I may not get out as much as I used to this year, I still enjoy going to my wine shop The Fine Wine Source. There are times that I need to place an order, times to just shop and buy and most of the time I get to discover some new wines. There is always wine to discover, especially without the need to break the bank. Anyone can just go and buy the classics, or the hot new trendy wines, and then there are times to take the word of the professionals that taste wines for a living and they discover interesting wines, that for one reason or another, you might pass on, just walking up and down the aisles or scanning the shelves. I also have to admit that I have a soft spot for Italian wines, as they are among some of my earliest memories growing up and getting a glass of wine with dinner as a kid.
A new wine for me is Caruso e Manini “Naturalmente Bio” Perricone Terre Siciliane IGT 2017. Caruso & Minini is a joint Venture between Stefano Caruso, a third-generation winemaker and Mario Manini, owner of a marketing firm in Northern Italy. In 2004 they started a winery in Marsala, in the extreme western edge of Sicily, and they have an old Marsala wine structure called a Baglio as the home of the winery. They have one-hundred-twenty-hectares which is composed of their two vineyards; Giumarella and Cutaja. They grow local varieties like Grillo, Catarratto, Grecanico, Inzolia, Zibibbo, Nero d’Avola, Frappato and Perricone as well as some international ones like Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Syrah and Merlot. Perricone is basically grown now on the western side of Sicily, though at one time, it was grown throughout the island. Highly aromatic with strong tannins, it is usually blended. The grape was almost wiped out by phylloxera and basically replaced by Nero d’Avola. Terre Siciliane IGT encompasses the island of Sicily and was created in 2011, to replace the old Sicilia IGT and to be under the Sicilia DOC, and Terre Siciliane means Sicilian lands. The wine is made entirely in Stainless Steel from its twenty days in fermentation and then another six months in aging. The wine is then let to age in the bottle for at least three months before it is sold. It is quite vibrant and earthy with some notes of licorice that I noticed, but I have always been a fan of terroir.
The other wine that I am going to discuss is Allegrini La Grola Veronese IGT 2014, what a lot of restaurants are calling a “Baby Amarone.” Allegrini is a family business located in the Valpolicella Classico zone of the Veneto and famed for their Amarone della Valpolicella. They have been in the wine growing business since the 16th Century, but it was in the 1960’s that they really carved out a reputation for their fine wines. All of their wines are from their ninety hectares of vineyards and all with southeast-facing slopes. While they are famed for their Amarone, they also produce wines with the Veronese IGT that stray from the rigid rules of Valpolicella. La Grola is a premium single vineyard cuvee that is ninety percent Corvina Veronese and ten percent Oseleta. Initial fermentation is done in Stainless Steel, Malolactic fermentation in barriques and then aged for sixteen months in oak, then blended for another two months, followed by ten-month aging in the bottle. This was a nice big wine and a lot of bang for the buck, as far as I am concerned with some notes of vanilla as a bonus with the dark fruit and a nice long finish.