxury goods company over to wine, and the results speak for themselves. Their 2015 Il Borro is one of the highest-scoring Tuscan blends under $100, having earned high 90s scores from both James Suckling and Robert Parker. This wine is one of the least expensive ways to enjoy a piece of the Ferragamo lifestyle.
 
Moving another step closer to their goal of producing the best Bordeaux like blend outside of Bordeaux, and with a monster 97 Point score, Salvatore Ferragamo’s Il Borro comes from their family estate in Tuscany, and like their clothing line, it’s powerfully bold, yet gorgeously elegant and remarkably detailed. 
 
The 2015 laces together 50% Merlot, dressed with 35% Cabernet Sauvignon, then precisely threaded with other varietals. After meticulously hand sorting each grape, the wine is sent gravity flow into the tank where the wine team removes 10-20% of the juice to increase concentration.
 
IL BORRO
2015 TOSCANA
TUSCANY, ITALY
Retails at: $65
 
Your Price: $59.99
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“This is the best Il Borro to date with fantastic blackberry, blueberry and sandalwood aromas that follow through to a full body with masses of fruit. Yet, it remains bright and linear down the center palate. A rich and toned wine. 50 per cent merlot, 35 per cent cabernet and 15 per cent syrah…”  97 Points
 
 
“This robust Tuscan blend of 50% Merlot, 35% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Syrah is Il Borro’s flagship wine. The 2015 Il Borro is an important and thickly enriched expression that shows ample power and muscle but remains elegantly modulated and contoured at the same time. The bouquet opens to dark fruit, blackberry, prune, spice, leather and tar. In the mouth, this wine is richly textured, velvety and concentrated, and it delivers balanced tannins and acidity. Il Borro has beautifully captured the warmth and exuberance of the terrific 2015 vintage.” 96 Points
CASTELLO ROMITORIO 2015 BRUNELLO MONTALCINO, ITALY

2015 Castello Romitorio Brunello Montalcino Italy

CASTELLO ROMITORIO

2015 BRUNELLO 
MONTALCINO, ITALY

CASTELLO ROMITORIO 2015 BRUNELLO MONTALCINO, ITALY

There are great wines that are made through decisions by the winemaker, and then there are great wines that are a result of the vintage, which is what Montalcino experienced in 2015. If you’ve read any of the vintage reports from winemakers and critics, the energy is contagious. Stefano Cinelli Colombini said, “the vintage saw textbook timing,” and James Suckling alerted his readers that it’s a vintage “nobody should miss”.  We agree, and here’s one of the best, and with triple 95 point scores.
 
Castello Romitorio has Italian history embedded in its DNA. The Estate dates back to the Middle Ages, and through time, transitioned from a temple to a fortress, a monastery, a castle, a Manor House, and now, lucky for us, a winery. 
 
Located in the northwest of the town of Montalcino, the vineyard has soils composed of clay and Albarese, from which fossils and shells emerge, evidence of an ancient coastal seabed. The 2015 vintage offers remarkable power, dynamic complexity, and a purity of fruit that’s spectacular.  
 
CASTELLO ROMITORIO
2015 BRUNELLO 
MONTALCINO, ITALY
Retails at: $65
 
Your Price: $59.99

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“… a suave and supple expression that shows a slightly more opulent texture compared to many of its peers… You taste the natural richness and exuberance of the fruit, with variety-specific elements of wild cherry, blue flowers and soft earth…” 
95 Points
 
“… laced with spicy, dark red fruits, wild, sweet and spicy floral tones that give way to savory herbs, hints of animal musk and black earth. On the palate, it’s soft, enveloping, almost creamy in texture and offset by a mix of savory spice, fine tannin and saturating mineral tones as black cherry and sage seem to hover on the senses. The finish is spicy and long, structured, but also with vibrant primary fruits holding on strong, as a twang of savory herbs lingers long…” 95 Points
 
“A dense and rich Brunello with lots of ripe fruit, spices and hints of new wood. Full-bodied, chewy and rich. A muscular wine that needs time to come together. Better after 2022.” 95 Points
 
 
2016 Oddero Rombone Barbaresco

2016 Oddero Rombone Barbaresco

ODDERO

2016 BARBARESCO
ROMBONE 2016 Oddero Rombone Barbaresco

Barbaresco is Italy’s other Iconic wine that’s produced from the Nebbiolo grape, and if Barolo is the King, then Barbaresco is the Queen, having a slightly more elegant structure. Oddero’s 95 Point Barbaresco from the Cru Vineyard Rombone is a stunning value and offers a brilliant play between tension and elegance that’s coupled with profound power and freshness.

