Federal Wine & Spirits

29 State Street, Boston, MA 02109

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Five Italian Wines and One Mystery Wine

We tasted the wines last week blind. There were five Italian reds from all over Italy and one red that was from somewhere else.
February 27, 2019


The question for the tasters was to pick out the non Italian. We were trying to make the point that all Italian wines share an acid structure to make them great with food. To make it a little more difficult we chose a very modern style Italian for one of the wines and a more old world style wine from California for another. Tasters did not know anything about the mystery wine and also did not know the order the wines were tasted.

We began with the 2017 Tenuta delle Terre Nere Etna Rosso. This is made from Nerello Mascalese grapes on Mount Etna in Sicily. The wine is still a bit closed up. It showed bright cherry fruit, some spice and medium body with a defined acid structure. Everyone picked this to be Italian. Next we tasted the2016 Badia a Coltibuono Chianti Classico Estate. This was also medium body and showed great balance. Again the structure came through and the wine was picked to be Italian. The next wine was the Italian ringer. The 2016 San Salvatore Aglianico Ceraso is made in a warmer climate than Taurasi. The combination of ripe fruit and no new oak we thought might produce some confusion and it did for a while.

The 2014 Allegrini La Grola only confused one taster who said it might be a premier cru red Burgundy. I said no and he said OK then, it’s Italian. Then came the mystery wine. The 2015 Marietta Arme Cabernet Sauvignon is from a winery in Sonoma and is a blend of Cabernet, Merlot, Malbec and Petit Verdot. It is not heavily extracted like some California wines. Still this was picked by almost everyone as the non Italian. Some were thinking it might be the San Salvatore but as that wine opened the acidity became more obvious. We finished with another very traditional Italian. The 2011 Chionetti Briccolero Dogliani with balanced fruit and firm tannins was, as one taster put it, very obviously Italian.

It was fun and it worked. To almost everyone, the 2015 Marietta was the obviously different wine.


2017 Tenuta delle Terre Nere Etna Rosso: 21; Mixed Case, 18.90; Case, 17.85 

2016 Badia a Coltibuono Chianti Classico Estate: 20; Mixed Case, 17.99; Case, 16.99 

2016 San Salvatore Aglianico Ceraso: 21; Mixed Case, 18.90; Case, 17.85 

2014 Allegrini La Grola: 32; Mixed Case, 28.80; Case, 27.20 

2015 Marietta Arme Cabernet Sauvignon: 22.99; Mixed Case, 20.69; Case, 19.54 

2011 Chionetti Briccolero Dogliani: 23; Mixed Case, 20.69; Case, 19.54 


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           - Len Rothenberg