The 2009 vintage of Monte Antico Rosso Tuscana got an extra six months of aging in bottle before its release, and it’s only now showing up on store shelves; you’re just as likely to find the 2008 or even 2007 in many wine shops. And though the new vintage hasn’t yet been scored by the critics, it comes from a long line of delicious reds that have scored well every year over the past 20 or more, yet still sells for between $10 and $12 a bottle. The 2006 earned a place on Wine Spectator’s Top 100 Wines of 2009 (we recommended it a month before the Spectator list came out), scoring 90 points, followed by the 88-point 2007 (recommended here) and 88-point 2008.
The 2009 Monte Antico is on sale (unadvertised) at Calvert Woodley for just $8.99 a bottle and is available for $9.99 every day at Total Wine in Virginia, $10.99 at Total in Maryland and $11.99 at Arrowine in Arlington. The 2009 vintage has started to arrive at Montgomery County Liquor stores and costs $13.45 when it’s not on sale. We found the 2007 and 2008 on the shelf at the Muddy Branch Rd. store, but when asked about the new vintage, they found a case of the 2009 in the back.
We bought a bottle and opened it last night. It lived up to its pedigree: bright cherry fruit and a biting acidity that made it a good complement to the selection of cheeses we paired with it. The Chief Palate of the Wine for the Rest of Us Tasting Panel called it “a bit young” despite its six months extra bottle age, and didn’t find it as balanced at the 2008 that we tasted it against. But by a second-day tasting today with some hummus and crackers it had “rounded out nicely.”
This is a wine the enthusiasts would call “rustic,” or as our favorite wine blogger, The Wine Curmudgeon puts it, “the kind of wine someone in a Van Gogh painting would drink.” It cries out to be served with food.
Like the other candidates for our forthcoming Top 5 Italian Red Value Wines (stay tuned), this is a wine to buy by the case when you find it on sale. And with a little more bottle age, you might enjoy bottle 12 even more than the first one you open.
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