The Oddero family has been active in Barolo and Barbaresco since the 1800’s, and in 2006 their wines were brought to an entirely new level when they hired Dante Scaglioni, who spent 25 years as the winemaker for legendary producer Bruno Giacosa.  

The Rombone vineyard is laden with limestone and veins of clay, and it’s known for producing wines that exhibit freshness, remarkably penetrating fruit, and stunning complexity. The climate in Barbaresco is slightly milder than neighboring Barolo and the wines are noticeably less tannic and exude elegance.

ODDERO
2016 BARBARESCO
ROMBONE 
 
Your Price: $55

 

“Black-skinned berry, iris, leather, hazelnut and menthol aromas whiff of forest floor. The smooth, full-bodied palate shows tension and finesse, offering fleshy black cherry, espresso and licorice alongside fine-grained tannins and fresh acidity. Drink 2021-2030”  95 Points

 

“Sweet berry aromas with hints of flowers and spices. Very perfumed. Full-bodied, firm and chewy with a velvety texture and a flavorful finish. Shows lovely intensity and flavor. Drink from 2022.” 93 Points

2015 Mazzei Philip Cabernet Sauvignon Tuscany

2015 Mazzei Philip Cabernet Sauvignon Tuscany

MAZZEI PHILIP

CABERNET SAUVIGNON
2015 TUSCANY

 

2015 Mazzei Philip Cabernet Sauvignon TuscanyWine can be profound, and deeply meaningful, and sometimes the story behind the wine can be of monumental proportions. Mazzei created their “Philip” Cabernet Sauvignon as an homage to Philip Mazzei, who wrote the beautiful phrase “all men are created equal” which was incorporated in the Declaration of Independence” by his friend Thomas Jefferson. And the wine? The wine is riveting, deeply hedonistic, and highly detailed. It’s also one of the coolest labels that I’ve seen. 

Mazzei created Philip from 100% Cabernet Sauvignon grapes, coming from two sites, Belguardo and Fonterutoli Estate. The 10-20-year-old vines were grown in limestone and sandstone soils and produce fruit of remarkable power and profound delineation. 

This stunning wine emerges from Tuscany’s best vintage in nearly two decades, and one the Wine Spectator rated 97 Points referencing “Long-lived, powerful and concentrated reds, yet the best have purity and elegance…” 

 

MAZZEI PHILIP
CABERNET SAUVIGNON
2015 TUSCANY

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“A dark-fruited red that shows mulberries, blackberries, creme de cassis, vanilla and dark chocolate with a touch of fresh herbs and cedar. Full body, round yet structured tannins and a chewy finish. Drink in 2020.” 94 Points

“The 2015 Philip, 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, is powerful and rich in the glass, with copious blackberry jam, chocolate, spice and chocolate notes. Deep, fleshy and bold, the Philip has a lot to offer….” 92 Points

2015 Azelia Barolo

2015 Azelia Barolo Piedmont, Italy

AZELIA 

2015 BAROLO
PIEDMONT, ITALY
2015 Azelia Barolo
 
The reports on the 2015 Vintage in Italy’s iconic Piedmont region make it perfectly clear that 2015 marks the greatest vintage for Barolo since 2010. James Suckling, longtime European Bureau Chief for the Wine Spectator wrote that the “full capability of the nebbiolo grape’s expressive nature is alive in Barolo 2015.” 
 
When referencing a history of terrific wines from Azelia, Robert Parker alerted his readers that “wines from…Azelia, can hold their own with the very best in the region” and “prices are exceedingly fair considering the quality of what goes into the bottle.” 
 
Azelia Barolo even graced the wine list at Thomas Keller’s French Laundry restaurant in Yountville California, and for years, it’s cemented itself as one of the best values for classic Barolo in our shop.
 
