Inspired by Piero Antinori's groundbreaking Tignanello ($95), Villa Antinori Toscana IGT offers exceptional value at a mere $14.99. Like Tignanello, it departs from the traditional Chianti formula in terms of grape variety, while at the same time remaining true to its roots as wine that draws its distinctive character from the traditional Sangiovese grape. Although the blend includes 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, and 5% Syrah, it is the Sangiovese (55%) that defines the character of the wine, just as with Tignanello (80% Sangiovese, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Cabernet Franc).Unusually powerful in the 2011 vintage, the 2011 Villa Antinori Toscana IGT serves up a huge bouquet of red berry fruit with hints of raspberry, cassis, and toasty vanilla oak. This is followed on the palate by generously packed-in flavors of dark berry, black pepper and spice notes. Showing no shortage of fruit or structure, this wine has an aging potential that might even rival that of Tignanello, at least over the first 7-10 years of its evolution. --Ben Giliberti, CW Director of Wine Education
Made from 80% old vine Corvina and Corvina clones (Rizza, Nera and Corvinone), and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, Sangiovese, and Syrah, this dark ruby wine opens with a fine, floral bouquet of plums, fresh cherries, and a hint of cocoa. On the palate, the notes of pure cherry, plum, smoky chestnut, and black spice are gracefully layered over polished, crisp tannins. Aging in traditional cherry wood ovals further heightens the distinctive cherry-infused notes of Verona's indigenous Corvina grape.
With an impressive score of 91 points from Robert Parker, the 2010 Bodegas Borsao is yet another exciting discovery from the vast portfolio of importer Jorge Ordoñez, who has been ferreting out great, undiscovered values from Spain's incredible diversity of regions for well over a decade. Berola comes from the rugged Spanish region of Campo de Borja, dubbed the Empire of Garnacha (Grenache), for the grape that represents over 60% of the D.O.'s vineyard plantings. Deeply colored and richly flavored with ripe, succulent fruit, this wine sports a generous dollop of vanilla oak from barrels used the previous year in the top of the line Alto Moncayo bottling.--CW Wine Staff"The 2010 Berola is a blend of 70% Grenache, 20% Syrah and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon aged in a combination of American and French oak for ten months. It then spends a year in bottle prior to being released. A sleeper of the vintage, it reveals a deep ruby/purple color along with aromas of blackberries, black cherries, licorice and lavender. Full-bodied, rich, nicely textured and impressively pure, it can be enjoyed over the next 3-4 years."91 Points--Robert Parker, The Wine Advocate
What always astounds me about Banda Azul (an Ernest Hemingway favorite) is the precision with which the flavors of the Tempranillo grape are perfectly set off by the abundant notes of new oak. It's a neat trick, rarely mastered outside of Burgundy or Bordeaux, and it makes Banda Azul something special. You save a ton, but give up almost nothing in terms of polish and sophistication.
The 2011 Bodegas Zerran Tinto, which comes from the heretofore obscure region of Montsant, is the latest discovery of Jorge Ordonez, who has been ferreting out great, undiscovered values from Spain’s incredible diversity of regions for well over a decade. Located in the northeast corner of Spain, Monstant borders the well-known Priorat region, and benefits from same combination of proximity to the Mediterranean s ea, along with an excellent, well-drained soils. A blend of Grenache, Mazuelo and Syrah, Zerran come from gnarly old vine vineyards planted between 1934 and 1942, at an elevation of 1,500-1,800 feet. An excellent value, this wine received an impressive 92 point score from Robert Parker.