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ITALIAN WINES IN TIME FOR THE HOLIDAYS




Don’t know how to quaff your turkey gobbling guests’ yearning for wine? Not with your best bottle, the one you’ve been keeping for a special occasion… But certainly with a good wine you and your many guests will enjoy, bottles that are hopefully well-priced like those three wines recently imported from Italy by the organically conscious Dalla Terra Winery Direct. Juicy reds, some more full-bodied than the others, all superbly balanced and tasting of their terroir: San Polo Rosso di Montalcino, Avignonesi Vino Nobile di Montepulciano and Badia a Coltibuono Chianti Classico. Nebbiolo di Klipsun, Klipsun Vineyards, Red Mountain, Washington State is made from clones of the traditionally Italian Nebbiolo, the vine behind the great Barolos and Barbarescos of the Piedmont region.

2004 Badia a Coltibuono Chianti Classico RS, $15
Badia a Coltibuono’s long winemaking history dates back to the middle of the 11th century when the Benedictine monks living there planted the first vines on the property. It is believed that the word chianti was first murmured within the walls of the ancient abbey now owned by Piero Stucchi-Prinetti, the great-grandson of Guido Giutini who bought the historical abbey in 1846.. Winemaker Roberto Stucchi put his initials on this Chianti Classico: 100% Sangiovese aged in French oak barriques gives a lush fruit forward wine, 13.5 % alcohol content, that pairs well with meat and game dishes. Case production: 16,000









2003 Avignonesi Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, Tuscany, $22
Avignonesi, which has been owned by the Falvo family since 1974, has garnered critical acclaim for many of the wines they produce, including their famed Vin Santo and their Desiderio Merlot. The Vino Nobile di Montepulciano produced with a blend of Pugnolo Gentile, Canaiolo Nero and Mammolino, is aged in French oak for 24 months and has beautiful violet aromas resting on a scrumptious acid and tannin structure —making it perfect for fall dishes. Case production: 7,000









2003 San Polo Rosso di Montalcino, $25
This Baby Brunello is produced by one of the smallest estates in Montalcino, Poggio San Polo. Made with 100% Sangiovese and sourced from some of the highest southern-facing vineyards in Montalcino, the Rosso is made with the same grapes selected for the estate’s Brunello and bottled after the wine has spent twelve months in French oak barriques. Rich with distinctive varietal fruit and balanced with smooth tannins this wine -- alcohol content 14.5 % -- is great with any meal, including desserts (preferably chocolate) and cheeses… Case production: 1,796

2004 Nebbiolo di Klipsun, Klipsun Vineyards, Red Mountain, Washington State ($ 19)
One of the top new appellations of the State of Washington, Red Mountain produces an amazing variety of grapes. One that grows best there is the traditionally Italian Nebbiolo, the vine behind the great Barolos and Barbarescos of the Piedmont region. “ The 2004 Nebbiolo is my best yet and the closest in style to its Italian counterparts, but with a distinctive Northwest fruitiness. When I was in Italy recently, several Italian vintners who tried my Nebbiolo commented that it was very true to its varietal character and flavor,’ said Wilridge Winemaker Paul Beveridge who represented Washington State at the Consorzio di Nebbiolo in Valtellina, Italy, in 2004. This 2004 Nebbiolo is made entirely with the Lampeia clone from Piedmont from vines that were planted in 1985, and was aged for 18 months in 2 and 3-year-old French-oak barrels. Dark brick red in color. The aroma is classic Nebbiolo, with violets and rose petals in the nose. The wine is powerful and finishes with strong tannins, indicating long aging potential. 110 cases were bottled May 9, 2006.
Trivia: “Nebbiolo” is old Italian dialect for “Noble.” In Italy, Nebbiolo is called the “Wine of Kings.”

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