Azelia bears all of the hallmarks of the vintage; Muscular, toned, aromatically complex, and full of energy, and if you love classically styled, penetrating and focused Barolo, the value that you get with Azelia is truly hard to find. 
 
AZELIA 
2015 BAROLO
PIEDMONT, ITALY
 
Your Price: $45/btl
 
 
Aromas of coal dust and tar with a distinctly savory, stony edge and nuances of dried herb-wrapped cherries. The acidity is assertive and delivers a strong burst of red plum-pit flavor, ahead of chalky, smooth tannins. Nice balance…” 
 
This is an enriched expression that shows the intensity and tightness of Nebbiolo with just a margin of the immediate softness and accessibility of this warm vintage… comes together well on the palate with nice precision and focus...” 
2014 Fratelli Alessandria Barolo

2014 Fratelli Alessandria Barolo

FRATELLI ALESSANDRIA 2014 Fratelli Alessandria Barolo

2014 BAROLO
PIEDMONT, ITALY

 
Some of the best things in life are emotionally resonating, and that sensation can come from anything that moves us.  A great speech, poem, song, play, picture, and in this case, Fratellia Alessandria Barolo…  At a recent trade tasting at Farmstead in St Helena, this wine moved us more than ANY other wine at the event and if you could only see what it was up against, you’d have already ordered a case.  The wine is stunningly detailed and powerfully expressive.  It bounds from the glass with black cherries, wild plum, pipe tobacco, crushed mint and candied orange peel.  With brilliant evolution and finesse, this remarkable illustration of Barolo has already earned solid reviews from two of the Country’s top critics.  Of course, with the limited number of cases of this gem that make their way into the US, you’ll want to move quickly… 
 
We certainly weren’t the first to discover this gorgeous Barolo… It was originally recognized by King Carlo Alberto in 1843 for having notable quality.  The Fratelli Estate crowns the small hilltop village of Verduno, and the 2014 includes fruit from Riva Rocca, Rocca dell’Olmo, Neirane, Campasso and Bosco vineyards, and it’s truly one of the best 2014 Barolo’s under $100/btl that I’ve tasted.  I strongly recommend securing a case. 
 
FRATELLI ALESSANDRIA
2014 BAROLO
PIEDMONT, ITALY
Retails at:  $54.00/btl
 
Your Price: $47.99/btl 
 
Vinous Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
“Now with a few months in bottle, Alessandria’s 2014 Barolo is a real powerhouse. Smoke, scorched earth, tobacco, menthol, licorice and wild cherry all convey an impression of gravitas, as this potent, muscular Barolo shows off its personality. The 2014 has quite a bit of density and richness at this level. I won’t be surprised if it turns out even better than this note suggests. There is so much going on here.” 
 
91 + Points
The Fratelli Alessandria 2014 Barolo is a streamlined and elegant wine that imparts delicate tones of wild berry, spice, licorice, rosemary twig and candied orange peel. This is a classic expression and an absolute embodiment of Barolo tradition. The finish is long and silky with lingering tones of smoke and crushed mineral. This wine is very nicely done. It ages slowly in large Slavonian oak casks for three years...” 
 
91 Points
Customers who enjoy Fratelli Alessandria may also enjoy these two stunning Barolos…
 
2014 Rocche Costamagna Barolo
2014 Giacomo Grimaldi Barolo
ROCCHE COSTAMAGNA
2014 BAROLO 
ROCCHE DELL’ANNUNZIATA
 
Your Price: $54.99/btl 

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From Wine Enthusiast:This opens with red berry, new leather and eucalyptus aromas. The firmly structured palate offers red cherry, star anise and a hint of white pepper alongside close-grained tannins and bright acidity…”  90 Points

GIACOMO GRIMALDI
2014 BAROLO 
PIEDMONT, ITALY
 
Your Price: $42.99/btl 

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From The Wine Spectator:  “Cherry and plum flavors resonate throughout this red, joined by notes of eucalyptus, tar, tobacco and spice. The fruit persists, with a firm grip of tannins as this fades on the finish…”  92 Points