Reviews in Category: Italy (Clear Filter)

Farnese Sangiovese IGT 2014

Date December 14, 2015 | Chuck | Italy & Red Wine & Sangiovese

The house red lives. I've been recommending this wine for 5 years now and will continue to do so. This is the bottle that I always keep stock of because not only is it an amazing wine for $7.95 but it's a crowd pleaser that's very versatile.
This also comes in a large format bottle (1.5L)
Alcohol/Vol: 12.5%
At a Glance
Taste black cherry, tobacco, leather
Smell black cherry, tobacco, oak
Food lasagna
Sweetness dry
Price $7.95
LCBO# 512327
Score

Ciao Sangiovese

Date October 7, 2015 | Chuck | Italy & Red Wine & Sangiovese

Medium-light body with a red fruit and red berry profile.  Very low oak, high acid, low tannin.

Alcohol/Vol 13% in a 1000 mL carton
At a Glance
Taste young cherry, raspberry, light oak
Smell strawberry, cherry
Food cheese
Sweetness dry
Price $12.05
LCBO# 29090
Score   

 

Frescobaldi Castiglioni Chianti 2011

Date June 30, 2015 | Chuck | Chianti & Italy & Red Wine

This bottle is marked DOCG and is a well rounded Italian Chianti.  It goes well with any Italian food (especially with red sauce).  Drinks best on the first day, do-able on the second.
Alcohol/Vol 12.5%
At a Glance
Taste dried fruit, oak, black cherry
Smell black cherry, tobacco, leather
Food lasagna
Sweetness dry
Price $14.95
LCBO# 545319
Score

 

Monte Antico Toscana IGT 2010

Date March 23, 2015 | Chuck | Italy & Red Blend & Red Wine

Firm tannins with an extra dry finish.  Tannis from the barrels come through moderately strong.  This wine is unmistakenly a Tuscan style blend.  

85% Sangiovese with 10% Merlot and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon

 

Alcohol/Vol 12.9% from Tuscany, Italy.

At a Glance
Taste ripe berries, leather, vanilla
Smell oak, black cherry, earth
Food pasta with red sauce
Sweetness extra dry
Price $15.95
LCBO# 69377
Score

Pietra Pura Mandus Primitivo di Manduria 2008

Date February 5, 2015 | Chuck | Italy & Primitivo & Red Wine

Not a red to be taken lightly. This wine is easily one of the most complex I've had for under twenty dollars. Most notable is this bottle's firm lingering tannins and nice peppery-blackberry finish.
Alcohol/Vol 13.8% from Puglia, Italy
At a Glance
Taste blackberry, black tea, vanilla
Smell blackberry, anise, earthy
Food italian, game
Sweetness extra dry
Price $15.95
LCBO# 216457
Score

Ruffino Chianti DOCG 2012

Date April 10, 2014 | Chuck | Chianti & Italy & Red Wine

I was pleasantly surprised by this entry level chianti from the large producer Ruffino.
Overall this is a good value chianti for the price and availability. 13.0% Alcohol/Vol.
Tip: balloon glass
At a Glance
Taste raspberry, vanilla, cherry
Smell strawberry, black cherry, sweet oak
Food italian, cheese
Sweetness extra dry
Price $14.95
LCBO# 1743
Score

 

Farnese Montepulciano D'Abruzzo 2012

Date November 8, 2013 | Chuck | Italy & Montepulciano & Red Wine

A swing and a miss by the winery of my house wine. With no depth in the nose or on the palate, this wine is very mundane.
It's one of the cheapest reds in the LCBO, so there is that. 12.5%
Tip: tulip glass
At a Glance
Taste red berry,vanilla,plum
Smell pomegranate,vanilla,oak
Food italian, pizza
Sweetness off dry
Price $7.95
LCBO# 621912
Score

Poderi Angelini Primitivo Di Manduria 2008

Date September 20, 2012 | Chuck | Italy & Primitivo & Red Wine

Easily the best Primitivo we've reviewed on this site. Extra dry, firm tannins and plenty of depth makes this a great match for fans of Italian reds and Italian food.
Special thanks to Nurse Nancy for the bottle! It was enjoyed with family and Sunday lunch.
Tip: tulip glass
At a Glance
Taste ripe strawberry, oak, light vanilla
Smell mulberry, dark cherry, light oak
Food italian
Sweetness extra dry
Price $17.95
LCBO# 268136
Score

