fine italian wines for the month of june

June 08 Wine Selection – Under $25

Allegrini, Palazzo della Torre IGT Veronese 2004 (about $18)

This wine is an old stand-by that I’ve had many times through the years, one of my favorites that never disappoints. Palazzo della Torre IGT Veronese The Palazzo della Torre is a mix of 70 percent Corvina, 25 percent Rondinella and 5 percent Sangiovese that is made in a rispasso-inspired fashion.  After harvest, about two-thirds of the grapes from the Palazzo della Torre vineyard are vinified immediately while the remaining one-third are put on racks to dry for about two months. The dried grapes are fermented separately and only then added to the larger portion of the grapes that were fermented in the traditional fashion. The blended wine is aged for 15 months in barrels and then 7 months in the bottle.

The wine has a dense, deep ruby color with plum, blackberry and prune aromas. It is a full-bodied, rich wine with spicy, dried fruit flavors – it’s like a dried fruit compote in a bottle.  It has some Amarone-like characteristics - juicy and rich with plush tannins and a balanced, lingering finish.  But it’s not Amarone – more like a Valpolicella on steroids. It is ready to drink now but will age well for another 5-7 years. It’s consistently included in the Wine Spectator’s top 100 wines of the year - a great value in one of Italy’s outstanding wines.

The Palazzo della Torre is as heavy and full-bodied as it is broad and complex in flavor and requires an equally robust dish to show the wine at its best. This wine is an excellent match for mushroom risotto, lamb and steak dishes or osso buco.

Where can I buy this wine? - available at numerous metropolitan D.C. area stores.

June 08 Wine Selection – over $25

Marcarini, Barolo Brunate 2001 (about $52)

The Brunate vineyard is generally recognized as one of the Langhe’s top viticultural zones.  And this 2001 Brunate is a great value in a single vineyard Barolo by one of area’s top estates, one that proudly wears the mantle of “tradionalist”. Marcarini’s Brunate selection involves selective and rigorous work in the vineyard, traditional and unhurried maceration techniques and ageing of the wines in large oak barrels for at least two years.  This process is very demanding and requires a deft touch and a lot of patience but the end result is a Barolo classic.

The 2001 Brunate does not disappoint and exhibits spectacular flavors, structure and balance for which the Marcarini estate is celebrated.

It has aMarcarini dark translucent ruby color and a nose with all sorts of intriguing aromas – sweet spices, berries and vanilla. And true to form it is full-bodied with firm tannins but fruit flavors are also evident which will only become more generous and layered as the tannins dissipate over time. This one will only get better with age – and it does need some aging. Buy a bottle or two or whatever you can afford and put it somewhere out of reach for a number of years. It will be worth the wait.

Where can I buy this wine? - available at MacArthur Beverages.

Note – prices indicated are generally the lowest available and will vary from store to store. While in stock at time of writing, stores may sell out of the selections so availability is not guaranteed. Call to check on price and availability before making the trip.

Richard Marcis
June, 2008

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