Category Archives: wines under $20

Italian Red Wine Under $20 for All Seasons

Over the past few months I have tasted a number of Italian red wines for under $20. The first two, on the list which I tasted last week at an event called Piemonte Land of Perfection’s I have had many times before and have always enjoyed. The last two on the list were a new discovery.

Dolcetto “D’OH”  2011 Piedmont Dolcetto  DOC 100% Dolcetto Clavesana  Fermented is temperature controlled stainless steel tanks. This is a fresh fruity wine with hints of cherry that is to be drunk young. It is traditional Dolcetto.  $11

Barbera d’Asti DOCG “Vespa” 2011 100% Barbara Cascina Castlet  The vineyards are at 300 meters and there are 5,000 vines per hectare. The soil composition is clay and limestone. Pruning and harvesting (the middle of October) are done manually. The must is left in contact with the skin at controlled temperatures for 6 to 8 days. There is frequent remortgages and racking is followed by malolactic fermentation. The wine is bottled and released after a few months. It is a fresh fruity Barbera with aromas and flavors of cherry and blueberry and good acidity. $14

Chianti Colli Senesi DOCG 2010 100% Sangiovese Poggio Stella. There are 3,500/5,000 vines per hectare. The training system is guyot and spurred cord, and the grapes are hand harvested. Fermentation takes place in temperature-controlled tanks followed by maceration in stainless steel tanks. The wine is then refined in Slovenian oak barrels for at least three months. The wine has red berry aromas and flavor with good acidity. $13.99

Vino Nobile Di Montepulicano DOCG 2008 Poggio Stella made from 90% Sangiovese (Prugnolo Gentile) and 10% Canaiolo.  The vines are grown on hillsides and the soil is mostly crumbled rock with good skeletal content. The plant density is 3,500/5,000 vines per hectare and the training system is Guyot and spurred cord. The grapes are hand harvested; fermentation takes place in temperature-controlled tanks followed by maceration in stainless steel. The wine is aged in Slovenian oak barrels for 24 months. $19.

Marche Rosso “Picens” IGT  2006 Domodimonti The wine is made from 25% Montepulciano, 25% Sangiovese 25% Merlot and 25% Cabernet Sauvignon. The vineyards are at 250 meters and the soil in mainly clay. The vineyards are south facing, there are 4,000 vines per hectare and the training system is condon with spur pruning. The harvest is from the end of September to the middle of October. The wine is aged in second passage French barriques for 5 to 6 months. There were flavors and aromas of dark fruit with hints of blackberries and a touch of leather. $16

Ciró Rosso Classic Superiore “Liber Pater” DOC 2009 Ippolito 1845 (Calabria) The wine is made from 100% Gaglioppo grapes.  The wine is fermented in stainless steel. This is a rustic wine with deep red and black fruit aromas and flavors with a hint of leather. It has a long finish and a distinctive aftertaste. $16

Rosso Piceno Superiore 2007 DOC ”Vigna Montetinello” Montepulciano 70 % Sangiovese 30% Saladini Pilastri
The vineyard is at 200 meters and the exposure is west- east. The cultivation system is vertical shoot positioned trellis and there are 2,000 plants/ha; the average age of the vines is 30 years. Harvest takes place at the end of October. The wine is fermented in stainless steel and aged for 18 months in French tonneaux. This is a wine with nice red and black fruit, with a long finish and pleasing aftertaste. $17.99

Aglianico IGT 100% Aglianico. Donna Chiara. The soil is clay, training system is guyot and there are 4,000 vines per hectare and the harvest takes place in the second week of November. This wine does not see any wood. The wine is aged in bottle for 6 months. This is a very aromatic wine with wild berry aromas and flavors and hints of blueberries and cherries. $18

I could not believe the price of the next two wines after I tasted them. They are true bargains. I believe that both of them were awarded three glasses by Gambero Rosso, their highest award.

Montepulciano D’Abruzzo “Vignafranca DOC 2007 Fratelli Barba100% Montepulciano d’Abruzzo. The vineyard is at 70 meters and the soil is alluvial, sandy silt and lightly calcareous. There are 6,000 vines/ha, the training is double guyot and the exposure is southwest. The harvest takes place in the middle of October. Fermentation is in wooden conical base vats for 18-20 days.  The wine is aged in French barriques, 50% new and 50% used for 14 months. The wine has aromas and flavors of cherry and spice with a hint of pepper. 14.99

Montepulciano d’Abruzzo “I Vasari” Old Vines DOC 2008 Fratelli Barba 100% Montepulciano d’Abruzzo. The Colle della Corte vineyard is at 70 meters and has a southwest exposure. The soil is alluvial, sandy silt and lightly calcareous and the vines are 30 years old. There are 6,000 plants per hectare, the training system is double guyot and the harvest takes place in the middle of October, fermentation takes place in wooden conical base vats for 18 to 20 days. The wine is aged in French barriques, 50% new and 50% used for 14 months.
This is an intense wine with flavors and aromas of black cherry blueberry and plum with a hint of spice. $18

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Filed under Aglianico, Barbera, Chianti, Ciró, Clavesana, Dolcetto, Domodimonti winery, Italian Red Wine, Italian Wine, Montepulciano d' Abruzzo, Vino Nobile di Montepulicano, wines under $20

ITALIAN SUMMER WHITE WINES FOR UNDER $ 20

My motto has always been that you don’t have to spend a lot of money on wine to drink well. Over the last year I have tasted  many excellant Italian white wines that are under $20.  Here is a list of some of my favorites.