Fontana Di Papa Castelli Romani 2010

Date September 14, 2012 | Chuck | Italy & Red Blend & Red Wine

Well, this wine isn't giving me much to work with, but that's because it's your very basic Italian D.O.C. table wine. One of the least expensive reds I've seen at the LCBO, not because all their wines are great, it's because the prices are beyond terrible in Ontario and not much better country wide.
Made From: Cesanese, Sangiovese, Merlot, Montepulciano (unsure of the percentages). 12.0% Alcohol/Vol
Tip: tulip glass
At a Glance
Taste medium berry, dried fruit, vanilla
Smell cherry, light fruit
Food grilled meat, mild cheddar
Sweetness extra dry
Price $7.45
LCBO# 219634
Score

Torre Varano Taburno Falanghina 2009

Date February 11, 2012 | Chuck | Falanghina & Italy & White Wine

Native to the Campania region of Southern Italy, the Falanghina grape makes full-bodied and well-structured wines.
Release Date: Aug 6, 2011
Tip: tulip glass
At a Glance
Taste apple, melon, floral
Smell pear, apple, mineral
Food calamari
Sweetness extra dry
Price $14.95
LCBO# 106351
Score

Farnese Negroamaro 2009

Date February 4, 2011 | Chuck | Italy & Negroamaro & Red Wine

I've said it before and I'll say it again, Farnese is the best at what they do, and what they do is produce good, consistent, Italian IGT wines at more than affordable prices, vintage after vintage. Their Sangiovese has been my house wine for over 2 years, this Negroamaro will have some constant shelf space as well. If I could change anything, I would add a little more structure / edge - but then again, I'd get a Sangiovese clone.
To sum up: easy drinking, fruit forward, very little oak, high alcohol at 13.5% but you don't taste it whatsoever. Nice tannins felt along the gumline on the finish.
Tip: tulip glass
At a Glance
Taste black cherry, blueberry, herbaceous
Smell black cherry, blueberry, vanilla
Food pizza, hard cheese
Sweetness dry
Price $8.00
LCBO# 143735
Score

Spinelli Malbec 2008

Date October 28, 2010 | Chuck | Italy & Malbec & Red Wine

Glad to announce Spinelli remains one of the LCBO's great bargains. If you aren't a big malbec fan (personally I'm not after all the misses I've had with them) give this a shot because it's not in the traditional style. Much more fruit forward and jammy, almost like a Merlot-Cab-Malbec mix.
This bottle scored extra points because of the price and wide usage as a bottle to open any day of the week or bring over to dinner at a friend's place.
Tip: tulip glass
At a Glance
Taste blackberry, plum, jam
Smell dark berry, coffee, cigar
Food mexican
Sweetness dry
Price $7.95
LCBO# 143750
Score

Folonari Valpolicella 2009

Date September 27, 2010 | Chuck | Italy & Red Wine & Valpolicella

Even though there isn't a lot going on in the glass, it's not a bad choice at all for casual bbq food. Not sure if this is really LCBO #828 or what I have listed below, the price difference is 4 more dollars.
This valpolicella is a blend of 65% Corvina, 25% Rondinella, 10% Molinara
Tip: tulip glass
At a Glance
Taste cherry, oak
Smell cherry, oak, raspberry
Food pizza, burgers
Sweetness dry
Price $8.00
LCBO# 6254
Score

Voga Pinot Grigio

Date March 21, 2010 | Sean | Italy & Pinot Grigio & White Wine

We eat with our eyes, and shop with them too.  A lot of fuss has been made online about the shape of this bottle.  Well the bottle is cute, and reminds me of VOSS Water from Norway, which if you like trends than this is right up your alley.  However, I'm more interested in what is in the bottle, as you should be too.  I had major issues with this wine, so much so that I had to pickup a second bottle and recruit two regular wine drinkers (thanks Dana & Lauren) to provide a second opinion.
Seeing as the bottle is very non-traditional, I was surprised to find a stopper in it.  This was just the beginning of what was becoming an awkward experience.  The next item at issue was the smell.  Pinot Grigio is known for a subtle, slightly floral or citrus leaf scent.  The key to that last sentence was the word 'subtle'.  I was greeted by an aggressive burnt wood scent, which seemed to be competing with Lemon Pledge.  My volunteer tasters both noted the strange aroma, and were somewhat baffled by it.  Finally we tasted.  The first sip was, shall we say...unpleasant.  But, this is where things begun to change.  The second and third sips improved to the point where the wine became enjoyable.  To describe the first sip, we settled on comparing it to the aftertaste of eating a sour candy, which to some isn't always a bad thing.

We are careful when we encounter a wine that doesn't live up to our expectations, especially those receiving a lot of media attention, but this just isn't a winner in our books.  Especially for the price.

Your thoughts and comments on this wine are much appreciated!

