Like the Tormaresca Neprica featured Friday, Santa Cristina Sangiovese Tuscana is made by the Antinori family of Florence, one of Italy’s oldest and most distinguished producers of fine wine, having reportedly lived in Tuscany since the 14th century. It was years ago we recommended the 2007 vintage in a column on summer red wines that can be served chilled, but the 2009 and now the 2010 vintage that you’ll find in wine shops and grocery stores all over town – for as little as $7.50 a bottle – is every bit as good.
The 2009 vintage earned a solid 86 points from Bruce Sanderson in the October 15 issue of Wine Spectator, who described it as, “A soft red, boasting black cherry, blackberry and spice notes.” He noted that is “tails off a little on the finish,” but predicted that it will drink well through 2014.
“Bright and medium in body and a little quick but needs air,” according to PB, who reviewed the 2009 Santa Cristina for the Wine Cask blog. “It opens well with pure Sangiovese bouquet with pure cherry and [is] well made; a very good food wine.”
Santa Cristina Sangiovese is a blend – comprised of 10 percent merlot and 5 percent cabernet sauvignon, along with the dominant sangiovese – that will remind some of an easy-drinking Chianti, the region in Italy that put the sangiovese grape on the map. It’s widely available for between $10 and $13 a bottle, but in a rare bargain for Maryland wine drinkers, can be found at Corridor Wine & Spirits in Laurel and Beltway Fine Wine in Towson for just $7.49 a bottle. That’s $3.50 less than the $10.99 price at their sister super stores, Total Wine & More in Virginia. Santa Cristina is also on sale for $7.99 at Magruder's on Connecticut Ave., NW. (See the slideshow for a representative sample of prices in DC, Maryland and Virginia.)
That June column featured the 2008 vintage that scored 90 points from Wine Spectator, noting that it had earned at least 85 points from Spectator for five straight vintages, and between 87 and 89 points from Wine Advocate over that same span. The 2009 Michele Chiarlo Barbera d'Asti le Orme that you’ll find in most stores now also scored 90 points and is almost certain to make Spectator’s “Top Italian Reds for $25 or Less” for the second straight year. It also earned 87 points from The Wine Advocate.
“Chiarlo’s 2009 Barbera d’Asti Superiore Le Orme is a tasty, vinous Barbera bursting with dark red berries, flowers and spices, all of which come together effortlessly in a juicy style best suited to near-term drinking,” wrote Antonio Galloni in the October Wine Advocate issue, projecting that it will drink well through 2014.
“Sweet blackberry, plum and pomegranate fruit is fresh and vibrant as this red unfolds across the palate,” wrote Sanderson in the Feb. 29 Wine Spectator, scoring it 90 points and designating it a Smart Buy. “Hints of flowers and spices intermingle, but this is more about the juicy fruit. Drink now through 2018.”
Though both Wine Spectator and The Wine Advocate list it with a $15 release price, it’s on sale at Pearson’s in Glover Park for $10.95, at Calvert Woodley for $10.99, and costs $10.99 every day at Total Wine stores throughout Virginia.
Yesterday’s sunny, 65-degree weather and extra hour of daylight was just a taste of spring. The forecast for the coming week calls for temperatures to climb into the upper 70s. And with more light in the evening for outdoor cooking, you’ll want a bottle or two of these Italian reds handy to toast the start of grilling season.
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