Thursday, September 18, 2008

Two 2006 Italian Reds

Sorry for the spotty posting. As always, though, I have some things to say about wines that are anything but spotty; in this case, two 2006 Italian reds. I didn't deliberately hunt down either the vintage or the country. Instead, it was like they came to me.

Carpineto Chianti Classico 2006
Carpineto may have a modernist reputation, but that doesn't mean they produce New World lookalikes. Rather, this is fresh, balanced, and honest Chianti Classico that flashes its charm subtly. The spicy, earthy aromas hit me first; it's a moment later that I notice the layered sangiovese aromas of fresh and dried cherry, lavender, and thyme. On the palate the energy is simultaneously vigorous and relaxed, with lovely acidity and velvety tannins, and over the next few years I'd drink this with anything this side of shellfish.

Canaiolo makes up 10% of the blend and all the grapes are dry farmed. The fermented wine is aged in cask for six months.

Giuseppe Nada Dolcetto d'Alba Casot 2006
I am not a label whore, but the drab rose printed on the Nada labels suggested a drab wine. Now I feel dumb, because this is the finest dolcetto I've ever had (not that I've had tons, but still...)

This traditionally-styled, single-vineyard dolcetto has all the bright red fruit you'd expect, yet its depth and complexity is top of the pops. With each sip its many layers of fruit, earth, and savoriness are driven by refreshing acidity and supported with substantial, well-structured, fine-grained tannins. It was almost a shame that my friends and I drank this with a mundane pizza — even if it was a good pairing.

This wine was $18 and so good for its price that I rushed out to buy Nada's 2001 Barbaresco Riserva (also from the Casot vineyard) for $32. I've no doubt it was money well spent.

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