Italy is the most diverse wine country in the world. Regions, parishes and individuals express themselves very differently. Itâ€™s the Italian way. However, there is one thing that unites most Italian winemakers today and that is a commitment to quality. Reds that used to be thin and harsh are now more generous and flavourful. Some producers have pushed their wines too far in an attempt to copy the richness found in Aussie or Chilean reds, but fortunately most uphold traditional Italian moderation and sense of proportion. And produce wines that donâ€™t try to outshine food and conversation.
The wines I’m recommending belong to this moderate category. And show a huge improvement over how they were a decade ago. Masi Valpolicella is a younger cousin of the wineryâ€™s famous Campofiorin. Wine with exactly the right proportions for everyday meals and fun times. Lively with a delicious fruitiness and life is good feeling. A bright, modern wine as suggested by the smart-looking package. Let the party begin.
The hallmark of Tuscan reds is a tangy dryness. They make you hungry and they flatter the food once it arrives. Frescobaldiâ€™s Remole has always done this for me but the 07 vintage goes a step further. It has gorgeous flavour and even a little charm. Tuscany meets Beaujolais. Pizza or pasta wine thatâ€™s also playful enough to get invited to a party.
Cesariâ€™s Merlot has been the best value red in town for several years now and the newly arrived 07 vintage could be the best yet. Itâ€™s certainly the most crowdpleasing. Honest, frank, rustic character is delivered with a little comfort. A rock solid, everyday red for everyday foods and moods. Get a case and treat the neighbours.
MASI 07 VALPOLICELLA â€˜Bonacostaâ€™, Veneto, Italy 285585 $14.25
FRESCOBALDI 07 TOSCANA â€˜Remoleâ€™, Tuscany, Italy 105429 $12.40
CESARI 07 Merlot, Veneto, Italy 572453 $7.05