Private Tasting: Italian Red

By Kori ~ May 5th, 2008.

20080505_italianred1.jpgWe recently had one of our double-blind private tastings. All we knew when we sat down for dinner was that these two wines were red, but we did not know their region of origin or varietal. For a more complete description of how we set up these private tastings, please refer back to my Private Tasting: Rioja post from February.

All four of us Wine Peeps thought both of these wines were excellent. When we pulled off the sacks after dinner to see what we had been drinking, we found two Italian red wines, the 1999 La Gerla Brunello di Montalcino from Tuscany and the 2001 Vietti Barolo Castiglione from Piedmont. You may remember that we had the Vietti for Wine Blogging Wednesday #42 in February. We loved it then and still love it now. The La Gerla was new to us. We had heard good things about it but had not had a chance to taste it yet. It certainly met our expectations. I would love to have either of these wines again.

20080505_italianred2.jpgWe picked up both of these bottles at Wine Exchange a while back. At the time, the La Gerla cost us $20 and the Vietti $30. This was a classic example of Wine Exchange offering some outstanding wines at great prices. Unfortunately, they are now sold out of both and as you’ll see in the tasting notes below, the prices are considerably higher at other outlets now. I encourage you to sign up for the Wine Exchange’s e-list to receive email updates of specials as they come available. You can get some great deals from them before the prices skyrocket and/or the wines sell out.

Back to the wines for those of you that are not as familiar with the wines, grape varieties, and regions in Italy. Brunello di Montalcino is a red wine made from 100 percent Brunello grapes (a Sangiovese clone) produced in the vineyards around the town of Montalcino located in the region of Tuscany. Barolo is a red wine made from 100 percent Nebbiolo grapes produced in the vineyards southwest of the town of Alba in the region of Piedmont.

1999 La Gerla Brunello di Montalcino: 100% Brunello (a Sangiovese clone). Very dark, inky purple. Earthy aromas and strawberry flavors dominate. Balanced tannins with a medium-plus finish.
Quality: 4 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 3 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Black Tie Wine & Spirits (New York), $58.95

2001 Vietti Barolo Castiglione: 100% Nebbiolo. Bright red with slight browning around the edges. Very fruity with cherries and licorice on both the nose and the palate. Bold, robust tannins and a long, lingering finish.
Quality: 4 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 5 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: (California), $37.25

Filed under: Brunello, Five-Bangs For Your Buck Wines, Italian Wine, Nebbiolo, Red Wine, Wines Over $25

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