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Wine Time: These red wines are the essence of Italy
Bill Carlson, Seville Quarter;
The wines of Italy can be a challenge to appreciate, but are well worth the effort. There are literally hundreds of grape varietals, numerous growing regions and plenty of exotic-sounding names. That said, it is a rewarding experience to taste these complex, sexy Italian wines.
At a recent Italian wine tasting, I came across a couple of wines that were red blends, great values and that capture the essence of Italy. If you want to get a glimpse of an Amarone and pay about a quarter of its price, then I have a wine for you. The 2012 Gran Passione Rosso from Veneto is a blend of 60 percent Merlot and 40 percent Corvina. The Corvina grape is treated just like an Amarone, with the drying of the grapes before pressing (known as Appassimento) which shrivels the grape and produces more concentrated fruit and boosts sugar levels.
The Gran Passione is a rich wine without being heavy. It’s a very luscious wine with ripe fruit and notes of dark cherries and raisins, with a hint of sweetness on the finish. It is a very classy bottle of wine and is striking with a Coat of Arms embossed on the bottle. A lot going on for a wine that sells for $11.49.
If you’re looking for something a little more serious and brooding, you need to try the 2009 Tolaini Al Passo from Tuscany in central Italy. This elegant blend is comprised of 85 percent Sangiovese and 15 percent Merlot, a perfect marriage of grapes for this Super Tuscan. A perfume like nose of fresh berries and violets with hints of vanilla and a touch of spice on the finish.
The Tolaini winery is a very young winery by Italian standards. However, its state-of-the-art winery, impeccably run by Pier Luigi Tolaini, has achieved much acclaim in a short period of time. Recently in a blind tasting conducted by nine top sommeliers, the Tolaini Al Passo ($19.99) came out on top over such prestigious wines as Antinori Tignanello and Ornellai Le Volte, which sell for triple digits. Bravo!
These impressive wines are available at Seville’s Wine Shoppe. Come on in and get a little Italy in your life.
Seville Quarter, 130 E. Government St. 434-6211 or visit www.sevillequarter.com.