The 2009 Barbera d?Alba Vignota emerges from the glass with layers of radiant fruit. Dark berries, flowers and sweet spices come together beautifully in this fleshy, engaging Barbera. Anticipated maturity: 2011-2014.
Conterno-Fantino's 2004 Barolo Vigna del Gris offers an enticing array of floral aromatics that lead to sensations of candied cherries, small red fruits, spices and marzipan. With air, this sensual, feminine Barolo opens to reveal notable inner perfume and superb length. As is usually the case, the wine doesn-t quite have the stuffing to balance its tannins and it does dry out just a bit on the finish, but it is nevertheless a gorgeous, gorgeous wine. In 2004 Vigna del Gris contains fruit from both old vines and a recently re-planted section of the vineyard. Anticipated maturity: 2011-2019.
Winner of Gambero Rosso's prestigious Tre Bicchieri Award (an almost unheard of distinction in this price category), this delicious red offers strikingly authoritative and complex flavors in its price range. Aglianico is one of the three noble red grapes of Italy, but unlike the other two, Sangiovese and Nebbiolo, it is relatively obscure. (A major reason, in my opinion, is that Aglianico's foremost practitioner, Mastroberardino, does not feature the grape name on the label of its groundbreaking Taurasi.) Made from 100% Aglianico grapes grown in the Molise region, this wine serves up a flourish of ripe flavors and aromas of dark plum, rhubarb, and Asian spice, with subtle undertones of toasted almonds, new leather, and damp earth leading to a softly tannic finish.
The 2007 Brunello di Montalcino is a gorgeous wine that brings together the richness of the vintage and the house's continuing move to a more traditional style. Sweet red berries, flowers, mint, spices and anise are woven together beautifully in this large-scaled, generous wine. The wine gains volume and depth in the glass as the flavors built to a huge crescendo. The 2007 was aged exclusively in cask. This is a great showing from Fuligni. Anticipated maturity: 2015-2027.
This 100% Merlot is made from grapes that are hand-harvested from the estate’s best vineyards in the hills around Orvieto, in Umbria. Grapes are fermented in stainless steel vats, and then aged in Nevers oak barrels for an additional seven months. To preserve the full character of the Umbrian terroir, the wine is bottled without filtration or excessive manipulation. Deep ruby in color, with a refined aroma of wild herbs, blackberry, and light vanilla, this fresh, medium-bodied wine pairs especially well with traditional Italian dishes, such as pasta with meat sauce, braised beef or pork, and spicy Italian sausage. -- Ben Giliberti