Fall is harvest season for producers, but it also release season across New- and Old-World wine regions. This year, California and Italy offer up their 2016 vintage while Burgundy, Chile, and Sauternes in Bordeaux offer their 2017 wines. Across the board, these releases are top-notch and represent great deals at their release prices. Here’s what…
When many people think of Chianti, they picture a squat wine bottle encased in a rustic straw covering and served alongside a heaping plate of Tuscan antipasto. This is, after all, a bright, acidic wine that has been shared at Tuscan dinner tables for centuries. It’s one of the few wines in the world that enhances almost any dish you pair with it.
The Umbrian wine region of Italy may be small, but its wines pack a powerful punch. The best wines from Umbria are racy and vibrant and many have aging potential. This region is also incredibly diverse; while it’s known for citrusy, dry white wines, Umbria also produces many bold, tannic red varieties that are gaining in popularity among Italian wine collectors. This guide will explore what collectors need to know about this marvelous “green heart of Italy,” including the area’s best-known subregions, finest producers, and most collectible blends.
Enthusiasts call Barolo “the king of wines and the wine of kings.” This tart, complex Italian wine is so high in quality that it’s often compared to grand cru Pinot Noir from Burgundy. Like exceptional Burgundy, top-rated Barolo is acidic and bracing in its youth, but develops multilayered flavors of earth, dark dried fruit, and alluring floral aromatics as it ages. Great Barolo is worth waiting for.
In Langhe, wine is more than a beverage—it’s a way of life. Winemakers in this hilly area located in the Piedmont region of northern Italy have been cultivating grapes here for many centuries. The region even has a coveted spot on the UNESCO World Heritage list due to its long history of winemaking. The best Langhe wines (particularly Nebbiolo) are intense, tannic, and long-lived, full of heady perfume and bright acidity. Its rich history coupled with the incredibly high quality of the wines has made Langhe a top destination for wine-loving tourists and serious collectors.
Vintage quality is an important factor to consider whenever you buy fine wine, but when you buy Barolo, it’s absolutely essential. That’s because the quality of Barolo significantly impacts its aging potential, and a fine aged Barolo is truly a special experience. A well-made wine from a top-quality vintage will taste astoundingly complex at age 20 or 30. Even some of the best wines from the 1950s and 1960s are still drinking well today. However, for Barolo to be this long-lived, it must be high in quality and perfectly balanced.
In 2016, wine critic Jane Anson had the opportunity to try 44 different Sassicaia vintages in a single day. By the end of the tasting, she was “approaching sensory overload,” but she never got tired of the wine. Anson said the Sassicaia vintages displayed an excellent balance that kept them from being overpowering. She said, “[It’s] almost impossible to imagine another European Cabernet-based wine, tasted through this many vintages, managing to pull off this gentle physicality.” In particular, Anson enjoyed the 2014, 2010, 2006, 2001, 1996, and 1985 vintages, as they were especially refined, complex, and aromatic.
What I love most about Super Tuscans is how diverse these wines are. Some are almost purple in color, with bold, fruit-forward flavors, while others are bright red, finessed, and racy. No matter what type of wine you prefer to drink, there’s a Super Tuscan out there that is perfect for you. However, this diversity also makes these wines more difficult to shop for based on vintage alone. When you drink a red Bordeaux blend or a white Burgundy, you usually know exactly what to expect before you uncork the bottle, based on what critics have said about the vintage. But with Super Tuscans, finding the best vintages isn’t always so clear-cut. The best vintage for a bold Syrah blend, for example, might differ from that for a Sangiovese blend. To find the highest-quality Super Tuscan vintages, you need to take into consideration the weather conditions and how they affected the primary grape varieties in the blend.
Italian wine is notoriously difficult to navigate in part because the differences between the regions are so pronounced. This guide will dig into the eight most important wine regions in Italy to help you make wise investment decisions about this complicated country’s wine.
It’s common for even the most experienced collectors to struggle when learning about Italian wine. However, one technique for overcoming this struggle is to sample a range of wines from some of the best Italian wine producers. We’ve put together a comprehensive list of some of the best Italian wine producers to help you get started on your journey. The producers in this guide represent some of the finest in terms of wine quality, value, and overall reputation.
Ornellaia e Masseto has long been one of Italy’s finest wine producers, but today this winery is becoming even more valuable for collectors. According to the Liv-ex Power 100 report (the organization’s annual list of the top performing wines on the market), the producer Ornellaia e Masseto is among the top 20 best-performing wine labels in the world. By comparison, in 2016, the producer took 51st place on the Liv-ex Power 100 list. Over the past year alone, Ornellaia e Masseto has moved up an impressive 31 places on the list.
When my ancestors moved from Italy to the United States decades ago, they did so in turmoil: phylloxera had taken over their vineyards and destroyed the grapevines they worked so hard to cultivate. They were forced to abandon their vines and make a new life in the United States as orchardists. Unfortunately, the small village…