Italian wine list assistance

Tasting notes, varietals, grapes - anything related to wine
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Mark Maddox
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Italian wine list assistance

#1 Post by Mark Maddox » August 16th, 2019, 12:21 pm

Ate here the other night, really enjoyed it so going back with some friends. I am learning to find my way around BdM but the other varietals, both red and white are still outside of my knowledge area.

If you had friends that weren’t geeks but also aren’t plonk-heads, what do you think would satisfy the SB types for white and the PN types for red...of the Italians?

Thanks as always!

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John Kight
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Re: Italian wine list assistance

#2 Post by John Kight » August 16th, 2019, 12:57 pm

Any price point you'd want to "average"? And I'm assuming you're looking only at the Italian wines here (despite the fact that it looks like the list is in good part California, French, etc.?

For the "SB Types" (by which I'll assume you mean a crisp white, rather than a rich/creamy white), I would try
Terlato Winkl (which happens to actually BE a Sauvignon Blanc)
La Scolca Black Label Gavi
Bellaria "Oltre" Greco di Tufo

(There are also decent wines here that don't fall into the crisp/SB-like category, including the Felsina Chardonnay "I Sistri", and the Anselmi white...)

For the PN types, I'd say:
One of the ArPePe Valtellinas (after careful consultation with Somm...these can be amazing, but also sometimes underwhelming)
Bruno Rocca Barbaresco (A very good bet)
Fantino Cascina Dardi Barbaresco or Ettore Germano Prapo Barolos if your budget goes to $120 (I typically stay under $100 at restaurants)
Felsina Rancia (Tuscan) (Great price on this retails for $40-$45 and it's only $60 here...An outstanding wine, though personally not usually my style)
Lamole Chianti Gran Selezione
Poliziano Asinone 2011 (This is probably what I'd pick...for me it's a "safe" wine. I know it'll be solid, but maybe no room for an upside surprise. When I'm paying a restaurant's 2.5x markup, I like to go safe)
Azienda Agricola Palari, Faro (Sciily) This would be great, but it's $120

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Re: Italian wine list assistance

#3 Post by DanielP » August 16th, 2019, 1:08 pm

2012 Rancia would be my pick for a red, particularly if you've enjoyed sangiovese in the past.
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John Morris
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Re: Italian wine list assistance

#4 Post by John Morris » August 16th, 2019, 1:19 pm

If your friends like New World pinot, I think they might find the Rancia and the Barbaresco too tannic. I'd go for a cheaper, more approachable Chianti, which is lighter, has more fruit and less tannin. Or consider the Annamaria Abbono Dolcetto. Her dolcettos are darker and denser than most pinots, but they're packed with fruit. They're hard not to like.

For the SB lovers, you could get the Delacorte Sancerre if they're unfamiliar with Loire sauvignon blanc. The vermentino listed in wines by the glass would probably be most like SBs from places other than the Loire. It usually has a slight minerally/grassy aroma and good acid.
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Mark Maddox
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Re: Italian wine list assistance

#5 Post by Mark Maddox » August 16th, 2019, 1:42 pm

Thank you gents, truly appreciate it.

Lee Short
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Re: Italian wine list assistance

#6 Post by Lee Short » August 16th, 2019, 1:57 pm

For a white, I strongly recommend the Winkl. I haven't had the 2017, but the 16 and 18 are both fantastic. It certainly won't be like any new world SB, but it's a great example of the whites from the area, in the form of Sauv Blanc. And it does have a lot of SB character. A lot. But the structure may be different than what you are used to.

+1 on the Palari Faro, too. Another bottle that might appeal to PN lovers is the Etna Rosso, but I'm unfamiliar with the producer. John's also got good advice on the ArPePe wines.

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Re: Italian wine list assistance

#7 Post by Dale Williams » August 16th, 2019, 2:13 pm

If you order the Rancia I'd look closely at bottle before opening. At that pricing vs rest of list I'd not be surpised if it's actually the regular CCR (or CC).

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Re: Italian wine list assistance

#8 Post by John Morris » August 16th, 2019, 2:30 pm

Dale Williams wrote:
August 16th, 2019, 2:13 pm
If you order the Rancia I'd look closely at bottle before opening. At that pricing vs rest of list I'd not be surpised if it's actually the regular CCR (or CC).
Which would probably be a better bet for drinking at this stage, particularly for a group that isn't a bunch of wine geeks.
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Monica Larner
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Re: Italian wine list assistance

#9 Post by Monica Larner » August 16th, 2019, 7:23 pm

I absolutely agree with the white wine Terlano Winkl suggestion, or any white wine from Terlano for that matter (I think I also saw a Pinot Grigio). I'm pretty sure the Fèlsina Rancia is always a Chianti Classico Riserva and it is indeed a beautiful wine - definitely one of the highlights of the list that plays it safe as far as I can see. The Luciano Sandrone Barbera is a good deal and if you are looking for a full-bodied red, the first Amarone on the list from the Castagnedi brothers of Tenuta Sant'Antonio (at $65) gives you a lot of bang for your buck. Palari and Ar.Pe.Pe. are a little more esoteric, but are personal favorites. All the suggestions made above my comment are pretty much the same wines I would pick.
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Kris Patten
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Re: Italian wine list assistance

#10 Post by Kris Patten » August 16th, 2019, 7:39 pm

For Reds:

