Indeed, if you can spend just a bit more than $10 for a bottle, there are lots of wonderful reds from Italy that are versatile and food-friendly, making them perfect companions to the backyard barbeque. And right now there are bargains to be had on some delightful wines you may want to stock up on for the barbeque season—assuming springtime ever really comes to the Washington area.
Because this is a value wine website, and we live in one of the most competitive wine markets in the country, we’d paraphrase our colleague Mr. Isle to assert that “no one does $12 better than Italy” (with apologies to Spain, Argentina, Chile and southern France, who could arguable make the same claim). Among our favorite consistently pleasing, perfect-for-grillin’ Italian reds is Michele Chiarlo Barbera d'Asti Superiore le Orme, widely available in the Washington area for as little as $12 a bottle.
“The 2010 Barbera d’Asti Superiore Le Orme is an attractive, fleshy wine loaded with class and personality, especially within its price range,” wrote Antonio Galloni in the October issue of Wine Advocate, scoring it the same 88 points that he awarded the 2009 vintage. “Clean, mineral notes frame expressive dark fruit in this vibrant, highly appealing Barbera.
“This is a highly representative example of the taut style of Barbera that emerges from Asti.”
“Medium-bodied, showing rich cherry, black currant and black pepper flavors,” agreed Bruce Sanderson of Wine Spectator. “Moderate tannins work with the acidity to provide structure. Dry finish.”
If $12 a bottle is a bit pricey for everyday drinking, there are still sub-$10 bargains to be had on the 2010 vintage of other favorites like Tormaresca Nèprica—a blend of native Italian grapes negroamaro and primitivo (genetically identical to American zinfandel) along with cabernet sauvignon—or Antinori Santa Cristina—a consistently good sangiovese-based wine with a 10-percent splash of merlot. Many of the low prices and sales highlighted in December are still in place, while supplies of the 2010 vintage last.
That may not be too long. A spot check of Total Wine stores found just seven bottles of Tormaresca Neprica 2010 on the shelf in Laurel and only two bottles in Towson. But don’t dispair. The 2011 vintage is likely to arrive soon, and if history is a guide, it will be every bit as good as the previous vintage.
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