The Best Wines of Southern Italy

Red and White Italian Wines from the Best Grape Varietals

Cantine-Antonio-Caggiano-Taurasi
Antonio Caggiano vineyard in Campania, Italy.

Southern Italy is best known for its robust reds, a flavorful family of wines that accompany the region’s traditional pastas that seem inevitably steeped in heady tomato sauces laden with olive oil, garlic, and herbs.  Negromaro, Nero d’Avola and Primitivo are just a few of Southern Italy’s red grape varietals capable of producing big-boned reds to accompany the region’s specialties.

Unfortunately, few Americans have heard of Aglianico, Southern Italy’s most prized red varietal.  Brought by the Greeks to Italy more than 2,500 years ago, Aglianico thrives in the Campania on the hills and spine of mountains inland from Naples and the spectacular beauty of the nearby Amalfi Coast.

The finest Aglianico is known as Taurasi.  Not only is Taurasi the most robust and age-worthy of the wines of Southern Italy, it matures into a velvety potion with exceptional aromatics and deep down complex flavors.  Taurasi ranks with Barolo, Brunello di Montalcino, and the finest Super Tuscan reds as Italy’s greatest wines.

Superlative Taurasi emanates from a growing number of exceptional estates, including Antonio Caggiano, Colli di Lapio, Benito Ferrara, Molettieri, and Mastroberardino, the region’s oldest producer of Taurasi.  Although not Taurasi, some very good lighter Aglianico is produced in outlying areas of the Campania.  Cantina del Taburno and Vesevo make tasty medium-bodied Aglianico at an affordable price.

Lest one think red wines are the only prized wines of Southern Italy, the Campania also produces two of Italy’s greatest white wines in Fiano di Avellino and Greco di Tufo.  Both white varietals thrive in the hills and low mountains above the Amalfi Coast and are made by the great producers of Taurasi.  Caggiano, Colli di Lapio and Benito Ferrara consistently fashion exceptional Greco and Fiano.  To my taste, there are no better white wines to accompany the region’s seafood than these.

What to Look For in Southern Italian Wines

Colli di Lapio Taurasi Andrea 2010 and Colli di Lapio Fiano di Avellino 2013 are wines to look for in our red and white wine June Collector Series. This pair comprises two of the best wines we tasted on a recent trip to southern Italy and are not to be missed.  Both are highly allocated.

Querciola Barbera d’Alba 2012 and Errazuriz Max Reserva Sauvignon Blanc 2013 make a formidable duo as our June Primary Premier Series offerings.  Past vintages of Querciola’s Barbera have been some of our most popular red wine offerings, while Errazuriz’s Max Reserva Sauvignon Blanc is making its International Wine of the Month Club™ debut in June.

Salud!
Don

Enjoy Huge Savings on Four Highly Rated Wines!

Today we’re very excited to bring you another Special Offer on four limited-production wines which recently blew us away at our tasting panels, including one of the finest Châteauneuf-du-Papes we’ve encountered in recent memory, two impressive Pinot Noirs – from the Old World and the New – and a vivacious, stunning Chardonnay from Napa.

Domaine du Grand Tinel Cuvée Alexis Establet Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2012 (France)

Grand Tinel Cuvee Establet 2012Sourced from 100-year-old Grenache vines, the Alexis Establet is regarded as Domaine du Grand Tinel’s best cuvée of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. This delicious French wine features crushed flower, menthol, cherry blossom, and white chocolate notes, can be consumed straight away or allowed to age for 10-12 years, and has a 93-point rating from The Wine Advocate. Learn more by visiting domainegrandtinel.com.

Wine Advocate: 93 points. Panel Review: 93 points.

Retail Price: $60.00, Our Price: $35.95. Save 40%!

Jacques Girardin Santenay Clos Rousseau Premier Cru 2012 (France)

jacques-girardin-santenay-clos-rousseau-premier-cru-2012The Jacques Girardin Santenay Clos Rousseau Premier Cru 2012 is a top choice for those who appreciate a quality Pinot Noir from France’s Burgundy region. This rare, limited-production wine was sourced from a 4.75-acre Burgundian vineyard, and is very difficult to find in the U.S. With a 93-point rating from The International Wine of the Month Club’s panel of experts, this wine is recommended for celebrations, parties, and important events. Visit girardin-santenay.com for more information on Jacques Girardin Santenay’s wines.

Panel Review: 93 points. Very limited production: Almost impossible to find outside France.

Retail Price: $40.00, Our Price: $27.95. Save 30%!