Frascati Superiore Secco 2009 DOC Lazio Fontana Candida Made from 60% Malvasia Bianca di Candia, 30% Trebbiano and 10% Malvasia del Lazio. The grapes come from hillside vineyards in the DOC zone located in the province of Lazio, in the communes of Frascati, Monteporzio Cantone, Grottaferrata, Montecompatri and Rome. The grapes are harvested between September and October and immediately transported to the cellar where they are gently pressed. Vinification takes place in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks. The wine is fermented and aged in stainless steel and then bottled under nitrogen to protect its freshness and fruit. The wine has aromas and flavors of white peaches and apples. It has good acidity and minerality with a long finish and a nice aftertaste. $10.

Bianco Veronese “Ferdi” 2009 IGT Sartori di Verona (Veneto) made from 100% Gaganega.  There is a careful selection of handpicked grapes from different vineyards that are partially dried in small boxes for 30- 40 days (appassimento) in order to reduce water and concentrate sugar content and color.  3 grams of sugar per liter in the wine is balanced by the acidity. There is a light cold soaking. The pressing of the grapes is followed by short skin maceration at a low temperature.
Part of the must is fermented in 500-liter oak tonneaux but the oak is not new. The remainder is aged in stainless steel. The wine is then left to mature on its lees for 6/7 months. This adds mouth feel and intensity. The wine is aged in bottle for at least 3 months before release. The wine has subtle floral notes with hints of pears and apricots and good acidity.  $14

Gavi del Comune di Gavi DOCG 2010 Beni di Batasiolo 100% Cortese (Piedmont) the vineyards are at 100/200 meters and there are 3,500 vines per hectare. They use the Guyot system modified into small arches. There is soft pressing with static decanting, and the alcoholic fermentation is under strict temperature control. The wine is bottled after malolactic fermentation. The wine has aromas of white flowers with hints of white peaches, citrus and good acidity. $18.99

Cuppa Ramato 2009Venezia Giulia Pinot Grigio IGT 2009 Attems.
The harvest took place near the end of September and the grapes were harvested by hand. Vinification takes place in stainless steel vats at a controlled temperature. Fermentation lasted for seven days. For this wine the skins remained in contact with the juice for 12 hours and the wine did not undergo malolactic fermentation. The wine is aged for four months in barriques and two months in stainless steel and one month in bottle before release. It has the color of a blush wine. The aroma is very aromatic with hints of strawberry and cherry. It is quite firm on the pallet with a nice fruit in the finish and aftertaste. It is a most interesting wine! $19

 The history of the Orange Wine
This wine goes back to the way Pinot Grigio was made during the time of the Republic of Venice. Ramato, meaning copper, was the term used to describe the color of the wine. Some clones of Pinot Grigio can also be copper in color. The traditional vinification process led to the use of this name. The must remains in contact with the skins for 36 hours and this gives the wine a very distinctive coppery hue. The term “orange wine” is used to describe white wine where the juice has had skin contact.

Grechetto Dell’Umbria IGT 2010, made from 100% Grechetto. Scacciadiavoli The harvest takes place the first ten days of September. Vinification takes place in steel tanks on the lees and malolactic fermentation does not take place. The wine is aged in bottle for 3 months before release. Grechetto is a native Umbrian varietal and this a wine to be enjoyed when it is young. It is fresh and fruity with floral hints and good acidity. $18
Vermentino Maremma Toscana IGT 2011 Cecchi 85% Vermentino and 15% other approved grapes. The vines are at 150 meters and the training system is guyot. There are 5,500 grapes per hectare. Harvesting takes place the beginning of September. After the grapes are picked they are left for 12 hours at a temperature of 8°C in contact with the skins in order to keep the primary aromas.
Fermentation takes place in small stainless steel tanks for 18 days and the wine remains in bottle for two months before release. $16
Pecorino 2009 Offida DOC 100% Pecorino Saladini Pilastri.  The vineyard is 4 hectares at 150 meters with gravelly soil and east/northeast exposure. Training system is vertical shoot-positioned trellis, and there are 4,200 plants/ha. The harvest takes place in the middle of September and the grapes are organically farmed. Temperature controlled fermentation for 20 days. This is a wine with floral and herbal undertones and nice citrus aromas and flavors.  $14.99

Scavigna Bianco DOC 2010 Azienda Agricola Odoardi (Calabria) made from Greco Bianco, Chardonnay, Malvasia, Trebbiano, Pinot Bianco and Riesling. The winery is at 600 meters. The soil is calcareous clay and the training system is Guyot. The harvest takes place in late August and fermentation takes place in stainless steel tanks. The wine has flavors and aromas of white peach and herbs. They are one of the few producers that make this wine.  Owners are Giorgio and Giovanbattista Odoardi. $17

Falanghina Beneventana IGT 100% Falanghina  Donna Chiara.(Campania)  The soil is chalky clay, there are 2,500 vines per hectare, the training system is Guyot and the harvest takes place the first week of October. Fermentation in stainless steel at controlled temperature for 40 days. The wine does not undergo malolactic fermentation and does not see any wood.
The wine was fresh with hints of citrus and floral aromas and flavors, good acidity and is a very pleasant wine to drink. $18

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Filed under Calabria, Ciró, Donna Chiara Winery, Falanghina, Frascati, Italian White Wine, Italian Wine, Odoardi winery, Sartori di Verona, Scacciadiavoli, Scavigna Bianco, Vermentino, wines under $20