Sandrone Barbera
Cogno Ravera Barolo
Felsina Rancia
Guidalberto
Eyrie Trousseau

All wines I'd be interested to try for the money.
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Re: Italian wine list assistance

#11 Post by Kris Patten » August 16th, 2019, 7:40 pm

Monica Larner wrote:
August 16th, 2019, 7:23 pm
I absolutely agree with the white wine Terlano Winkl suggestion, or any white wine from Terlano for that matter (I think I also saw a Pinot Grigio). I'm pretty sure the Fèlsina Rancia is always a Chianti Classico Riserva and it is indeed a beautiful wine - definitely one of the highlights of the list that plays it safe as far as I can see. The Luciano Sandrone Barbera is a good deal and if you are looking for a full-bodied red, the first Amarone on the list from the Castagnedi brothers of Tenuta Sant'Antonio (at $65) gives you a lot of bang for your buck. Palari and Ar.Pe.Pe. are a little more esoteric, but are personal favorites. All the suggestions made above my comment are pretty much the same wines I would pick.
Keep posting on Italy, please.
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Re: Italian wine list assistance

#12 Post by Dale Williams » August 16th, 2019, 7:41 pm

Monica Larner wrote:
August 16th, 2019, 7:23 pm
. I'm pretty sure the Fèlsina Rancia is always a Chianti Classico Riserva and it is indeed a beautiful wine - definitely one of the highlights of the list that plays it safe as far as I can see.
Rancia is indeed always CCR, the discussion above was simply about whether the wine offered is indeed the Rancia- pricing is 1.25X to 1.5X retail, while most other wines are 2.5X-3X. I've just run into similar issues before (Perrin CdP listed as Beaucastel, Marchesi di Barolo Nebbiolo listed as Barolo, etc.). Doesn't have to be bad intent, just someone who doesn't know difference.
Agree with John the straight CC would be better for drinking now.

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Re: Italian wine list assistance

#13 Post by GregT » August 16th, 2019, 11:36 pm

The list is weird. You have wines that appear in different places based on vintage, but they're still from the same region - e.g. Bibi Graetz. Then you have a list by ratings and separately, by region.

It's the kind of list I really hate.

And the mark ups are weird too. If you want to spend it, the Shafer Hillside isn't a bad price compared to what you'd pay retail.

I'd go for the Fiano or Vermentino. People who like SB are a diverse group, some like the grassy qualities and some like grapefruit but those two whites will make both groups happy.

For PN, it depends on whether they like big, thick, jammy PN or leaner types. That's hard. Chianti isn't even close to the first and maybe not for the second either, but who will object to a nice Chianti? Price wise maybe that Valdicava Rosso too.
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Re: Italian wine list assistance

#14 Post by Cristian Dezso » August 17th, 2019, 3:03 am

Vajra Albe for an affordable option.

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Re: Italian wine list assistance

#15 Post by Gary York » August 17th, 2019, 3:41 am

So it is hard to know what their vision of SB/PN are like. But this place has several interesting wines BTG. So you can ask for a taste and go from there. Seems to be some confusion. I am kind of not sure about Terlato and Terlan(o), but they have the Terlato PG BTG, so a taste of that and the Serafino Gavi would be a good idea. PG gets a bad rap, but this one is from Orientali and could be very good. The Serafino is a known producer and will give you the chance to taste a Gavi. Gavi is considered one of the top whites in Piedmont produced from the Cortese grape. If those don't work for you then maybe the Malvira Tre Uve (Chard/Savignon/Arneis) although the barrel treatment worries me. And lastly the Winkl is a good choice and a reconized name wine. For reds the Luciano Sandrone Barbera would probably be a good choice. And I would certainly ask to taste the Rocche Costamagna Barolo, it is BTG, the 2014 G. D. Vajra Barolo Albe is a good choice also. It is from a weaker vintage, but this is their entry level Barolo styled for less experienced Barolo drinkers. Another interesting wine is the 2011 Poliziano Asinone Vino Nobile. A nice version of Sangiovese that leans modern.
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Re: Italian wine list assistance

#16 Post by Gary York » August 17th, 2019, 8:22 am

I find it interesting that they have 13 Amarones on the list. I thought I was nuts with 4. Someone has gone all in. Some other reds of interest:

2014 Sottimano Barbaresco Fausoni - A little young, but still a great wine
2011 Castello di Neive Barbaresco Santo Stefano - some of the best fruit in Babaresco and should be drinking well
2013 Ettore Germano Barolo Prapo - A lesser known site that produces great wine in the right hands, Sergio has the right hands, might be touch young

Since you mentioned Brunello:
2013 Casanova di Neri Brunello (white label) Might be a touch young but a seriously great vintage
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Re: Italian wine list assistance

#17 Post by Mark Maddox » August 17th, 2019, 11:13 am

So the Winkl was a hit. For the red we ended up with a Brunello. One of the folks had Abbadia Ardenga before and liked it so they wanted it again. Went with the regular 2010 and everyone was happy. Now I am going to have to go back several times and try all of your other suggestions. Thanks again!

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Re: Italian wine list assistance

#18 Post by Clayton Wai-Poi » August 17th, 2019, 4:55 pm

That’s a very fair price on the Ar.Pe.Pe. Grumello which is now around $50 retail. Well worth a try and I find typically appealing to Pinot Noir drinkers. Would benefit from some breathing.

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