Walt Blue Jay Anderson Valley Pinot Noir 2012 (California)

Walt-Blue-Jay-Anderson-Valley-Pinot-Noir-2012With 93 points from Wine Enthusiast and 92 points from Pinot Report, the Walt Blue Jay Anderson Valley Pinor Noir 2012 is regarded as a delicious, well-rounded selection that wine enthusiasts around the world will enjoy. Sourced from California vineyards in Anderson Valley, the 2012 Blue Jay Anderson Valley Pinot Noir contains blueberry, lavender, and mineral tones with a rich, fruity flavor and mouthfeel. Visit waltwines.com to learn more about the Blue Jay Anderson Valley Pinot Noir and its other great wines.

Wine Enthusiast: 93 points. Pinot Report: 92 points. Panel Review: 93 points.

Retail Price: $40.00, Our Price: $29.95. Save 25%!

Poseidon Vineyard Estate Grown Carneros Napa Chardonnay 2013 (California)

Poseidon_Vineyard_Estate_Chardonnay_2013Produced by the expert winemakers at Poseidon Vineyard, the 2014 Estate Grown Carneros Chardonnay features lemon oil, apple blossom, and fresh ginger notes, and finishes with green apple, lime, lemon custard, and buttery oak flavors. With a 92-point rating from Wine & Spirits, this Poseidon Vineyard Chardonnay is a good choice for any time throughout the year. Learn more about Poseidon Vineyard by visiting tricyclewine.com.

Wine & Spirits: 92 points. Panel Review: 92 points.

Retail Price: $28.00, Our Price: $23.75. Save 15%!

To order, visit http://www.winemonthclub.com/sale.

Hurry! Sale ends July 1, 2015!

Don’s April Collector Series Top Pick

fore-family-vineyards-carneros-pinot-noir-2009April’s Collector Series Top Pick belongs to an up-and-coming boutique California producer, Fore Family Vineyards.  The 2009 Fore Family Vineyard Napa Carneros Pinot Noir is a mere 208-case production and a true family affair.  I am tough on Pinots and rather particular about the ones I drink. With that said, the graceful, mouth-filling 2009 Fore Family Vineyards Carneros Napa Pinot Noir captures the essence of what draws people to Pinot Noir – elegance, complexity, and flavor.  For this reason, Fore Family Vineyards’ 2009 Pinot Napa Carneros shines and earns this month’s Top Pick.  Enjoy!

Don

Don’s April Premier Series Top Pick

donati-family-vineyard-paicines-claret-2012I really enjoy drinking good Bordeaux and the growing number of delicious Claret/Meritage offerings coming out of California. Claret, the English term for Bordeaux (an enviable union of Cabernet, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, etc.), and Meritage, California’s more familiar name for Claret, always seem to offer more in the way of balance and complexity than straight varietal offerings from any single grape, and often at a more conducive price. Add the blessings of two great vintages and this month’s Top Pick becomes a toss-up. Donati’s 2012 Claret might be the best value in California Claret or Meritage on the market, as it offers plenty of delicious fruit along with excellent purity, body, and balance. At the same time, the 2010 Château Barreyre makes many overpriced, big-name Bordeaux seem wimpy and under-endowed. At 15% alcohol, it over-delivers and proves to be a crowd pleaser. Given its size and structure, the 2010 Château Barreyre is likely to continue to evolve. So, what’s this month’s Top Pick? I opt for the 2012 Donati Claret as this month’s Top Pick for immediate consumption, but you can be sure I will be stashing away the 2010 Château Barreyre for drinking later this year and next. In the interim, don’t miss this month’s exceptional white wines – Morgadio Albariño Rias Biaxas and Tamellini Soave – two of the very best wines from their respective appellations.

Don

Don’s March Collectors Series Top Pick

ClaretNVMy March Collectors Series Top Pick might be different if this were May or June, but it’s not. Very few California wineries make a Chardonnay equal to the Sonoma County Chardonnays that Benovia turns out in small batches. Beautiful could easily be a synonym for Benovia’s wines. And who makes better Rioja than Luis Valentin at Valenciso, whose 2007 Rioja Reserva made Decanter magazine’s Wine of the Year? I love these wines, but for the weather, the need for immediate gratification, and the fact that so many think that top notch California Cabernet must emanate from Napa Valley, I am going with Donati Family Vineyard’s 2011 Ezio Cabernet Sauvignon as this month’s Top Pick. Named for the founder and patriarch of the Donati Family, the 2011 Ezio pays tribute to a visionary and dispels the notion that Central Coast and Paso Robles Cabernets can’t hang with those from Napa Valley. In our panel tastings, Ezio actually blew away quite a few big name Napa Valley Cabs, so there it is. Enjoy!

Don