Tip: chill well
At a Glance
Taste green apple, lemon, citric acid
Smell burnt wood, chemical
Food seafood
Sweetness off dry
Price $13.50
LCBO# 669226
Score
Voga Pinot Grigio

Fazi Battaglia Sangiovese 2007

Date February 17, 2010 | Chuck | Italy & Red Wine & Sangiovese

Yes, another bottle that proves that Italian wine always goes with Italian food. It's a good sangiovese at a good price, worth a try any day.

Warning: This bottle is so Italian you may be inclined to make your own tomato sauce.

Tip: Serve slightly chilled

At a Glance
Taste plum, sour cherry, light oak
Smell pomegranate, sour cherry, light oak
Food italian
Sweetness dry
Price $10.95
LCBO# 326306
Score

Tatone Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 2005

Date September 13, 2009 | Chuck | Italy & Montepulciano & Red Wine

For those wondering, Tatone means 'grandfather'. This Italian wine is rich, dry and full bodied.
The first thing you'll notice is the deep purple colour and legs on this wine.
Tip: tulip glass
At a Glance
Taste blackberry, oak, bitters
Smell mulberry, black cherry, oak
Food grilled portobello mushrooms
Sweetness extra dry
Price $15.95
LCBO# 994616
Score

Citra Pinot Grigio 2008

Date September 7, 2009 | Chuck | Italy & Pinot Grigio & White Wine

It's good to keep a bottle of this value grigio from Abruzzo Italy in the fridge if you ever want a cold glass of white on a weekday evening.
On the plus side (or minus for some) this vintage weighs in at 13%
Tip: tulip glass
At a Glance
Taste lemon, lime, golden apple
Smell lemon, mineral, golden apple
Food appetizers, brie
Sweetness dry
Price $7.95
LCBO# 17483
Score

Ruffino Il Ducale 2005

Date June 21, 2009 | Chuck | Italy & Red Wine & Sangiovese

Here's a great example of a Super Tuscan done right. This IGT wine is only IGT because it bent the rules slightly but it was worth it. A very close cousin to chianti, this bottle will pair well with any Italian food or bbq'd red meat. Overall it's nice and round, medium to full bodied with smooth tannins.
Blend is: 60% sangiovese, 25% merlot and 15% syrah
Tip: tulip glass
At a Glance
Taste dark cherry, chocolate, cigar box
Smell plum, cherry, warm spice
Food grilled red meat, ravioli
Sweetness dry
Price $19.80
LCBO# 27797
Score

Voga Quattro 2006

Date May 3, 2009 | Chuck | Italy & Red Blend & Red Wine

At first glance this bottle looks like something shampoo would come it, but once on the table with the cap off, it feels kind of futuristic. Overall this is a pretty good wine, a little bit more than the lower end reds but it's worth the extra 3.50. Overall it's a dry, medium bodied wine with soft acidity and ripe tannins.
4-Way Blend (quatto means four in Italian): Merlot, Shiraz, Pinot Noir and Cabernet.  Surprisingly, the pinot really does shine through.
Tip: tulip glass
At a Glance
Taste strawberry, spice, light oak
Smell red berry, raspberry, white pepper
Food veal marsala
Sweetness dry
Price $13.95
LCBO# 78048
Score

Remo Farina Valpolicella Ripasso 2005

Date March 1, 2009 | Chuck | Italy & Red Wine & Valpolicella

This DOC Italian ripasso was received very well by everyone at the table. The re-passing (ripasso) technique involves a second fermentaion on the leftover grape skins of Amarone giving it a deeper colour, fuller body, aroma and flavour. Also watch for hints of perrer and ginger.
Grapes used: Corvina 65%, Rondinella 20%, Molinara 5%, altri vitigni (others) 10%
Tip: Release Date - Nov 8, 2008
At a Glance
Taste black cherry, anise, light oak
Smell black cherry, plum, tar
Food red meat, cheese, portobello mushrooms
Sweetness dry
Price $16.95
LCBO# 999946
Score

Fontanafredda Barbera Briccotondo 2006

Date December 12, 2008 | Chuck | Barbera & Italy & Red Wine

This value barbera coming from Piedmont, Italy is a medium bodied acidic red that proves the time tested fact that Italian wine always matches Italian food. I had this wine with a plate of pasta and meatballs and the wine's acidity matched the acidity in the tomato sauce perfectly. On that note, if you don't usually like Italian reds, this isn't for you.  There was also a hint of eucalyptus in on the palate.
The 2006 vintage was on Wine Spectator's Top 100 in 2007 with a score of 90 points
Tip: tulip glass
At a Glance
Taste sour cherry, raspberry, oak
Smell cherry, tea, oak
Food pasta with tomato sauce and meatballs
Sweetness extra dry
Price $15.95
LCBO# 72348
Score

