March the 2nd. K & L Wines, Los Angeles California. Yes, 2014. The Italian tastings. I’ve gone through a fair share of Italian wines. Many have come to me saying Italian offerings are “fair,” merely worth some mention. Some mention? Such derision never quite added up to my experiences. I’ve never pressed my wallet when it came to Italian wines of any ilk. And it never hampered my fun in the least bit.
Even the flattest of bottles had some redemptive qualities. I’ve found all but, perhaps, a handful, to be quite dashing. The bottles always had this up-front personality that was more debonair that skittish. Tuscany? Chianti? My response was always more “yes, please,” and less “I’ll save the rest for tomorrow evening.” But why was there a lack of confidence in the consumers I had talked with? It certainly was never exhibited in the wines themselves. And hasn’t Sangiovese been well-regarded as of late? Surely, it’s a great comeback story, like Sean Connery in the nineties masquerading in action flicks or like marijuana after the film Half Baked?
One must investigate such pressing matters. Someones liver needs to take this hit. It may as well be mine. Luckily, an opportunity was presented by K & L Wine merchants. I drank a liter of water, feigned a migraine (so my co-workers would not think less of me) in order to leave work just in time, and proceeded to Italian Bliss (Which sounds like one hell of a worthy erotic novella title).
2007 Cantina Sociale Copertino Riserva – $15
95% Negroamaro, 5% Malvasia Nera A game/oak nose. Lively. A sweetish must linger on the tongue. And easy drink, milky-silky quality. Light with hints of Cherry. Pretty Fun.Worthy.
2011 Rocca Di Montegrossi Chianti Classico – $20
90% Sangiovese, 5% Canaiolo, 5% Colorino A very bright nose. Some Strawberry, hay, black-forrest jam. Tobacco and forest woods presence. A dry finish. An acidic bite. A rough and young wine, but fun. I do believe, worthy.
2010 Castello di Monsanto Chianti Classico – $18
90% Sangiovese, 10% Canaiolo, ” ” Colorinio A smell of mold and a Sunday afternoon bubblegum. Candy and Fizz dominates the palate – a sweet that was left over from the nineties. A little dark, and abrasive. They missed the mark here. Eh, sé la vie. Skip it.
2011 Poggiarellino Rosso di Montalcino – $17
100% Sangiovese A heated, alcoholic (think, your grandfather) smell. A blustering mango, cherry redolence. Tastes young, sharp attack on your mid palate and leaving a zing-like linger as it descends down you throat. Inviting, and would accentuate a spicy dish. Some medicinal funk, like Walgreens brand Nyquil. This one is on the border. Skip It.
2011 Sesta di Sopta Rosso di Montalcino – $23
100% Sangiovese A fatty, gristle campfire smell with a fermented quality, like Kukicha tea, Most unfortunately, and quite deceptive on the nose’s part, a sweet kind of mess. “They went too far.” They had no hope for their wine so they juiced it up like Captain America (something too weak always tries to compensate). Skip it.
2008 La Velona Brunello di Montalcino – $33
100% Sangiovese A light peck of lemon grass in the nose. Very delicate and lovely. A race-y grass and saline funk. Slightly sweet. A class act with a cape and a mustache. This is a good deal of fun. This is funk done right. Some real harmony is showing through the glass. A whole bottle would be interesting to investigate. Worthy.
2008 Poggiarellino Brunello di Montalcino – $30
100% Sangiovese Smells like Mt. Doom (on a good day, less dead bodies, more volcanic activity). Fire, coal and stone nose. A smooth elegance. Graceful. Everything seems to creep across the mouth like a kid reaching for a cookie while his mother sleeps near by. There’s a real balance between the acid and fruit. Forward, yet reclusive. Some smoke integration. They really got something here. Worthy.
2008 Sesta di Sopra Brunello di Montalcino – $45
100% Sangiovese A fresh, buttery and eclectic nose. Hot sweet, somehow feathering out over the tongue. This really is a tight affair, really having its shit together. This is like The Beatles during the Abbey Road sessions; pulling, pushing, working it out and coming out with something great despite all the tension. Hell of a wine. Worthy.
(vintage?) Bruna Grimaldi “Camilla” Barolo – $30
100% Nebbiolo An octane filled nose with fresh, and wet, cedar plank. Hints of nutmeg. A certain holiday comes to mind. High in acid, a little too much of a bite. A dark slice of sweet, blood-red grape. Not a lot of fun to drink, considering the price. It would have been right at, say, $14. Skip it.
2009 Aldo Conterno Barolo Bussia – $70
100% Nebbiolo A bright strawberry full of a myriad of lovely layered sheets of wow. This is a Fruit Roll-Up all grown up. You could lose yourself in this kind of nose. Spectacular. A sweet that’s wholly embraceable. Some level of utter flavorful bombast. Hot and slick. Strawberry fruits and tar. Exhausting and refreshing. This wine is full of serendipitous dichotomies. My kind of wine. It’s bound to be most people’s kind of wine. There’s a finesse here that should not be missed. This wine restores my faith in wine drinking. Worthy. (I’d buy several if I could afford it.) Aging potential (8-12 years).