JULIAN HITNER TORONTO WINE CONSULTANT

"For love of everything that is wine"

RECOMMENDATIONS FOR SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 10, 2007

WINES OF ITALY:

Call it what one will, but wines from Italy (especially premium ones) have got to be some of the most unimposing-yet-most-inspiring wines on the planet. Such is particularly the case with Italian red wines, the more higher-quality of which seem to have this character about them that is able to captivate even the most snooty wine enthusiasts.

This week, the wines I have decided to recommend (both red and white) are from various parts of the peninsula, each of which possess their own special characteristics and charm.

RED WINES

(1) Tedeschi
      -Veneto, Italy
      -Amarone della Valpolicella
      -Vintage 2001 (DRINK NOW OR HOLD)
      -L.C.B.O. PRICE: $39.15
      -8.5/10



COMMENT: As most wine enthusiasts know, wines with the name 'Amarone' on the bottle are not exactly cheap. For its price and overall quality, Tedeschi Amarone is almost always a bargain. Though very tight at present, this wine comes from a very good vintage, and shows some excellent plum-like fruit, along with some dates; beautiful finish.

PAIRING SUGGESTION: Lamb shanks --- enjoy!

(2) Antinori ('Tignanello')
      -Tuscany (IGT), Italy
      -Vintage 2001 (DRINK NOW OR HOLD)
      -L.C.B.O. PRICE: $89.95
      -8.75/10



COMMENT: Generally speaking, this is one of the most high-regarded red wines Italy has to offer. Made from 85% Sangiovese,10% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 5% Cabernet Franc, this is an extraordinary wine. Carrying lovely perfumes and complex fruit, this wine can be drunk now, but will taste so much finer in years to come. It is a shame, however, that the L.C.B.O. price is a rip-off.

PAIRING SUGGESTION: Pasta with a meat-based sauce (perhaps sausages) --- enjoy!

WHITE WINES

(1) Enotria ('Inycon')
      -Sicily (IGT), Italy
      -Fiano (white grape varietal)
      -Vintage 2004 (DRINK NOW)
      -L.C.B.O. PRICE: $10.55
      -8/10

COMMENT: Fiano is a white grape varietal that most people (even more experienced wine enthusiasts) have not heard of. It is an ancient grape, which has even been cultivated by the Romans. Today, an increasing number of winemakers in southern Italy are starting to realize the enjoyable dry wines this grape can produce. With delicate scents and light-fruit flavours (along with a little waxy content), this is a good, very well-priced wine for people brave enough to try something a little different.

PAIRING SUGGESTION: Homestyle chicken noodle soup --- enjoy!

(2) Ceretto ('Blange')
      -Langhe, Piedmont, Italy
      -Arneis (white grape varietal)
      -Vintage 2005 (DRINK NOW OR HOLD)
      -Unavailable! (I couldn't find it)
      (Thank the L.C.B.O., everyone
       - "Thanks, Dad!")
      -8.25/10

COMMENT: When I first tried this wine (the 2004 vintage), I could not help remarking the it reminded me a lot of a Sauvignon Blanc, but with a unique character of its own. Rather citric, with a lemon zest (along with lovely floral notes), this is sadly unavailable in the L.C.B.O. system. However, if one ever comes across it in one's travels, my advice would be to try it!

PAIRING SUGGESTION: Pasta, sauced with white wine and garlic --- enjoy!

ANY QUESTIONS?


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