Farnese Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 2007

Date November 27, 2008 | Chuck | Italy & Montepulciano & Red Wine

Farnese comes out with another great value wine, this time it's a Montepulciano d’Abruzzo.  This vintage is a medium-full bodied wine that's fruity but still has those typical Italian tannins to maintain it's structure.
Post a comment if you detect a hint of licorice in the palate like I did.
Tip: tulip glass
At a Glance
Taste dark ripe berry, oak, raisin
Smell raspberry, vanilla, raisin
Food salami, crown roast, bbq
Sweetness dry
Price $7.55
LCBO# 621912
Score

Masi Campofiorin 2004

Date October 2, 2008 | Chuck | Italy & Red Wine & Valpolicella

This is the 34th vintage of this supervenetian comprised of: 70% Corvina, 25% Rondinella and 5% Molinara. This wine is made using the appasimento technique (double fermentation) and the result is a full bodied wine with soft tannins. There are hints of the following: resin, jam, violet and a tangy finish.
This wine will pair very well with a variety of foods including: red meat, sharp cheeses, osso bucco, wild mushroom risotto and veal parm.
Tip: tulip glass
At a Glance
Taste black cherry, oak, prune
Smell raisin, mulberry, light oak
Food red meat, steak, sharp cheese, veal
Sweetness dry
Price $17.45
LCBO# 155051
Score

Corte Zovo Sa' Solin Ripasso Della Valpolicella 2004

Date September 6, 2008 | Chuck | Italy & Red Wine & Valpolicella

This DOC bottle comes all the way from the birthplace of ripasso, Veneto, Italy.  It's a tannic, medium to full bodied wine that would go very well with heavy beef dishes.
Hats off any winemaker that can achieve such smoothness while having an alcohol content of 14.5%, learn from my experience...drink slowly.  The price jump of 2 dollars from the 2003 vintage was sad to see, in Ontario: c'est la vie.
Tip: tulip glass
At a Glance
Taste rasin, cherry, black licorice
Smell blackberry, cherry, coffee
Food beef dishes, sheppards pie
Sweetness extra dry
Price $17.95
LCBO# 650713
Score

Pasqua Volto Primitivo 2006

Date August 28, 2008 | Chuck | Italy & Primitivo & Red Wine

High five to all the tree-huggers out there, this is my first bottle of wine in a PET (plastic) bottle, and surprisingly I didn't hate it as much as I would have thought.  Although I wouldn't feel good about bringing a PET bottle as a hostess present, my favourite aspect of it was the smaller and lighter size of the bottle, while remaining to hold 750ml.
I've said it before and I'll say it again, although primitivo is genetically the same as zinfandel, it is not styled the same and doesn't hold a candle to a California Zin.  Maybe this skewed my option a bit due to the fact that I would love to find such a value priced zin, regardless, I found myself at a table with two others who thought the wine was quite nice.
Tip: tulip glass
At a Glance
Taste tart plum, sour cherry
Smell mulberry, blackberry
Food mushroom and parmesan pasta
Sweetness dry
Price $11.95
LCBO# 64121
Score

Ascheri Barbera D'Alba Fontanelle 2005

Date August 26, 2008 | Chuck | Barbera & Italy & Red Wine

This medium bodied, single-vineyard barbera is a great value and a nice stray from the day-to-day varietals. For those of you trying barbera for the first time, Ascheri is a great doorway to one of the most planted grapes in Italy.
Benchmarks of a good barbera are: medium-low tannins, high acidity with notes of sour cherries, plums and herbs. Barbera is a great wine to pair with food, especially a saucy italian dish (thanks to the wine's acidity)
Tip: tulip glass
At a Glance
Taste sour cherry, plum, spice
Smell cherry, vanilla, plum
Food cheese and spinach ravioli in tomato sauce
Sweetness extra dry
Price $17.80
LCBO# 982462
Score

Spinelli Chardonnay Terre di Chieti

Date August 23, 2008 | Chuck | Chardonnay & Italy & White Wine

So far, Spinelli wines have offered good value for their almost unbeatable prices (by LCBO standards anyways). Here we have an unoaked chardonnay that is crisp and acidic. If you like chardonnay but find it too heavy, give this Italian a try as it doesn't show any hints of oak, butter or vanilla - tell-tale signs that your wine is drowning in wood.
Sean mentioned that this vintage reminded him of the hard cider named Strongbow. I guess my taste and aroma notes are right on.
Tip: balloon glass
At a Glance
Taste apple, lime, citrus
Smell pear, golden apple
Food antipasto
Sweetness dry
Price $6.95
LCBO# 474239
Score

Pasqua Soave 2007

Date August 9, 2008 | Chuck | Italy & Soave & White Wine

Here's a lesson to everyone, when shopping for a wine, just because it has a classification written on the label, doesn't mean it's a 'good' wine.  Click here to learn what makes a wine good.  So VQA, DOC, VDQS, AOC, etc.. just means the wine passed regulations.  Regulations that have no account for taste.
If you're served this wine, use it to make a spritzer
Tip: serve ice cold, and possibly in some sprite.
At a Glance
Taste lemon, citrus
Smell lemon, pineapple, honeydew
Food mix green salad
Sweetness dry
Price $9.90
LCBO# 171074
Score

Casal Thaulero Sangiovese 2007

Date August 5, 2008 | Chuck | Italy & Red Wine & Sangiovese

Cruising the isles looking for another IGT overachiever, I bought this bottle. While I wouldn't make it a favourite, it was worth the $7.10 I paid for it. It was a medium wine all the way from mouthfeel to tannins.
This wine is good, but if you're looking for sangiovese; be sure to try the nosnob favourite by: Farnese
Tip: tulip glass
At a Glance
Taste sour cherry, red berries,
Smell cherry, berry, espresso
Food hard cheeses
Sweetness dry
Price $7.10
LCBO# 588996
Score

Fazi Battaglia Verdicchio 2007

Date July 12, 2008 | Chuck | Italy & Verdicchio & White Wine

Excellent as a chilled aperitif, Verdicchio is a grape not well know to many. It's name is a derivative of the word "verde" (which means green in Italian) due to its slight green/yellow hue.
Warning: This bottle is so Italian you may be inclined to make your own tomato sauce.
Tip: moderate-high acidity
At a Glance
Taste mineral, light citrus, bitter almond
Smell pineapple, floral, mineral, spice, cassis
Food seafood salad or aperitif
Sweetness dry
Price $10.95
LCBO# 24422
Score

Castelmonte Cent'are Nero d'Avola 2005

Date June 24, 2008 | Chuck | Italy & Nero d'Avola & Red Wine

Although we don't see much Nero d'Avola on the shelves at the time of this writing, if enough people catch on to this well priced big red, there may be a shift in the winds. This Sicilian wine is made entirely from Nero d'Avola and has made the LCBO's Vintages Essentials collection seemingly out of nowhere.
Take note of these up and coming IGT Classification wines, they're tomorrow's favourites.
Tip: Vintages Essential
At a Glance
Taste dark plum, leather, espresso
Smell plum, pomegranate, espresso
Food calzone
Sweetness dry
Price $14.95
LCBO# 546192
Score

Farnese Sangiovese Daunia 2006

Date May 27, 2008 | Chuck | Italy & Red Wine & Sangiovese

This sangiovese is very well structured for a wine priced under 8 dollars a bottle.  Another nice feature of Italian wines is that they're easy to pair with food, Italian food. Them's the rules...I don't make 'em :)
For another excellent value try this vino by Spinelli ( however we do find the Farnese more refined ).  What adds to this bottle's attractivness is it's high availability, price point and the wide range of foods it pairs with.
Tip: buy a magnum, it's great even after being left open on the counter for a day
At a Glance
Taste sour cherry, rhubarb, gentle bitterness
Smell sour cherry, tobacco, leather
Food veal parm, pizza
Sweetness dry
Price $7.40
LCBO# 512327
Score

 

Valpantena Torre Del Falasco Valpolicella Ripasso 2005

Date May 14, 2008 | Chuck | Italy & Red Wine & Valpolicella

Ripasso is known as the 'Baby Amarone'. Allow me to drop a little knowledge here. Amarone in my books is the lobster/caviar/cadillac of wines and with that label, goes a price tag that is not everyday affordable (at least for me). That said, when I buy ripasso, I always feel as if I'm getting a terrific deal.
Ripasso starts as valpolicella, but during fermentation the winemaker adds the unpressed skins from their prior batch of amarone and restarts the fermentation process. The addition of the amarone skins (which are simply dried grape skins) gives the valpolicella a fuller body, more complex aromas, deeper flavours and a little more alcohol.  Presto! your medium bodied valpolicella just became a chewy, full-bodied ripasso.
Tip: LBCO wine of the month (March 2008)
At a Glance
Taste ripe red berry, raisin, leather
Smell casis, rasin
Food filet mignon, gnocchi with gorgonzola sauce
Sweetness dry
Price $17.95
LCBO# 642421
Score


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